Nothing smells like the holidays to me more than my hand after it’s run through a rosemary bush, and this easy cranberry gin and tonic gives me that aroma in spades. While many people think of the gin and tonic as a summer drink, the pine-scented notes of juniper in gin can evoke lovely memories of the holidays. I did more than just add some rosemary to the glass. I infused this delicious, fast, and easy cranberry syrup with rosemary as well.
Where Did the Gin and Tonic Come From?
Like the whiskey cocktail and the rum sour, the first gin and tonics were likely consumed for health benefits.
The gin and tonic was a great health cure in the 1700s in British-occupied India. Indians had long used quinine as a local cure to control the fevers brought on by malaria, but it was incredibly bitter. In the early 1800s, British officers add quinine to soda water and sugar and added gin as their daily ration.
How to Make Rosemary-infused Cranberry Syrup
I love a great hack to make simple syrups easier. This time, instead of making the cranberry simple from fresh or frozen cranberries, I used unsweetened cranberry juice.
I heated it up in the microwave rather than on the stove to speed, but either would work.
After heating the juice to steaming, add an equal weight of sugar and three whole rosemary sprigs. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved and let the syrup cool for 20-30 minutes, or until the rosemary flavor is strong enough.
Strain the syrup and store it in the fridge. It’s delicious in old fashioneds, mules, mojitos, french 75s, mimosas and more.
If you are not a rosemary fan simply replace the rosemary with 3 cracked cinnamon sticks and steep until the cinnamon flavor is strong enough.
How to Make the Cranberry Gin and Tonic
One reason the gin and tonic remains a classic is the ease at which it can be built in a rocks glass. In just a minute or two you can build your cocktail and sip away.
To make your Thanksgiving cocktail (or Christmas cocktail, or any winter holiday) add a bit of syrup to the bottom of a rocks glass or a balloon glass. Add gin, and a squeeze of lime juice. Stir, fill with ice and top with a high-quality tonic water like Fever-Tree or Q Mixer tonics.
Garnish with a few fresh or frozen cranberries for color and a rosemary sprig, spanked across the wrist.
Other Cocktails You Might Enjoy
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Recommended Bar Tools
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You probably already have these, but you may need them, too:
Cranberry Gin and Tonic
- 1.5 oz gin
- ¾ oz infused cranberry simple syrup infuse with cinnamon or rosemary***
- ½ oz lime juice
- Top with tonic water
- Garnish: fresh cranberries, rosemary sprig, lime
- Add cranberry syrup and lime juice to a rocks glass or wine glass.
- Stir briefly.
- Fill with ice and add gin.
- Top with tonic water and garnish.
- 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 sprigs rosemary OR 3 cinnamon sticks