Spontaneity is the best. I'm a planner, so being spontaneous sometimes comes slightly less naturally to me (as the Man can attest to) but I wholeheartedly admit that some of the best things in life occur quite naturally, and often last minute. We had just gotten back from Ketchum, and in an effort to counteract the hermit-like tendencies that the Man and I have in the remote forest of northwestern Connecticut, I decided we needed to have some friends over for cocktails. Right then!
We didn't have a whole lot laying around since we had just been out of town, but there was a Meyer lemon in the freezer that I had tossed in there on our way out the door two weeks before, as well as a bag of frozen cranberries from Thanksgiving. The truth is out- I hoard leftover ingredients in my freezer! Seriously, freeze what you can't use, and it will likely come in handy later (a chopped onion and fennel tops for some soup, 1/2 orange for a smoothie...). And when it is time to cook, be inspired by what you do have and just run with it. I never would have concocted this drink had I not been limited by ingredients, but it was fantastic! I'm often so much more creative when there are stipulations attached.
For those of you unfamiliar with Cynar, it's a liqueur made from a variety of herbs and plants, primarily the artichoke featured prominently on its label. Cynar is classified as an Italian Amano, which is simply a bitter herbal liqueur commonly drunk after dinner as a digestif. If I had to compare Cynar to something, I suppose I would say Campari. The flavors are different, but it fits the same bitter profile.
MEYER CRANBERRY GIN SPRITZ
- 1 meyer lemon, diced
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 6 ounces gin
- 12 ounces sparkling water
- ice cubes
In a small sauce pan over low to medium heat combine the lemon, cranberries and maple syrup with 1/4 cup of water. Let simmer until the cranberries have burst and the mixture has thickened. Taste for sweetness, and add a splash more maple if necessary. Let cool.
For each cocktail combine a large spoonful of your syrupy fruit mixture, 1 ounce gin, a splash of Cynar and 2 ounces sparkling water in a rocks glass. Stir, and taste. Add a few ice cubes and serve.
Makes 6 cocktails