Cranberry Shrub Cocktail, Cocktail of the Week

Cranberry Shrub

The Cranberry Shrub cocktail is a variation on a venerable cocktail that was popular in America during the colonial era! A shrub is a sweetened vinegar-based syrup that is often used as a mixer in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. For instructions on how to make the one I used in this recipe see here. I know, I know another cold drink!? But it’s winter! It is, but cranberries are seasonally appropriate and I’d drank a shrub cocktail, let alone make my own, before. Also, a good friend asked me to make this for them…

Cranberry Shrub
The ingredients

Cranberry Shrub Cocktail

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. cranberry shrub
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 drops bitters (your choice)
  • 1/2 oz triple sec (optional)

Add all to a shaker half full of ice. Shake well. Pour into a chilled glass. Garnish w/ cranberry or orange peel.

Cranberry Shrub

It’s hard to describe what this drink tastes like. Vinegar is not something people usually mix with their alcohol. It’s not something people use at all, except for making salad dressing. There’s this tangy, refreshing, sweet crispness to the drink. It’s very bright on the tongue. Then comes the mellowness and warmth of the bourbon. I’m glad I used orange bitters I think the citrus helped bring everything together. (Note: I made another cocktail and added triple sec to it which also does the job nicely) If you’re getting bored with traditional mixers or you just want to up your cocktail game give this a try. Or make a different kind of shrub and let me know hot it worked for you.

Cranberry Shrub

Cocktail of the Week: Jersey Girl

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I bought Laird’s AppleJack without ever having it in a drink before. Apple liquor sounded good to me and I was already a fan of hard ciders. After purchasing a bottle though I was at a loss as to what to make with it…Thankfully, in this modern age we all have access to a near infinite well of information! Turns out you can use AppleJack in just about anything you’d use whisky for as well as anything you might use vodka in!

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Jersey Girl

  • 1 1/2 oz. AppleJack
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 2 splashes of cranberry juice

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

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Turns out I like everything about this cocktail but its name. “Jersey Girl,” really? This drink looks and tastes great and the oldest joke in America is that there is nothing in Jersey that those two descriptors apply to…  The Jersey Girl reminds me of a Seabreeze, probably because of the cranberry juice. You wouldn’t think that apple and citrus wouldn’t mix well together but somehow it does. Somehow you can pick every ingredient out in this cocktail all while tasting them together. It was quite remarkable. A lovely little drink.

Cocktail of the Week: Seabreeze

Another refreshing drink for a hot summer day
Another refreshing drink for a hot summer day

Our bar is still pretty small. I’ve only been looking at cocktails with ingredients that we already have. So, my choices are a little limited until I start going out and expanding our liquor choices. With such a limited selection of I had to find a cocktail that was either vodka, rum, bourbon, or gin. Since the last two cocktails have had bourbon in them I wanted to avoid any cocktails with that as the main ingredient. I originally was interested going with that old standard, gin and tonic but, D vetoed it as not being sweet enough for her liking. Another search through the bartending guide and a few more vetoes left us with the Seabreeze.

The ingredients
The ingredients

Seabreeze

  • 1 1/4 oz vodka
  • 1 splash  of grapefruit juice
  • 1 splash of cranberry juice
  • ice cubes

Build the drink over ice in a highball glass or mason jars if you don’t have highball glasses…

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There were a few issues with this my construction of this cocktail. First, I purchased just cranberry juice, as in no added sugars or other juices. This was a mistake. Pure cranberry juice is very bitter and very sour and I would never, ever purchase this again. In the future I’ll make sure I use cranberry cocktail juice instead. Second, a splash is not very descriptive… I tried doing a splash of each as the directions indicated and ended up with hardly any cocktail and what was there was undrinkable. Some changes were going to have to be made!

Seabreeze False(b)logic edition

  • 1 1/4 oz vodka
  • 1 splash of cranberry juice
  • grapefruit juice
  • splash of simple syrup (optional)
  • ice cubes

Place ice in glass, pour in vodka and cranberry juice, fill glass with grapefruit juice.

This tweaked version turned out much better than the original! The fresh grapefruit juice really balanced out the tartness of the cranberry juice, if your grapefruit juice is not sweet enough, or you just like your cocktails sweeter a little simple syrup should help.

D loved this drink and wished we had a nice front porch on a beach house to be drinking them from… I promised to make them for her again as soon as I figure out how to get the beach house. I loved this cocktail. The seabreeze is simple, refreshing and delicious. For a summer evening I think I’d prefer these to a peach julep.