Thanksgiving is over, but we are not in any way done with cranberries. For some, they are tied to the holiday, but for us in the Drink of the Week camp, cranberry means cosmopolitans!
Joe Andrieu, one half of Repeal Day Santa Barbara (yes, it’s a blatant plug! Check page D1 for more shameless self-promotion), arrived at a recent holiday party bearing a small tub of cranberry granita (an Italian variation on sorbet). Giving props to Alton Brown, who first introduced the idea to him (by website), Joe made us cosmopolitans consisting of nothing but granita, lime juice and vodka. The granita, being straight from the freezer, provided the chill of ice without the ice. The resulting cocktail was thick with cranberry flavor, way more than any “cranberry cocktail”-filled cosmo we’ve had. Needless to say, many of these were ordered at the party, and poor Joe never left the kitchen, having no assistant available to give him a break.
Having seen the magic a granita can bring, consider variations on the idea for other drinks that use fruit juices. In the meantime, practice with this cocktail and be the hit of your next party — as long as you don’t mind being in the kitchen.
CRANBERRY GRANITA COSMOPOLITAN
1 ounce vodka (we used Stoli; don’t get fancy)
2 1/2 ounces Cranberry Granita (see recipe)
1/2 ounce lime juice
Place all ingredients in cocktail shaker with no ice. Shake until granita melts completely and pour into martini glass. Garnish with fresh cranberries.
Yield: 1 drink
2 cups water
5 1/2 ounces cranberries, approximately 1% cups, washed and sorted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
In pan, combine water, cranberries and sugar. Simmer over medium heat until berries begin to pop. Remove from heat and puree with stick blender for a minute. Strain through cheesecloth onto metal pan, 13-by-9 inches. (Do not press on skins.) Add zest and stir together. Place in freezer until set. Once frozen, use force to scrape mix into shaved ice texture.
Yield: about 1 pint