When the holidays roll around, the more festive you make things the better, especially when it comes to entertaining guests at parties and gatherings. Small details like a nice serving platter or a sprig of herbs for garnish can go a long way to making your guests feel cozy and catered to. When the drinks are flowing, one fun way to spice up your beverage presentation is to whip up some custom ice cubes for your wintery cocktails — and a great and seasonal ingredient to add to these unique ice cubes is whole, fresh, or frozen cranberries.
Making these decorative and functional ice cubes can be as simple as freezing whole cranberries in your ice tray, though there are a number of ways to make the cubes still more flavorful and festive beyond that. This includes additions like using cranberry juice instead of water in the ice tray, or sprinkling in herbs like mint or rosemary to give your ice cubes both color and flavor. Depending on your preferences, you can make the ice cubes simply a fun visual element for holiday beverages, or use them to impart another layer of festive flavor to your drinks menu.
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Cocktails That Play Well With Cranberry
Cranberry has a distinctly tart flavor that plays well with various other cocktail flavors; the tangy bite of these fruits provides much-needed acidity, which is an essential element in crafting a balanced cocktail. Many classic cocktail recipes contain squeezes of citrus juice, which provide that pleasant, puckery tartness that offsets the astringency of hard liquor. Cranberry, tart in its own right, can serve that purpose as well, even in the form of ice cubes. As the ice melts, the flavor of the cranberries will infuse with your drink, adding another layer of depth over time — If you use cranberry juice to make your ice cubes, this flavor will be more apparent.
Cranberry pairs well with lime, so dropping a few festive cubes into a drink like a mojito or a Moscow mule will add a nice pop of color and a punch of sour flavor. Or you could use the cubes in a festive punch for added holiday flair.
Why Cranberry Is A Good Pick For Holiday Cocktails
Out of all the possible flavor choices for holiday ice cubes, cranberry stands out as one of the most festive and wintery options. Cranberry has been associated with the holidays for a long time, especially in the United States; this native North American fruit was an important crop during the time of the first Thanksgiving and has continued to appear on holiday tables ever since. Its tangy, tart flavor makes it a good pairing and foil for other, richer foods on the celebratory table, and it's long been an accompaniment to meat dishes like roast game birds, which are common sights at holiday feasts.
Cranberry's red color also makes it a visually festive fruit for the occasion. Red is a color typically associated with the holidays and Christmas: It's the shade of Santa's coat, the color of holly berries, and often the vibrant hue of tree baubles, wrapping paper, or ribbon. The warm, cozy color of cranberries in your holiday cocktails, accompanied by their tart and tangy flavor, will certainly have guests feeling merry and bright.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.