This is really plain vodka infused with the flavors of cranberries and orange. And it is fabulous. I used this recipe from Creative Culinary, although I have seen variations elsewhere on the internet.
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups fresh cranberries
3 tbs fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbs grated orange zest
2 cups vodka (use something relatively decent, please!)
Combine the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan and bring it to a boil. Simmer the mixture for 3 minutes, making sure all of the sugar has dissolved. Congratulations, you have just made a simple syrup!
Add the cranberries, orange juice and zest. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Add the mixture to a blender or food processor. Be careful, this can be sticky work if you spill some. Pulse slightly, just enough to open up the berries. Cool this mixture completely.
Once it has cooled, add the vodka (I used Smirnoff) and mix thoroughly.
Pour this mixture into a container for storage. Cover and store in a dark, cool location for 3 weeks.** Stir every few days.
When you're ready to use the liqueur, strain it through a fine metal sieve. You can store this in an airtight container, or in something more open if you're going to be using it immediately.
Though you can use this in any way you see fit, I poured it in the bottom of a champagne flute and topped it with some champagne.
This little cocktail is festive as hell, if I may say so myself! It's sweet, and goes down very easily. So watch yourself =). This cocktail was really nice on Christmas day, I'll probably use up my leftover liqueur on New Year's Eve. But don't let the season limit you. This would be nice any time!
**I allowed my liqueur to "brew" for about 9 days, rather than the 3 weeks that the original recipe recommends. I think it would only get better and better if I let it sit longer, but I found that 9 days was enough to allow the flavors to really meld together. Let yours sit for as long as you'd like, or as long as your time table will permit.