With the holidays coming up, I thought it was about time I shared my homemade “Cranshine” with you. It’s a very simple Cranberry Vodka that I make for special people at Christmas time. The color is super festive AND cranberries are such a seasonal thing that it always makes people smile. It tastes pretty darn awesome, too!
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I know that someone out there is getting ready to launch into the “ALCOHOL ISN’T PALEO!” speech. Please, just don’t. The tagline for this site is “mostly paleo, never perfect” and the occasional adult beverage definitely fits into that, especially during the holiday season! And, as you will see, this homemade Cranberry Vodka is made without adding any extra sugar or chemical nasties, so it’s leagues ahead of any commercially available alternatives!
Before I was Paleo, I used to make this more like a liqueur, which meant that it was heavily sweetened with a simple syrup made from (gasp!) cane sugar. Since going Paleo, that kind of sugar was definitely out, but I actually prefer this infused version of Cranberry Vodka better because it’s more versatile: people can mix drinks with it to their own taste and sweeten as they like. So it’s a better gift all around that way.
How to make your own Cranberry Vodka
Not only is your own “Cranshine” delicious, it is a breeze to make. Although, I should warn you, it takes a little time. A few weeks, in fact: so you have just enough time to whip up a batch of your own Cranberry Vodka before Christmas if you get going now!
First of all – and of crucial importance! – is acquiring some vodka. Yup. Because you are going to be adding flavor to the vodka, let’s just say it doesn’t have to be top shelf stuff. But if you’re avoiding grains, then you are going to want to check out brands that are made from potatoes or grapes instead of wheat. If you’re only avoiding gluten, you can also consider corn based brands, too. Here is a full list of vodkas suitable for gluten free people to assist you! Here’s what you do next:
- Divide the vodka of your choice between some wide mouthed quart sized Mason jars, leaving plenty of room at the top.
- Take your fresh cranberries and pulse them until roughly chopped in your food processor (I just got my very own first food processor, so I enjoyed this part immensely!)
- Divide the chopped cranberries equally between your vodka filled jars
- Put the lids on, screwing the bands on loosely to leave room for expansion within the jars.
- Now, the hard part: put your cranberry vodka filled jars in a cool dark place… and leave them alone for 3 – 4 weeks!
I know, I know. It’s hard being parted from your Cranberry Vodka babies. While it infuses, your Cranberry Vodka won’t look so great. But, patience, my friends! All this perseverance and dedication will be rewarded!
Once those long weeks are over, your jars will be full of a pretty red-pink liquid: you almost have Cranberry Vodka! Just a couple of steps to go. First you will need to pour your Cranberry Vodka through a fine mesh strainer to remove the cranberry pieces, which you don’t need any more. If your strainer isn’t quite fine enough, you may need to strain your Cranberry Vodka a second time, through some cheesecloth or even a coffee filter. This will prevent it from having any sediment in it which will make the Cranberry Vodka cloudy.
This Cranberry Vodka makes a great base for a festive cocktail of your choice – or you can simply top it off with a dry sparkling white wine as a light drink before dinner (or – shhhhhh! – with brunch!), like I did here.
Now all you have to do is decant your beautiful homemade Cranberry Vodka into bottles of your choice, like these cute glass flasks. Or you can pour the Cranberry Vodka into little mini jars with just enough room for a shot or two, just right for measuring out the beginning of a cocktail!
- 3 cups fresh cranberries
- 1.5 litres (6 cups) vodka
- Divide the vodka equally between 3 quart sized wide mouthed mason jars, about 2 cups each.
- Add the fresh cranberries to a food processor and pulse until the cranberries are roughly chopped.
- Divide the chopped cranberries equally between the jars. Add the lids and seal loosely.
- Store in a cool dark place for 3 - 4 weeks.
- Pour the cranberry vodka mixture from the mason jars through a fine mesh strainer into a large jug to remove the cranberry pieces. You don't need them any longer here, but you can keep them to make baked goods if you wish!
- If there are still some small pieces of cranberries left in the vodka, you will need to strain the liquid again through some cheesecloth or similar.
- Decant the finished cranberry vodka into pretty bottles of your choice!
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