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’Tis the season for a Cranberry-Lime Natale Sparkler. A little sweet, a little tart, a lot festive!
Admittedly, I spent a couple days after Thanksgiving fast-forwarding to New Year’s Eve, thinking about how we’d celebrate. Finally, the logical voice inside my head said “Put on the breaks! One holiday at a time, please.” So, I got it together and worked on virtual Christmas party ideas…and now it’s time to start thinking about all the wonderful things to eat and drink.
No matter what your holiday celebration looks like this year, it’s always a great idea to start with a festive cocktail (or mocktail)! It takes just a handful of ingredients to create: cranberry juice, fresh limes, simple syrup and sparkling wine. Make it virgin by using sparkling grape juice or lemon-lime soda and have a cheery drink for everyone in the family.
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The base of this sparkler is a cranberry-lime granita (an Italian-style flavored ice). The granita can absolutely stand alone as a light dessert or palate cleanser between dinner courses.
Step 1. Make simple syrup — This is as easy as combining equal amounts of sugar and water over a low flame until the sugar dissolves. Set it aside and let it cool.
Step 2. Combine the zest and juice of freshly squeezed limes with cranberry juice. Add a pinch of salt and some simple syrup.
Tip: try substituting some of your cranberry juice with homemade cranberry sauce (as in from Thanksgiving dinner). Puree the sauce with the other juices and zest to get a nice smooth texture.
Step 3. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan (I recommend a metal pan for efficient freezing). The mixture should reach about 1/2” up the sides of the pan. This provides lots of surface area for crystals to form.
Step 4. Place it in your freezer so that it lays flat. After 30 minutes, scrape the surface with a fork and break up any big chunks. Repeat this for 2 hours until it’s completely frozen into a slushy like texture.
Add the Sparkle to Your Cranberry-Lime Natale Sparkler
This is seriously simple! Fill a champagne flute, or any holiday glass, a quarter to one-half full with granita, depending on your taste. Top it off with Prosecco or non-alcoholic sparkling beverage. If you like your drinks a little sweeter, add 1/2 teaspoon of simple syrup at a time until it suits your taste.
- fresh cranberries
- lime wheel or wedge
- lime twist
- sugared rim
- sugared cranberries
To make sugared cranberries, coat cranberries with a little simple syrup, then roll them in sugar. Yep…that’s it!
If you make the Cranberry-Lime Natale Sparkler for your upcoming holiday celebrations, please snap a pic and tag me on Instagram!
Cranberry-Lime Natale Sparkler
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 limes zest + juice (about 1/4 cup juice)
- 1 ¾ cups cranberry juice
- 6 tbsp simple syrup
- pinch kosher salt
- 6 tbsp simple syrup
- Prosecco, sparkling grape juice or lemon-lime soda
- fresh or sugared cranberries, fresh lime wheels or twists, sugared rim optional garnishes
- Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat + allow to cool.
- Combine zest + lime juice with cranberry juice, and a pinch of salt. Add 6 tbsp of simple syrup (more if you prefer it sweeter) and stir.
- Pour the juice mix into an 8" x 8" metal pan. (If you double the recipe, you will need to use a 9" x 13" pan instead.) Place the pan into the freezer so it lays flat.
- After 30 minutes, use a fork to scrape the surface of the granita to break up the frozen bits that have begun to form. Repeat this every 30 minutes for 2 hours.
Assemble the Cocktail
- Fill a champagne flute or other glass ¼ to ½ full with granita. Top it off with Prosecco or your sparkling beverag of choice.
- Garnish with fresh or sugared cranberries, a twist or wheel of lime, or a sugared rim.½