With December creeping in we're about to get into serious winter weather—you know, cold, snowy, let's-stay-inside kind of weather. This is when I reach for the warming whiskey. But just because you're stuck inside doesn't mean you shouldn't do it up.
Cranberries, one of the few fresh red fruits available this time of year, can really jazz things up when muddled. They add a hint of tart flavor and flecks of that red hue to the cocktail. A little cinnamon syrup adds spice and bridges the gap between whiskey and cranberries. To round it all out and bring some brightness into the mix, I added a little fresh squeezed orange juice and orange peel.
The resulting cocktail is perfect to cozy up with. The orange peel garnish is essential—the aroma refreshes and lifts the combination, while the cinnamon and whiskey work their winter magic. Whether it's a nightcap after a dinner party or just cozying up on the couch, you're not going to be disappointed with the Cranberry Crush.
- 6 fresh cranberries
- For the cinnamon syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- For the cocktail:
- 1/2 ounce cinnamon syrup
- 1/2 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 2-inch orange twists
- Dash Angostura bitters
- 2 ounces whiskey
To make the cinnamon syrup: combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add 2 cinnamon sticks and simmer for about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the cinnamon sticks and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
To make the cocktail: Combine the cranberries, cinnamon syrup, orange juice, 1 orange peel and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Firmly muddle the cranberries 10-12 times until fully disintegrated.
Add whiskey and fill the shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
Add one ice cube to a rocks glass and strain cocktail into it. Garnish with remaining orange peel.