If you were lucky enough to have fresh cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving, you may have found yourself standing over a simmering pot of tart and sweet cranberries and sugar. When the aroma of orange zest, warm sugar and spicy cinnamon has faded, and you have polished off the last turkey (or tofurky) sandwich you will eat this November, you may discover some leftover fresh cranberries in the bottom of the refrigerator. What to do with those beautiful and mystifying fresh cranberries? I say drink them.
Loaded with antioxidants and bursting with fresh, tart flavor, cranberries are a delicious and festive addition to the table this time of year. They are also the perfect ingredient for livening up seasonal beverages. If you’re dragging a little after the feeding frenzy and shopping marathon that was last weekend, try mixing up a fresh cranberry drink to get you in the mood to deck the halls this month. I have included both Nice and Naughty options; which you choose depends on how you intend to celebrate the season.
If you’re still trying to make the Nice list. . .
Chocolate Covered Cranberry Smoothie (Makes about one 8 oz serving)
- 1/2 ripe banana, sliced and frozen
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 3/4 cup milk (non-dairy can be substituted)
- 1 Tbsp agave nectar (or sweetener of choice)
- 1-1/2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Optional: 1/2 of a 1 oz packet of protein powder (I used Spiru-tein vanilla; I bet chocolate would be awesome too)
- Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Serve with a fun straw!
While the smoothie would make an excellent on-the-go breakfast, I don’t recommend toting the next one with you to work or on errands, because it is most definitely alcoholic. However, the mixed drink would be a great signature cocktail at your next holiday party. It is basically a Dark ‘n Stormy with muddled cranberries, and I have maintained the nautical theme of the original drink in the naming of this new concoction. It is really quite tasty.
If you already know you’re on the Naughty list. . .
Red Sky at Night
- 8-10 fresh cranberries (choose dark ripe ones)
- 2 oz dark rum
- 6 oz ginger beer (I used Reed’s)
- a few ice cubes
- lime wedge
- Use a muddler or wooden spoon to muddle the cranberries in the bottom of a glass.
- Add rum and ice cubes to the glass, then pour ginger beer on top.
- Gently stir and garnish with a fresh lime wedge or skewered cranberries (or both!).
It was easy to use up my leftover cranberries with these recipes under my belt. And I think I just discovered two new reasons to keep a bag of fresh cranberries around throughout the holiday season. Now that that’s cleared up, I believe there’s only one question that is left unanswered. Maybe you can help me with it.
Naughty or Nice? Or a little bit of both?