I’m working with Ocean Spray on their Ask CranMa campaign to bring you The Cranberry Comfort. While they are sponsoring this blog post, all opinions, text, and photos are mine.
Hey dudes. So earlier this month I attended a really awesome event in NYC’s Rockefeller Center®. Ocean Spray, the cranberry Gods and Goddesses, invited me to attend their Ask CranMa Thanksgiving boot camp held right where you’d find the Christmas Tree if it was December. You can read all about it here.
The CranMas served up a veritable cornucopia of tips and tricks for hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner and then they served us a full-fledged turkey dinner in a legit cranberry bog. It was one hell of an experience, to say the least.
One of my favorite stations at the boot camp was, of course, the cocktail station where CranMa Diane served us a delicious Cranberry Cassini Cocktail. She also shared the recipe:
2 ounces high end vodka (I’d use Grey Goose)
2 ounces Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail
1/2 ounce cassis (black currant liquor)
Candied Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries (for garnish)
Add vodka, cranberry juice, cassis liquor and ice to cocktail shaker.
Shake ingredients and strain in to a martini glass.
Garnish with cranberries.
She also showed us how to make candied cranberries and they are perfect decoration for the table, a beautiful cocktail garnish, and delicious cake/cheesecake topping.
All the CranMas had their own advice but there was one recurring theme amongst them. Make as much as you can in the days leading up to the big day. All this inspired me to create the easiest make ahead cocktail that you can just pour into a punch bowl, garnish, and serve. So, let’s dive in! (Get it? Dive? Cranberry bog? Eh that one was lame.)
Like I said, candied (or sugared) cranberries make the perfect garnish for cocktails. Don’t they just look like perfect little edible jewels? They’re simple and quick to make too. I timed it by doing this while watching a Thanksgiving episode of Friends on Netflix (The One With All The Thanksgivings). It only took me 1 episode. That’s 22 minutes.
Ocean Spray has the recipe on their website but I modified it a bit. First you need 12 ounces of Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries (use a kitchen scale). In a small bowl, whisk 2 egg whites and 2 tablespoons of water. Then line the bottom of a shallow bowl with sugar. Dip each berry in the white and roll it in the sugar. Set it on a baking sheet lined with wax paper to dry. Ocean Spray uses 1 white and 1 tablespoon, but when I did it, the egg white and I found that it the sugar collects on your fingers and builds up in the egg wash and creates a paste you can’t work with. I would also like to add to Ocean Spray’s method and emphasize that you need to add the sugar to the shallow bowl in small amounts. You will run into the same issue where you end up with a paste of egg white and sugar. After they’re dry (about 30 minutes) store them in the fridge. If you don’t, the candied berries will begin to smell like egg farts.
Wait Raw Egg Whites? What About Salmonella?
Actually, take a look at this statement from the American Egg Board:
Although it is possible for Salmonella to be in both the white and the yolk of the egg, the white does not readily support bacterial growth. Cold soufflé, mousses, and chiffons containing raw beaten whites require refrigeration to maintain their character, and added safety factor. Such dishes might be considered low risk for healthy individuals.
If you still have reservations, use pasteurized egg whites.
Now it’s time to make the punch. Combine 3 cups of Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail with 1 cup of Southern Comfort and 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice. That’s it. Seriously. Wasn’t that easy?
To serve it you have a few options and honestly, they’re all good. CranMa Mary Ann says:
Keep in mind that you’re with family and friends. It doesn’t have to be perfect ?
And she’s absolutely right. Save the cocktail a sealed container. I used swing top bottles, but you honestly could use the Ocean Spray bottle. On the day of you can pour it into a punch bowl and garnish with a few lime slices and the candied cranberries. You can also serve it like I did in a wine carafe that I got as a gift from a liquor store when I bought a whole lot of wine. Set it out with high ball glasses, rocks glasses, or recyclable plastic cups (seriously screw dishes you’re going to be too drunk and full of pie to do them anyway) and instruct your guests to garnish with the candied cranberries.
They Got You, Boo!
Ocean Spray has you covered with everything you need to make your first Thanksgiving a memorable meal at OceanSprayThanksgiving.com!