I hope everyone had a delicious Thanksgiving! Are you ready for the onslaught of Christmas recipes now? Since I’ve been traveling so much lately, with even more to come I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen this month. So I’m switching gears, lightening my load a bit and am going to do a series of cocktail recipes instead…12 Days of Christmas Cocktails. How fun will this be? First up, a Cranberry Thyme Cocktail!
The really great thing about today’s recipe is you can make this Cranberry Thyme Cocktail two different ways. The first, in martini form with vodka and, second, on the rocks with gin (think gin & tonic, without the tonic). I liked them both equally so I’m giving you a two-for-one today. Don’t you just love options?
I always pick up a couple of bags of cranberries at the grocery store this time of the year (they freeze great!). Since I enjoyed my herb flavored simple syrups so much this past summer, I thought I’d try making a cranberry simple syrup (you can read more about making flavored simple syrup here) and infuse it with some sort of herb. I had some thyme in the refrigerator and thought the thyme would pair nicely with the cranberry. I used thyme in my Nectarine Thyme Martini which is really delicious so I knew it would be wonderful here as well.
First up is this beautiful…
Vodka Cranberry Thyme Martini
I like vodka in this version but you could also use rum if you’d like. I’m just a vodka fan and like it best with vodka. To make this version, just shake up some of the cranberry thyme simple syrup with vodka and additional cranberry juice, squeeze of lemon and that’s it. Adding the additional cranberry juice and lemon cuts down on the sweetness of the simple syrup. The thyme flavor is a lovely under note to this cocktail, not overpowering, just enough for you to say “hummmm, what is that?”. Quite delicious. I highly recommend this version if you’re a vodka drinker like I am.
And for those of you who like Gin you might want to try this…
Gin & Cranberry Thyme Cocktail on the Rocks
Want something a little fizzier? If you love gin and tonics, you might want to give this version a try. Here I just combined the cranberry thyme simple syrup with some gin in a glass with ice. Then topped it off with club soda and a squeeze of lemon. Now, I’m not a huge gin fan but I have to say this was one tasty cocktail. Originally I tried it with tonic, thinking I’d make a Gin & Cranberry Thyme Tonic but I thought the tonic was a bit much and over powered the subtle thyme flavor. So I topped it with club soda and it was perfect! But if you really like gin & tonics, you might want to give it a try with tonic and see what you think.
If you’re looking for a signature cocktail to serve your guests this holiday season you might want to try one of these Cranberry Thyme Cocktails, either the vodka version or the gin version. For other fantastic martinis with herbs be sure to check out the Grapefruit St-Germain Martini or the Caramelize Pear-tini, both use rosemary, a Blackberry Fizz with tarragon, or a Cucumber Basil Martini, which of course, has basil. I think you’ll really like them!
Next up on day two of 12 Days of Christmas Cocktails is one of my favorite after dinner cocktails…check back on Wednesday and find out what it is!
Cranberry Thyme Martini
- 1 shot vodka, gin or rum
- 1 shot cranberry-thyme simple syrup
- 1 shot cranberry juice
- squeeze of lemon juice (I used half a small lemon)
- Combine vodka, cranberry simple syrup, cranberry juice and lemon juice in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into martini glass.
- Garnish with sprig of thyme or a few fresh cranberries.
Gin Cranberry Thyme Cocktail
- 2 shots gin
- 2 shots cranberry thyme simple syrup
- club soda
- squeeze of lemon
- In tall glass filled with ice, add gin and cranberry thyme simple syrup. Top with club soda and a squeeze of lemon juice. Give it a stir and enjoy.
Cranberry Thyme Simple Syrup
- 1/2 – 1 C. sugar*
- 1 C. water
- 1 C. fresh cranberries
- 5–10 sprigs thyme
- Make simple syrup by combining sugar, water and cranberries in small saucepan. Bring to boil. Continue cooking while all the cranberries pop. Add thyme sprigs, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool, then strain. Store syrup in refrigerator, toss solids.
*If you want a little less sweet syrup just use a half cup of sugar