12.16.2014

Ina Garten's Make Ahead Cranberry Martini


I was waiting for Ina's new cookbook, Make it Ahead, for almost a full year. I made a beeline to Barnes & Noble on release day and raced home after work to read through it.

And it was kind of disappointing.  A lot of recipes were rehashes of old ones (which you almost can't blame her for, it is her 9th book, how many ideas can one person have?), and a lot of them were just prep ahead tips, not things you could completely make and reheat.

I've had the cookbook for two months now, and Ina's make ahead cranberry martinis were the first thing I tried.

This is basically an upscale version of a cranberry vodka. I served it at our Hanukkah party, and it was very well received. It's fun and festive and easy enough to make (though not as easy as just a regular cranberry vodka...). I did doctor the original recipe by squeezing in the juice of half an orange, and adding an extra half cup of cranberry juice, but if you like more of a vodka bite, do it Ina's way.

Make Ahead Cranberry Martinis (from Make It Ahead, recipe written with my changes)

1 cup cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
6 strips of orange zest, 1x3 inches (I used a vegetable peeler)
1 750 ml bottle vodka
1 and 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail (original recipe calls for 1 cup)
1/4 cup Triple Sec
Juice of half an orange (original recipe omits this)

Pour bottle of vodka into a large pitcher, Pyrex, whatever it can hang out in for a couple days.

Combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer about 5 minutes, until cranberries start to pop. Let cool, then add to pitcher with vodka. Refrigerate for up to five days.

Up to two days ahead of time, you can make the cocktail. I did mine Friday night for a Sunday afternoon party. Strain the vodka mixture into a pitcher, reserving cranberries but discarding zest. Add the cranberry juice, triple sec, and juice of half an orange. Stir.

When ready to serve, fill a cocktail shaker with ice, pour in some of the drink mix, and give it a good shake. Pour into martini glasses, garnishing with cranberries. Enjoy!

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