Are you ready for the big day, Boozers? With just under a week until the great Thanksgiving feast, our lists are made and the prep has begun. Naturally, we started with cocktails.
This year, of course, there’s the added pressure of the first night of Hanukkah falling on the same day, creating the hybrid festive day of Thanksgivukkah. This posed a cocktail conundrum until we remembered Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish, a blindingly bright pink concoction of cranberries and horseradish that has been the butt of many jokes on NPR for at least a couple of decades. But we thought… why could it not be the basis for a perfect palate cleanser during a heavy meal?
And so we present you with the Cranberry Jelly Shot. You may recall that we love a jam cocktail, as the pectin from the jam creates a lovely silky mouthfeel; we then pickled some cranberries with horseradish for a garnish, using the resulting liquid — essentially a shrub — to give the shot a bit of a kick. Sit back and give thanks.
Cranberry Jelly Shot
You can use your choice of alcohol for this shot, as it could work equally well with vodka, tequila, or gin, but we suggest an unaged whiskey, often known as moonshine, for its quintessentially American properties, which seem appropriate for Thanksgiving. To give it a Thanksgivukkah twist, try using Catoctin Creek Mosby’s Spirit, a certified Kosher white whiskey.
1 tablespoon cranberry jelly (homemade or storebought)
1 ounce white whiskey or other liquor of your choice
1 ounce cranberry-horseradish shrub (recipe below)
pickled cranberries, for garnish (recipe below)
Put first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with an ice cube and shake very vigorously so that the cranberry jelly dissolves into the liquid. If the liquid seems overly thick, dilute with a scant teaspoon of water. Strain into a shot glass and garnish with a few pickled cranberries on a toothpick. Can be shot down in one gulp or sipped, and is also delicious if served over ice in a rocks glass and topped off with chilled club soda.
Pickled Cranberries and Cranberry-Horseradish Shrub:
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 heaping tablespoons grated horseradish (from a jar is fine)
1 small cinnamon stick
Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, just until cranberries begin to pop. Reduce heat to quite low and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool thoroughly. Remove cinnamon stick and put the cranberries and liquid (known as a shrub) into a food storage container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.