We are lucky enough to have family staying with us for Christmas, so for the first time ever I made an effort to decorate the house a little and try to create a more festive atmosphere. I still couldn't bring myself to actually buy a tree, so I made a simulated tree by stringing lights and sparkly garland from our torchiére lamp. Okay, so maybe it looked a bit like a glowing jellyfish, but everyone seemed to like it and it was fun to be a little Christmas-y. Plus, it set me back a grand total of $1.08 and took about 10 minutes.
What I enjoyed the most, however, was planning our dinner menu: Jamaican jerk turkey breast in the slow cooker, bacon-wrapped maple pork loin, Yukon Gold and sweet mashed potatoes, maple-glazed carrots with herbes de Provence and cayenne, sautéed kale with apple, onion and apple cider, and a bacon and brandy crust pumpkin pie.
We served wine, beer and egg nog, but I think I was most excited by the Cranberry Margaritas. Now margaritas usually don't get me too excited. I never order them in restaurants. Lime-flavored sugar water with schwag tequila in a obnoxious glass with a crusty salt rim? No thanks. I have to qualify this by saying that I do order margaritas at home. Anson makes great margaritas using fresh squeezed limes, fresh squeezed oranges, triple sec and whatever interesting tequila he is drinking at the moment. They are delicious and very potent. They easily take away the anxiety of the day, but that's another post.
Now back to the drink at hand. I found the recipe in the December 2009 issue of Sunset magazine. "Hmmm, this could be a great way to incorporate cranberry into our holiday meal without being obligated to make the compulsory sauce." Okay, what I really thought was, "Yes! No one will think I'm a lush if I start drinking these at 11am." I think these could be a great year-round drink and they were just as easy as a regular margarita. Here's my version of the Sunset recipe:
Sunset's Merry Cranberry Margaritas
1 bag of fresh cranberries
2 cups of tequila
1 cup Triple Sec or Cointreau
juice of three limes
1 12oz can of frozen cranberry juice concentrate, reserve 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons of sugar
Place the cranberries in a blender with 1 cup of water and purée until smooth, add more water if necessary to help blend.
Pour purée into a large pitcher and add tequila, triple sec, lime juice, cranberry juice and 12-24oz of water. Stir well. Adjust to taste.
Pour reserved cranberry juice and sugar onto two separate plates. Dips rims of glasses into juice and then sugar.
Serve over ice. Alternatively, you can throw it all into the blender at once if you want a frozen margarita.