A Minnesota Good-Bye (Cranberry French 75) Recipe

Tart cranberries, toasty spices, some piney gin, and a topper of bubbly.

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Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Cranberry cordial and grapefruit juice give the drink a tart, refreshing taste and the prettiest blush color.
  • Warm spice notes and citrus make it holiday-worthy.

This drink, from Nathaniel Smith of Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis, hits all the right holiday notes: simmered tart cranberries, toasty spices, some piney gin, and a topper of bubbly. It's ideal for batching in advance of a party. The cranberry cordial can be made up to several weeks ahead, and the cocktail mix can be combined an hour or two before your guests arrive.

A sparkling cocktail is the perfect drink for holiday gatherings. They’re festive, spritzy, and simple to make. If you’re making a cocktail with sparkling wine, a bit of juice, and some spirits, you’re riffing on the classic French 75 (made with gin and lemon juice).

Here’s a tart and blushing variation from Nathaniel Smith of Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis. It requires a little more effort, but it hits all the right holiday notes: warm spices, like star anise, cinnamon, and clove; fragrant citrus peels; and simmered tangy cranberries, with a little dry Cava to perk it all up. You'll start by making an easy homemade cranberry cordial, which can be batched up and stored in the fridge for several weeks. Toasting the spices for the cordial helps bring out their flavors, and the mix balances sugar with bright lime and the popped berries.

The mixed cocktail can be pre-batched, too: You'll measure out gin and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, add the cranberry elixir, then stash it in your fridge before your guests arrive. Each ice-filled glass gets a little of the cocktail mix, a little of the bubbly, and, if you want to get extra fancy, a little cranberry garnish on top.

Overhead view of an A Minnesota Good-Bye cocktail, garnished with a skewer of fresh cranberries.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The name, says Smith, refers to a local custom: "A Minnesota good-bye is a standoff in manners; basically, no one can leave first for fear of being rude. It's annoying." But, he adds, "during the holidays, it's welcome, to spend those last few minutes with cousins, a few more hugs with family, making plans with friends. This cocktail is for celebrating, and taking those extra few minutes with loved ones."

Also try these festive sparkling cocktail riffs: a Salzburg 75, Silver Daisy, or Bellisimo Aceto.

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How to Make a French 75

December 2016

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Serves: 8 servings

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Ingredients

For the Spiced Cranberry Cordial (see note):

  • 3 stick cinnamon sticks, broken in half

  • 2 whole star anise pods

  • 5 cardamom pods

  • 3 whole cloves

  • 1 cup (240ml) water

  • 2 cups (400g) sugar

  • Peel of one orange (use a vegetable peeler to remove zest only)

  • 2 cups (225g) cranberries

  • 1 cup (240ml) fresh juice from about 8 limes

  • 3/4 teaspoon (3g) kosher salt

For the Cocktail Mix (8 Servings):

  • 1 cup (240ml) Spiced Cranberry Cordial (see note)

  • 1 cup (240ml) freshly squeezed juice from 2 pink grapefruits

  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) London Dry gin

To Serve:

  • 1 bottle (750ml) chilled Cava or other dry sparkling wine, to top

  • Fresh cranberries threaded on cocktail picks, for garnish

Directions

  1. For the Spiced Cranberry Cordial: Add cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom, and cloves to a saucepan and toast over medium heat, shaking pan frequently, until fragrant; make sure not to let them burn. Add water, sugar, orange peel, cranberries, lime juice, and salt and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer and cook, using a wooden spoon to smash fruit against side of pan, until all of the cranberries have popped. Remove from heat and let cool completely, 1 to 2 hours. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a resealable container. Cordial can be kept up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

  2. For the Cocktail Mix: Up to 2 hours before serving, mix cordial, grapefruit juice, and gin in a pitcher, bottle, or resealable container. Use immediately or store up to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Cocktail mix makes 8 servings; feel free to double the recipe.

  3. For Each Cocktail: Fill a Collins glass with ice and add 3 1/2 ounces (105ml) Cocktail Mix and 2 ounces (60ml) chilled sparkling wine. Stir gently and garnish with skewered cranberries.

Special Equipment

Fine-mesh strainer

Make-Ahead and Storage

The spiced cranberry cordial can be kept up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Notes

The cranberry cordial recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups (600ml), so you can double the cocktail mix recipe if you're expecting a large group. Extra cranberry cordial is also nice with club soda and a squeeze of orange or grapefruit.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
254 Calories
0g Fat
28g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 254
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 55mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 22g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 18mg 89%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 146mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)