Last year, while perusing Pinterest looking for ideas for the kids' gift baskets, I came across a beautiful pin. Cranberry Lime Vodka. Well, let's see what's wrong with this idea. Cranberries? Nothing wrong. Vodka? Nothing wrong. Hey, lime works with it. I got so excited after we made our bottles that I took it into work to show the others. One of gals even made several for her family. If you do a web search, you will find a lot of blog posts about it, but I think the pin I originally saw was from Fancy Napkin.
|Our labels included a simple martini recipe. I also admonished my kids for their lack of proper bar implements.|
Making the Cranberry-Lime Infused Vodka was simple. I had a more difficult time finding a template for all of the gift tags we needed to print. I think we made 3 large bottles and 3 small bottles - all of which I found at The Container Store. Last year, we made the infused vodka the weekend before Thanksgiving because we were traveling to my daughter's home in South Carolina 2 weeks before Christmas to celebrate Thankschrismahannukwanzaakah. It had been a few years since we were all together, so I was determined to make it special.
There really is no recipe to follow. Fresh cranberries, lime peel, a wee bit of granulated sugar, and enough vodka to fill the bottle. Some of the blog recipes I've seen suggest any old vodka. While I wouldn't go Grey Goose on this, you really don't want the low-proof grocery store vodka. We used 80 proof Smirnoff and the end flavor was very smooth.
The most important suggestion I followed from Fancy Napkin was to pierce each cranberry with the tip of a knife. Wash your fresh cranberries, then allow to dry (you don't want to dilute the vodka). We had rinsed our bottles the night before, so they were completely dry, as well. I used a very sharp knife to peel the limes, being careful to limit the amount of white pith. The white is bitter and only gets worse over time.
Harry and I pierced each cranberry as we put it into the bottles, and it really didn't take an awful amount of time. We layered the lime peel at about 1/3 full, then at the 3/4 mark. Once you've completely filled your bottles with the cranberries, add just 1-2 teaspoons of granulated sugar (depending upon the size of your bottle). The sugar will balance the bitterness of the cranberries, but not make it sweet. Fill the bottle completely with vodka. The top cranberries will attempt to float, so just push them back down. Put the cap on and let it steep for at least 2 weeks. If you're reading this on December 23, get ye to the store for your supplies, then tell your recipient to wait a couple of weeks before drinking. We did shake it every few days to keep the flavor mixing around.
We were wrapping and packing the baskets in our hotel room the morning of our gift exchange. I had forgotten to take a picture in better light. But, I think you can see below how pretty of a red the vodka became from the cranberries.
Harry and I held onto our bottle of Cranberry-Lime Infused Vodka for a few months and it was delicious. Yes, we kept the cranberries in and there was no bitterness. In fact, I drank it with just tonic. I plan to make a few bottles this year, but I will probably go with a different bottle. I didn't have the patience to pull all the cranberries out with tweezers, so I ended up throwing away the bottle. A bottle with a more open neck would have been a better choice.