This post was originally published here on December 22, 2014. I’ve since updated the photos and text. Cheers!
But I’m also not one to discriminate. I want to be an equal opportunity maker and drinker of all kinds of cocktails. It just seems like the fair and right thing to do.
I’ve noticed lately that this blog has been seriously lacking in some good gin-based beverages. So I decided to fix that pesky little problem. And my timing couldn’t be any more perfect. Because gin, with it’s strong juniper berry taste and aroma, always reminds me of the Winter Holidays.
Since we’re getting REALLY close to Christmas at this point, I decided to shake up something super festive and easy. I know we’ve all got a long list of cookies to bake, decorate and eat. So I figured this wasn’t the time or place for an overly complicated cocktail with hard-to-find ingredients. Nope. This baby is real simple. And I bet you already have all of the ingredients on hand!
And I even gave it a stupidly cute name: Sparkling Christmas Tree Cocktail.
No actual Christmas trees were harmed in the making of this cocktail.
This initial inspiration for this cocktail started with a gin and tonic. I added a slash of cranberry juice for color. Then decided to swap out the tonic for club soda, so I could be more in control of the sweetness.
I had a really fun time making the sparkling “branches” for garnish (and it’s kind of how the name of this cocktail evolved). And while technically they aren’t really necessary for the actual imbibing of this beverage, I also don’t think you should skip out on them either. They are totally cute and make this Sparkling Christmas Tree Cocktail feel super special.
So I think I’m signing off until after the Christmas Holiday. I’ll be back with a new recipe in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And of course, I’ll be lurking around Instagram. So come and find me there if you want!
For the Sparkling Branches:
- About 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup water
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
- Fresh cranberries
For the Cocktails:
- 1/2 cup gin
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon simple syrup
- Club soda
- Sliced lime for garnish, if desired
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and the water, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the simple syrup cool slightly.
- While the simple syrup is cooling, assemble the sparkling branches. Trim your rosemary sprigs so they are about 1-inch longer than the width of your cocktail glasses. Remove and discard some of the lower leaves, leaving the main stem intact. Using a toothpick, poke a small hole all the way through the cranberries. Then thread two cranberries onto each rosemary stem. You'll want to make at least one sparkling branch for each cocktail.
- Pour the cooled simple syrup into a shallow bowl. Place the assembled branches in the simple syrup, turning them to coat. Then working with one branch at a time, remove it from the simple syrup and gently shake off any excess liquid. Hold the branch over your sink or a bowl and sprinkle it lightly with a small amount of the remaining sugar, turning the branch as you sprinkle the sugar so it coats all sides evenly. Place the sparkling branch on plate and set aside. Continue working until all the branches have been coated. Reserve some of the simple syrup for making the cocktails.
- To make the cocktails, add the gin, cranberry juice, lime juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously to chill. Then strain into two glasses with fresh ice. Top with club soda, stirring gently to combine. Garnish with a slice of lime and a sparkling branch. Serve immediately.