This month I’ve opted to tune up one of my favorite drinks, the Scarlet O’Hara, with a few dashes of homemade Cape Cod cranberry bitters. The journey actually began this past fall with A LOT of leftover berries from a neighbor’s bog and my love to experiment in the kitchen. First step, dry the berries. To expedite the process toss them into a 225 degree oven for 3 hours. Next you’re going to need some over-proofed vodka or grain alcohol. Shoot for something way more than 50% alcohol by volume (it’s hard to find these things Massachusetts for some reason). Once you’ve got the basics sorted, the following ingredients will need to be sourced and set inside a large one-quart glass mason jars.
- 15 to 20 ounces of the dried cranberries
- 3 orange peels (these can be dried as well)
- 750ml of the alcohol mentioned above (you just need enough to cover everything)
- 8 to10 cardamom pods (the smaller the pod the better the quality)
- 2 whole star anise pods (can be found at local health food or specialty shops)
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon of whole cloves
- 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger
- 3/4 cup of sugar
Once everything is packed inside the jar the infusion process can be quite variable. It could take days or it could take weeks for it to mature to your liking. I gave my batch a shake every day for two and a half weeks then strained thoroughly to perfection with a large French press and a paper coffee filter. The filter helped remove all the fine sediment. A few drops absolutely made a wonderful rendition of the Scarlet O’Hara that I’m enjoying throughout this winter. Give it a try yourself!