My favorite flavor of Thanksgiving is cranberry sauce. Every year for Thanksgiving I make one thing, and one thing only: homemade cranberry sauce. So when November rolled around and I started planning the winter menu, I wanted to use cranberry juice, a classic cocktail mixer, to lean into that flavor so I created the Hibiscus Cranberry Collins.
The virtual happy hours we host are a bit different than just walking up to a bar and ordering a drink, since we pre-plan the menu. The menu is always customizable, but in case you need some inspiration we curate seasonal menus you can send that out to your guests to see what everyone likes best.
The beauty of a basic two ingredient vodka-cran is the way the floral hibiscus and tart cranberry flavors combine to compliment each other so inherently. The drink is said to be invented by the Ocean Spray company as a way to increase the sale of their juice. More specifically, it was popularized in the bars of Cape Cod. So if you’ve ever heard it referred to as a Cape Codder, there ya go.
The Cape Codder is played out but that doesn’t mean it’s still not a great drink. I decided to update it a bit and play with some complimenting flavors, to make something simple yet complex. The complexity comes from that hint of hibiscus. When you take a sip and really try to concentrate on what you’re tasting and smelling you can begin to identify that really unique profile of the hibiscus. Give it a try and let us know how you would describe this flavor.
When it comes to serving this drink, the options are endless. I like to enjoy mine Collins style, on the rocks in a tall glass packed with ice and topped with soda. However, if you want to serve up this festive drink around the table for Thanksgiving cocktails you can make it a bit fancy and serve it “up” in a martini glass. If you wanna booze it up a little more, substitute Prosecco for the soda water and serve it in a flute, and maybe even float a few fresh cranberries in the glass. This drink can be made your own and we always encourage our guests to put their own personal touches on their cocktails during class.
Whatever way you decide to serve it, this cocktail is going to make the perfect aperitif before a major Thanksgiving feast. Having an aperitif before a meal is a cultural ritual in Italy and it’s meant to stimulate your appetite. Even the term aperitif comes from the Latin word for “open.” As in, it’s time to open the meal. When in Rome…
Here’s the Hibiscus Cranberry Collins recipe for you to try at home.
- 1.5 oz Vodka
- 0.75 oz Hibiscus Syrup
- 1 oz Cranberry Juice
- 0.5 oz Lime Juice
- 1-2oz Soda Water