Edited Monday, July 19, 2010 to add: It is worth noting that I found a jar of this in my liquor cabinet in January this year. 8 years in a cupboard only improved it. In honor of the holiday season, this festive drink may be exactly what you need. It makes a great Christmas gift, and it is homemade, so you can do almost any variation you like. However, it takes one to two months to prepare correctly, so plan ahead!

The Making Of:

You will need the following supplies:

1. One fairly large glass container
2. One 3 cup (750 ml) clear glass wine bottle with a new cork
3. One 8 inch bamboo skewer (it must be bamboo... regular wood skewers will rot, and metal skewers are just a bad idea)

  • 2 cups (or 500 ml) of sugar

  • 1 cup (250 ml) of water

  • 3 cups (750 ml) of cranberries, washed and sorted (to get rid of any bad berries.) DO NOT WASH UNTIL READY TO USE!! It causes them to spoil if they are wet for extended periods of time. Also, see step one before proceeding.

  • 3 cups (750 ml) of vodka (I use 2 (500 ml), but I use my cordial as a dessert topping, so I like it a little sweeter.)

  • 10 cranberries (not washed and set aside.) Because of the length of time involved, I keep them in the freezer. They freeze well, and it stops them from spoiling.

Preparing the cordial:

Step 1: Heat the sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan and stir to wet the sugar. Bring the sugar-water to a boil over a medium heat (to prevent the sugar from scorching). Stir in the 3 cups of cranberries.
(Here you can do one of several things. Some cordial recipies suggest that the berries/fruit that you are using be bruised, or chopped up, or tossed in whole (if you are using a small enough fruit). Personally I prefer to chop the cranberries in half before I cook them in the sugar water, and then I mash them a little when they get soft).
Turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool to room temperature. You can speed the process a bit by putting this mixture into the fridge, but DO NOT put it into the freezer. The sugar causes the whole thing to turn into a jelly like substance, and then you have to wait for it to warm up again before proceeding to step 2.

Step 2: Pour the COOLED mixture into a glass container and add the vodka: stir to combine. This is where it helps if the large glass container listed above has a lid. It makes storing it easier. Also, you are supposed to stir the cordial at least twice a week, and if the container has a lid, stirring is as easy as tipping it over a few times.

Step 3: WAIT. The cordial is best if it is allowed to sit for 1-2 months (don't forget to stir it occasionally) in a cool, dark location.

Step 4: Remove the frozen berries from the freezer so they can thaw.

Step 5: You have been patient, you have waited your allotted amount of time, and are looking forward to your cordial. Strain out the berries and large chunks, collecting the liqueur in a bowl. Press the berries to remove as much of the goodness that you can. Throw the berries away. You will need to strain the remaining liqueur at least one more time (I do 2 or 3 to be safe) before proceeding to step 6. Remember that you want your Liqueur to be as clear as possible.

Step 6: Using a funnel, pour your liqueur into the clean wine bottle, leaving a 2 inch space at the top. Any extra can be reserved for you, the deserving cook. Thread the ten defrosted berries onto the bamboo skewer, and slip it into the bottle for a nice decoration (trimming the skewer to fit if necessary). Insert the cork. Your Cranberry Cordial is now ready to serve, or it may be stored for up to 3 months.

Final notes: Use your cordial as a topping for ice-cream, or it makes an excellent after- dessert sipper in the winter months. Its pink/magenta color is bound to brighten up any occasion!