When I think of November, I think of pumpkin, cinnamon, yams, and apple cider. I can’t overlook the big bird on the table, but my eyes have always tended to gravitate to the sides.
Every year, I like bringing together healthy veggie sides like potatoes, salads, or steamed corn. But I always tend to forget that cranberries are ripe for the eating at this time. These little berries are not just for decorating, photo ops, or a cranberry jam. Not this time. My aim is to bring them front and center, to turn them into something that would spark a person’s interest as they walk through the door.
Now that I’ve embraced my boozy side and have fresh produce at my disposal, I thought what better way to warm up this season than from the inside? As in, what alcoholic drink can I make that is both classy and effective? After some experimenting and crafting, I’ve amalgamated a pretty solid mule.
The sharp bite from the ginger beer cuts through the vodka and elicits an immediate “Ahh” whenever I take a sip. I may be more of a whiskey girl, but the vodka cran is a classic combination, and the elevation to a mule makes it so much more enjoyable. I also like hosting get-togethers and foodie parties, so I figured the perfect way for everybody to enjoy (and prevent me from making individual mules all night) would be to serve it all in one fancy punchbowl!
However you enjoy your holidays this year, be sure to incorporate seasonal varieties to get the most optimal flavors Mother Nature has to offer. For this issue, sit back and imbibe on the Autumn Mule Punchbowl, and let the good times roll in.
6 oz cranberries
8 oz vodka
12 oz ginger beer
1 cup lime juice
¼ cup sugar
Mint, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
Time: 20 min
1 Prep your fresh produce by rinsing cranberries, limes, and mint. Quarter the limes intended for garnish and set aside.
2 Put 4 oz of cranberries in a saucepan with the sugar and carefully muddle the cranberries to crack them up a little bit. Add water and heat until just boiling. Let cool until ready to use.
3 Grab your favorite punchbowl (if you have more than one) and mix vodka with lime juice. If you happen to have a copper punchbowl, I salute you.
4 Carefully pour entire contents of saucepan into the punchbowl and combine.
5 Use remainder of cranberries, lime wedges, and mint to decorate (i.e., throw them in randomly).
6 When ready to serve, scoop ice into individual cups (or copper mugs) and incorporate the ginger beer into the punchbowl. Ladle at your discretion.
Tip: If you are on a bit of a time crunch and/or you would like more of a cranberry flavor, use cranberry-infused vodka instead and add a handful of cranberries for garnish.
*Photography by Carlos Palacio