My Christmas Spice Cranberry Cordial is really a liqueur, which is a sweetened distilled spirit. Liqueurs can be flavored with a variety of fruits, nuts, herbs, coffee, various spices, and even chocolate!
Many liqueurs are used as components in cocktail recipes, but this particular cordial is one that is more of an after-dinner drink.
The word liqueur is usually used for sweetened, lower-proof distilled spirits. But a cordial is considerably sweeter, and some can almost be considered a “dessert” aperitif.
You’ll want to use fresh, plump cranberries and a nice CHEAP vodka. By adding copious amounts of sugar to this recipe, it truly renders the quality of your alcohol mute.
I’ve created a gorgeous PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD and Custom BUFFALO PLAID CRANBERRY CORDIAL HANG TAGS too! More about them a little later. Now let’s make some Christmas Spice Cranberry Cordial, shall we?
Gather Your Ingredients & Supplies
You’ll want to give your cranberries a quick rinse and pick them over to find any bad berries or debris before starting the recipe.
I know this recipe is great when made with just berries, sugar and vodka, having made it many times throughout the years.
Cranberry cordial is bright, clear and the naturally bitter berries are transformed into a ruby red elixir that’s a treat to the senses.
But with the addition of whole cinnamon sticks and star anise, it turns into a magical liqueur laced with the flavors of Christmas. I think you’ll agree!
Crushing the cranberries in a food processor is the first step in the super-simple process of making homemade cranberry cordial. Since the recipe uses raw berries, and rather hard ones at that, grinding them is the best way to extract their flavor.
The next step will help soften the cranberries and also pull the natural juices from the fruit. The method of turning cranberries, sugar and vodka into a thick, sweet liqueur depends on the berries steeping for a period of time.
Macerating the crushed berries in a large quantity of sugar starts the process of pulling all the lovely flavor from the cranberries.
My first recipe took about 5-6 weeks to make, but I was making 5 gallons in a large Tupperware storage bin.
Our catering firm included bottles in our Christmas gift baskets for our corporate and larger clients.
It literally called for just dumping all the ingredients into a container and stirring every other day for up to 5 weeks.
It took almost two weeks just to dissolve the pounds of sugar we used!
Over the years I’ve streamlined the recipe, shortening the steeping time down to 14-16 days.
And of course, the recipe makes about 52 ounces of cordial, not 5 gallons! This recipe only uses two 750ml bottles of vodka.
NAN’S SECRET: Macerating the crushed berries in the sugar for an hour before adding the vodka! At room temperature, the sugar begins dissolving and thus helps to shorten the steeping time considerably.
Once the berries have started to soften and the sugar begins to draw out the natural juices, it’s time to add the vodka.
Transfer the cranberry and sugar mixture to a crock or other covered container that’s large enough for the vodka and berries combined. Give the mixture a few inches of head space to allow for stirring during the steeping process.
Stir your cordial mixture for a full minute to ensure that the sugar is not sitting at the bottom of the container. Cover and place the container in the refrigerator to steep for 14-16 days.
Make sure you stir the mixture every other day to fully dissolve the sugar. If you miss a day, just get it stirred and get back on schedule, it’s not that big a deal!
You’ve patiently waited. And stirred, and stirred. Now it’s time to taste and bottle your fabulous Christmas Spice Cranberry Cordial!
When the appropriate amount of days have passed, collect your container from its hideout. Give it a good stir, and make sure all the sugar is indeed dissolved. If not, tuck it back into its spot and give it two more days.
Once your cordial is ready, it needs to be strained to remove all the berry solids and whole spices. I do the first pass with my fine-mesh colander.
The cordial needs to be crystal-clear before bottling, so I like to do a second pass through a double layer of cheesecloth. You might be surprised at how much the colander missed.
When it comes time to decant and bottle your Christmas Spice Cranberry Cordial, I’ve got the perfect way to gift them!
I created a sheet of Buffalo Plaid Motif Hang Tags to use for labeling your bottles, decanter or carafe.
Punch a hole in the hang tags and thread through a length of ribbon, twine, embroidery floss or even raffia. Get creative!
And you don’t have to stop with a stylish hang tag either. Check out how fabulous my bottled Christmas Spice Cranberry Cordial looks with sprigs of evergreen tucked in too!
Christmas Spice Cranberry Cordial makes a fabulous gift for coworkers, friends and family. I’ll tell you how to get your own set of Buffalo Plaid Cranberry Cordial hang tags at the bottom of this post.
Don’t forget to download the custom recipe card below to make your own batch of Christmas Spice Cranberry Cordial.
It’s really this simple to make a lovely batch of Christmas Spice Cranberry Cordial for gifting and enjoying during the holidays.
Sure, the recipe is quick and simple to make, but your patience will be rewarded with a wonderfully spiced cranberry cordial!
How fabulous will it be to pull a bottle from the freezer, place it on a tray with your glasses and proudly serve it to your holiday season guests?
Make sure to hang one of the stylish hang tags from your decanter or bottle to tell everyone what they’re imbibing in this wintery eve.
Just click the image of the Christmas Spice Cranberry Cordial recipe card to download your copy.
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