Cosmopolitan Cranberry Sauce

by Anne Bennett on November 14, 2017

My winter refrigerator — the firewood pile outside the back door — where my cranberries cool before adding the final, pivotal ingredients.

Each year when I describe my favorite Thanksgiving cranberry sauce at Weight Watchers meetings, everyone laughs at its audacity. Cranberry sauce spiked with vodka? That’s Thanksgiving sacrilege! Afterwards, I am always besieged by members who say, “That was really funny. Um, would you share the recipe?”

This “special sauce” has become a staple for the adults at our Thanksgiving table. Its name gives it away–it’s tantamount to an edible cosmopolitan cocktail, with a splash of vodka and orange liqueur added after the berries have cooked in sugar and water. Truth be known, it does not taste overly boozy. In fact, you might not even notice that it’s got alcohol in it. But it is definitely different: piquant and not just delicious but…memorable. Definitely memorable. Try it and prepare to become enchanted by its indescribable, “Je-ne-sais-quoi” quality (French for “I don’t know what it is but I love it.”).

Cosmopolitan Cranberry Sauce

1 (12 oz. bag) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vodka
3 Tbsp. orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec

Combine the cranberries, sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the berries have popped and the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to a medium bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Stir in the vodka and orange liqueur, transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate.

Note: Cranberries have a high acid content, so you can safely make this ahead and refrigerate it for up to two weeks.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Maggie Evans November 14, 2017 at 8:29 am

Anne, this looks delicious and I am going to make it for our ALL ADULT Thanksgiving.
Thanks for always adding something special to our meals. Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving !

Dana Reed November 15, 2017 at 6:57 am

I got this recipe from you several years ago, and have served it each year since then. For someone that never liked cranberries, due to growing up with the squishy, jello-like substance from a can, I am in love with your version! I added pineapple tidbits and Mandarin oranges to the recipe…and my family enjoyed the new flavor. Thank you for the delicious dish that is now a staple of our Thanksgiving table!

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