I am of the opinion that the best traditions have to do with food and drink! Countless times this family has come together to cook, eat, and enjoy each other's company. Though we are scattered to the winds lately keeping traditions is a good way for my husband and I to bring back warm memories of times spent together on the farm.
One of those traditions has to do with the making of various beverages, including so called adult beverages. Now that it is cranberry season I have commenced the making of my cranberry cordial. This particular drink is not awfully popular with my boys but I have wonderful memories of sitting with my daughters, Mary-Kate and Melissa by a warm fire sipping cordial and knitting.
Since it is such a good and easy recipe I thought I would share it here for those who would like to try. Caution, once you try it there is great difficulty waiting for it to fully mellow and mature before you take a drink.
3 cups fresh cranberries (one 12ounce bag), picked over and washed
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups 100-proof vodka
2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
Coarsley chp cranberries in food processor or blender and transfer to a clean 2-quart container. (I use a 2 quart canning jar) Add sugar, stir, and let stand for 1 hour. Add water, vodka, and zest. Cover tightly and let stand in a cool, dark place for 1 month. Shake 2-3 times a week to prevent clumping of fruit.
Use a coarse sieve or colander to strain out solids. Discard. (I have frozen the mash in lumps on a cookie sheet to use over ice cream.) Strain again using a fine-mesh strainer. Transfer to clean container and let stand for 1 week. Rack or filter into final container. Cover and age for at least 1 month more before serving.
Here's today's batch waiting for the liquid and zest to be added. When I strain I often use multiple layers of cheese cloth since it does the best job. I also do the final rack into screw cap wine bottles that I have saved. Remember to keep lids screwed tightly on so that the alcohol doesn't evaporate away.
This has a beautiful ruby color that is pretty served in a cut glass cordial glass.