Turn cranberries into tasty cocktails

Easy recipes for using leftover cranberries in toddies and margaritas

Whether from a can, sliced or mixed by hand with orange zest and spices, cranberries are a traditional Thanksgiving side dish. The tangy brightness and tart acidity balance the rich, carb-laden dishes on the holiday table.

Still, we don’t pile on the cranberries as much as we do mashed potatoes or dressing, so there usually is a container of leftovers in the fridge. If you don’t crave cranberries as sandwich fixings, what can you do with them?

ExploreMore cocktails to try

How about a toddy? A warm cocktail while cozying up with family or friends is perfect for the season. “Even in Georgia, it’s usually time for hot drinks by Thanksgiving,” said Kevin Bragg, general manager of Georgia Boy and Southern Belle.

Bragg’s cranberry hot toddy recipe is easy to whip up, and you can give it a bolder flavor by using black tea, instead of hot water.

For a richer experience, Bragg also offered a cranberry hot buttered rum recipe. “I’m a big fan of hot buttered rum, and this version is perfect for the leftover cranberry sauce,” he said.

Credit: Jeff Banks

Credit: Jeff Banks

Omakase Table’s beverage director, Jeff Banks, shared a great idea for turning whole cranberries into a crowd-pleasing cocktail. “It can be tricky making drinks for my family, as we all have different tastes and preferences,” he said. “However, we can all agree on a margarita.”

Banks puts leftover fresh or frozen cranberries in a blender with mezcal, orange liqueur and a touch of sugar.

And, he said, “It is easy to make it in large batches, so the host is not caught playing bartender all night.”

Now, that’s something to be thankful for.

CRANBERRY HOT TODDY

1½ ounces bourbon

1½ ounces cranberry toddy syrup (recipe follows)

8 ounces hot water or black tea

Cranberry or cinnamon stick for garnish

Put the bourbon and syrup in a mug. Add hot water or hot tea. Garnish with a whole cranberry or cinnamon stick.

Serves one.

Per serving: 131 calories (percent of calories from fat, 1), trace protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, trace total fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 9 milligrams sodium.

CRANBERRY TODDY SYRUP

½ cup cranberry sauce

½ cup water

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (or substitute pumpkin spice)

Pinch salt

Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover for 5 minutes. Let it cool, and strain. Store in a refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Makes 2¼ cups.

Per tablespoon: 12 calories (percent of calories from fat, 1), trace protein, 3 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, trace total fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 4 milligrams sodium.

CRANBERRY HOT BUTTERED RUM

1½ ounces dark rum (or substitute nonalcoholic rum, such as Rum-Ish)

1 tablespoon cranberry butter batter (recipe follows)

8 ounces hot water

Cranberry or cinnamon stick, for garnish

Add the rum and cranberry butter batter to a mug. Add hot water and stir. Garnish with a whole cranberry or cinnamon stick.

Serves one.

Per serving: 154 calories (percent of calories from fat, 45), trace protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 3 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 8 milligrams cholesterol, 3 milligrams sodium.

CRANBERRY BUTTER BATTER

8 ounces brown sugar

4 ounces softened unsalted butter

4 ounces cranberry toddy syrup

Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Gradually add in the brown sugar, until well combined. Stir in the cranberry toddy syrup. Store in a refrigerator for up to one week.

Makes 32 servings.

Per 1-tablespoon serving: 60 calories (percent of calories from fat, 45), trace protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 3 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 8 milligrams cholesterol, 3 milligrams sodium.

CRANBERRY MARGARITA

3 cups ice

1½ cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries, plus more for garnish

1 cup water

¾ cup mezcal or tequila

½ cup sugar

½ cup orange liqueur

Add all the ingredients to a blender. Pulse on high for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth. Pour into a glass. Garnish with a few cranberries.

Serves six to eight.

Per serving, based on 6: 184 calories (percent of calories from fat, 0), trace protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, trace total fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 1 milligram sodium.

ExploreA guide to Atlanta food halls

Sign up for the AJC Food and Dining Newsletter

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.