Warm cranberry calvados cocktail or Cranberry Cuddle is a perfect holiday cocktail for entertaining. Keep warm in an airport or slow cooker and let guest serve themselves.
It’s no secret I’ve been into warm drinks lately. It all started with the apple cider cocktails. I sampled plenty of mulled wine from Halloween until after Thanksgiving. After falling in love with the warm, cozy drink, I decided that I needed to broaden my warm drink horizons. I want something red and festive for Christmas. I had an idea for a warm cranberry drink and called my sister. (Truth – I had a cute name for a drink, I needed help creating the recipe.) She told me to give her a couple of minutes and she would call me back, she was out running errands. The Cranberry Cuddle or a warm cranberry calvados cocktail was born 15 minutes later from an idea that she got in line at Petco. (You never know where inspiration is going to strike.)
And let me tell you, she knocked it out of the park. This drink is beyond delicious. And dangerous. It doesn’t taste boozy at all. And her trick is key to making that happen. More on that in a minute.
Just a note – this needs a day in the fridge, so make this the day before you plan on serving it.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- peel from one lemon
- 2-inch piece of ginger peeled and sliced
- 3 cinnamon sticks, broken
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 (64-oz.) bottle cranberry juice cocktail
- 2 1/2 cups Calvados (apple brandy), more to taste
- whole cranberries
- lemon slices
- apple slices
- cinnamon sticks
Add sugar, lemon peel, ginger, cinnamon sticks, and cloves to a large Dutch oven or pot.
Pour in cranberry juice.
Stir to combine.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Cool to room temperature. Pour into a large pitcher, straining out lemon peel and spices.
Add Calvados to a pitcher and let mixture chill for 24 hours. This part is key. Everything marinates and it mellows the alcohol so when you drink it, it isn’t overpowering at all. Hence, why I described it as dangerous, because it goes down reallllly easy.
To serve, add to a slow cooker and warm on a LOW setting. Or gently warm on the stove over low heat. Add to a preheated airpot. (I had no idea that you are supposed to add boiling water to the airpot before you fill it. It keeps it hot longer.)
I can’t say enough good things about having an airpot. (I actually have two, I use them all the time.) I use it for hot chocolate and coffee to bring to games, hot apple cider for parties, the gingerbread house party. I love them. And obviously for my Cranberry Cuddle. I wrapped it in a scarf to make it look a little cuter, purely aesthetic reasons.
Ladle into mugs and serve with a few cranberries, a squeeze of lemon juice, apple slices, and a cinnamon stick.
My warm cranberry calvados cocktail is the perfect winter drink.
This almost makes me crave a snow day.