It’s that time of year when the world furiously searches for holiday drinks online. Of course, that’s only if you don’t already have a tradition of making eggnog or yule punch. Regardless of your holiday traditions, as the year draws to a close (especially 2020), we could all use a cocktail. Something to mark a festive time, even when you might be alone or seeing less of your family and friends. For the last three years, I’ve been visiting a Christmas pop-up bar for drinks in Santa Koala mugs with friends. But alas, not this year. However, even though things are a little different, I’ve had time to experiment a little. And, I’ve had time to collaborate with some friends, like Boozy Botanicals, for this post. Let’s make some cedar gin and a cardamom holiday cocktail!
A Cardamom Cocktail with Cedar Gin
Winter Woods Spritz
- 1.75 oz cedar gin
- 1 oz cranberry juice (100% juice, no sugar)
- 0.5 oz Boozy Botanicals Cardamom Spice syrup
- 2 oz club soda
- 3 cranberries to garnish
- Add all ingredients, except club soda and berries, to a shaker with ice.
- Shake well (20-30 seconds) and double strain into a champagne flute. If you didn't use freshly juice cranberries, a single strainer is fine.
- Top with club soda and garnish with fresh cranberries.
This recipe comes to you in advance of the supporting content as I know some of you only want to make the drink. However, it’s usually presented at the end so you have all the background and ingredients after you’ve read the post. If you like the recipe at the top, let me know in the comments. Now for a little back story on this drink. In September, I visited Vikre Distillery in Duluth and purchased a bottle of their cedar gin. I’ve been looking for the perfect pairing of flavors in a cocktail and I think I’ve found it. The combination of gin, cedar, cranberry, and cardamom are perfect in this light cocktail. Using a fresh pressed cranberry juice (I just put a bag of cranberries through my juicer) also added a nice rich texture.
How to make gin
If you’re not familiar with how gin is made, it’s fairly straightforward. The base of gin is vodka which is infused with a combination of botanicals that must include juniper. I have made gin a couple of times. Once at the oldest gin distillery in the world, and once in my Midwest kitchen using this kit. The kit is very easy to use and contains everything you’ll need, besides an affordable vodka. A basic vodka works best as the botanicals will mask and balance out even the budget brands. If you are wanting to infuse your gin with cedar, I’ve included some instructions below. The kit just requires soaking the botanicals at room temperature for a set amount of time. Distilled gin can also be produced over heat but that is not the safest method for home creations. (Unless you are a chemist, which I guess technically I am according to my undergraduate degree!)
How to make or infuse cedar gin
If you don’t already have some cedar gin on hand, you’ll need to make some. You can either add cedar as a botanical to your homemade gin (above) or infuse pre-made gin. The safest way to infuse gin with cedar is to use some cedar tea bags, like these ones. While you will also pick up some subtle flavors from the other ingredients in the tea, using fresh cedar could be more risky. Cedar is a safe and very effective medicine, but in large doses can become poisonous as it contains Thujone. This is a thorough article on cedar that you might find useful. Using a small amount of fresh cedar is likely fine, but wanted you to be aware of the potential risk. If you are using the room temperature soaking method, I would suggest crushing the cedar with a muddler or a mortar and pestle to release the oils. This will provide the maximum flavors and aromas for your cedar gin. Cheers!