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Cranberry-Lime Natale Sparkler for the Holidays

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’Tis the season for a Cranberry-Lime Natale Sparkler. A little sweet, a little tart, a lot festive!

closeup of a cranberry-lime natale sparkler with lime zest and cranberry garnish

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.

prosecco being poured into a glass of cranberry-lime natale sparkler

Making Granita

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.

cranberry-lime granita in a pan being mixed with a fork

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.

cranberry-lime granita in glasses

Various garnishes:

  • 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!

More Festive Drinks…

closeup of a cranberry lime natale sparkler

Cranberry-Lime Natale Sparkler

Sip + Sanity | Linda
’Tis the season for a Cranberry-Lime Natale Sparkler. A little sweet, a little tart, a lot festive!
Prep time.2 hours 10 minutes
Cook time.5 minutes
Total time.2 hours 15 minutes
Course.Drinks
Cuisine.American, Italian

Ingredients

Simple Syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water

Granita

  • 2 limes, zest + juice (about 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1 ¾ cups cranberry juice
  • 6 tablespoon simple syrup
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoon simple syrup

Cocktail

  • Prosecco, sparkling grape juice or lemon-lime soda
  • fresh or sugared cranberries, fresh lime wheels or twists, sugared rim, optional garnishes

Instructions

Simple Syrup

  • Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat + allow to cool.

Granita

  • 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

Notes

To make sugared cranberries, coat them with some of the simple syrup then roll them in sugar. Allow to set.
To sugar the rim, run a wedge of lime around the rim of the glass and dip it in sugar.
If you prefer your cocktail on the sweeter side, feel free to add simple syrup, a 1/2 tsp at a time, to taste.
Leftover granita can be stored in a freezer-safe container until the next use.
Keywords.christmas, vegetarian
Did You Make This Recipe?Be sure to share a comment below!
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6 Comments

  1. This looks so delicious! I feel that drinks are often a forgotten part of a holiday meal, thank you for creating such a fun recipe!

  2. I absolutely had to pin this drink recipe the moment I saw it. It sounds phenomenal and had my mouth watering as I read. Plus, I love cranberry and lime together! So deliciously refreshing!