The Christmas countdown has begun, and Hanukkah lights are already sparkling! The radio stations are saturated with carols, occasionally bringing out my conditioned ‘dancer’s shudder’ when music from ‘The Nutcracker Suite’ has a turn. It seems like we need something festive and bright more than ever this year, and I can’t think of a better drink to represent that spirit than this amazing Spiced Cranberry Gin Punch with Sparkling Rosemary. It puts me in the mood for snowball fights, fireplace nights, and holiday lights!
This mouthwatering gin cocktail is the final in my special series, Journey from Consumer to Creator! I had the pleasure of collaborating with the marvelous Vance Henderson, U.S. National Brand Ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin, and overall cocktail magician! I can honestly say that we’ve saved the best for last.
With the help of Vance’s mixology wisdom, we’ve already discussed techniques and the basics of cocktail creation for the at-home drink lover! Did you miss Part One or Part Two of our series? Tap HERE! Jump over and build up your cocktail confidence with my delicious introductory-level cocktail, the Solstice Grapefruit Basil Smash! Or, check out the next level with this party-ready Holiday Cherry Rosemary Gin Sour! Our step by step directions, and tips from a professional, can help you master these bespoke cocktail creations!
Mastering the Art of the Holiday Cocktail…
This punch is deliciously Winter themed! Vance has created an inventive layered cocktail with familiar holiday flavors – but with a twist. A quick homemade simple syrup is boiled up with touches of allspice, black pepper, salt, and a surprise ingredient; leftover cranberry sauce! The balance is incredible. Sweet, a little tart, and a bit spicy on the tongue.
The allspice is both flavorful and fragrant. I was pleasantly surprised by how well this baking ingredient worked in a cocktail application. The results? The scents of childhood: gingerbread houses, warm apple pie, cranberry sauce bubbling on the stove, and a faint spicy aroma. Homey flavors that work so well for the season!
The incredable homemade allspice & cranberry cocktail syrup makes this punch different than the more familiar ones of Christmas parties past. Even better? The herbaceous notes included in Hendrick’s Gin mixes seamlessly in this drink! This is not your traditional old-fashioned gin punch recipe!
What is a traditional “Punch”?
Punches have a long history, and like many mixed drinks were born out of a, ‘waste not, want not’, mentality! First documented in the 17th Century, punch was a beer-based drink, often mixed with rum, spices, and citrus juices. Popular among British sailors sailing on the busy trade routes for the British East India Company, ‘punch’ was originally created to mask the flavors of the heat-spoiled beer that was provided to thirsty sailors.
The parched sailors enjoyed this sweet/tart mixture so much that they brought it home to Europe! Variations spread across the globe, with a myriad of different spirits, fruits, & spices. By the mid 20th century, the juice-heavy drink that we think of as ‘punch’ became the most prevalent party beverage out there, even though today it’s thought of mostly as a ‘kid’s drink’.
Today we’re taking it back!
A grown-up gin punch recipe for the holidays….
This recipe is decidedly for the grown-ups! Cucumber & rose infused gin mixed with orange bitters, a bit of fresh lemon & clementine juice, and an amazing homemade spiced cranberry simple syrup. Top with a sprig of wintery sugar-sprinkled rosemary and a few bright red cranberries… well, you’ve just mixed up a creative winter gin drink that you will crave all season long!
Big thanks to our wonderful guest cocktail specialist, Vance Henderson! I am so grateful for his generosity & instruction! I have learned so much along the way, and I hope you have as well. Be sure to follow along with all of Vance’s travels on his Instagram, @VTWiseguy. Catch his amazing cocktail recipes, tips & tricks, as well as glimpses of Vance’s playful personality!
~ Making more than two or three of these festive cocktails for a party? Be sure to double or triple the simple syrup recipe! This homemade spiced simple syrup will last for about a month in the refrigerator, making it easy to enjoy this special cranberry gin cocktail well into the New Year!
~ Having trouble finding whole allspice at the grocery store? Ground allspice is a more common version in western cooking, but whole seeds can be found in the ‘International Foods’ section of your grocery store. If you are still missing this key ingredient, Amazon is a great resource!
~ Fresh is best! Always use fresh juices in your cocktails! Grab your citrus and juice right before adding to your shaker.
~Please visit my Drinks selection to find the perfect cocktail for any occasion!
Spiced Cranberry Gin Punch with Frosted Rosemary
makes 1 cocktail
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh clementine or orange juice
3/4 ounce spiced cranberry syrup
2 dashes of Regans’ Orange Bitters
2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
for the garnish
fresh cranberries, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of simple syrup, and 3 rosemary sprigs
To make the garnish
Wash and dry several sprigs of fresh rosemary. In a shallow bowl, pour a tablespoon of plain simple syrup. Gently dredge the rosemary through the simple syrup and then sprinkle completely with regular sugar on all sides.
Using a cocktail stick, skewer three fresh cranberries.
To make the cocktail
In the cup of a cocktail shaker, combine the juices, spiced cranberry syrup, & Hendrick’s Gin. Add two dashes of orange bitters and a large handful of ice.
Close the shaker and viciously shake for at least 30 seconds, or until frosted.
Using your favorite whiskey glass or Old Fashioned cocktail glass, fill with fresh ice.
Strain the cocktail into the glass and top with a sparkling sugar rosemary sprig and cranberry skewer.
Spiced Cranberry Simple Syrup
makes about 1/2 cup, or enough for about 4 drinks
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
1 small pinch salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
3 allspice berries
Combine all of the ingredients into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, while stirring occasionally.
Let boil for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat.
Place a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl and pour the syrup through to strain. Press the remaining solids with a rubber spatula and then discard the remaining solids.
Let cool and store in a covered glass jar in the refrigerator, for up to 4 weeks.
Spiced Cranberry Gin Punch with Frosted Rosemary
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce fresh clementine or orange juice
- 3/4 ounce spiced cranberry syrup
- 2 dashes of Regans’ Orange Bitters
- 2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
- TO MAKE THE GARNISH
- Wash and dry several sprigs of fresh rosemary. In a shallow bowl, pour a tablespoon of plain simple syrup. Gently dredge the rosemary through the simple syrup and then sprinkle completely with regular sugar on all sides.
- dredging fresh rosemary through sugar for garnish
- Using a cocktail stick, skewer three fresh cranberries.
- TO MAKE THE COCKTAIL
- In the cup of a cocktail shaker, combine the juices, spiced cranberry syrup, & Hendrick’s Gin. Add two dashes of orange bitters and a large handful of ice.
- Close the shaker and viciously shake for at least 30 seconds, or until frosted.
- Using your favorite whiskey glass or Old Fashioned cocktail glass, fill with fresh ice.
- Strain the cocktail into the glass and top with a sparkling sugar rosemary sprig and cranberry skewer.
Spiced Cranberry Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
- 1 small pinch salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 3 allspice berries
- Combine all of the ingredients into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, while stirring occasionally.
- Let boil for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl and pour the syrup through to strain. Press the remaining solids with a rubber spatula and then discard the remaining solids.
- Let cool and store in a covered glass jar in the refrigerator, for up to 4 weeks.