Cranberry-Pomegranate Cordial – Gift Giving Made Simple



You still have time…plenty of time to make this cranberry and pomegranate cordial for gift giving. Ten days and you will be ready to bottle the best gift ever for all your amateur or professional bartender friends. This one can be drunk as is or used to shake-up some very special seasonal cocktails. A sip or two will also make you feel more “cordial”during the often stressful days of December.

One cup of pomegranate seeds (arils) and 12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries…..


…one liter or good vodka, a simple syrup and the peel of one orange are all you will need.


For 10 days this jar stayed in my pantry with a shake once a day and it was ready to decant and gift. Very yummy, very easy, very pretty.


Clear seasonal color to sip!


I really like to “bottle” as  you might have realized from previous blogs. I also like to make libations to bottle. Here are some previous posts that will give you information on how to make Limoncello, Blood-OrangecelloBuddhacello (using the exotic citrus Buddha Hand), or my Pear Infused Vodka among others.


Cranberry-Pomegranate Cordial



  • 1 1/2 cups sugar mixed with 1 1/2 cups water
  • 12 ounces of fresh or frozen(thawed) whole cranberries
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Orange rind strips from one orange
  • 1 liter of good vodka


  1. To make the simple syrup bring the sugar & water to a low boil over medium high heat. Stir & turn to low to simmer for about 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove simple syrup from heat to cool completely.
  2. Put cranberries in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
  3. Mix together in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid the cooled simple syrup, 1 liter of vodka, chopped cranberries, pomegranate seeds & orange rind strips. Store in a cool, dark closet or cabinet, shaking daily, for about 10 days.
  4. Strain liquid mixture through a fine sieve & pour cordial into small bottles to give as gifts. Close bottles tightly with metal caps or corks.

To enjoy: Drink chilled or at room temp as an aperitif….or pour into a glass of ice and top with seltzer or Cava for a refreshing cocktail garnished with a slice or orange.

(This recipe is adapted from a Cranberry Cordial recipe by Melissa Clark published in the New York Times.)

Teresa Blackburn


Blood Orangecello and Bootlegging

My beautiful bottles of Blood Orangecello Liqueur.

 Cold Blood Orangecello, Straight Up….

…or over ice garnished with berries & lemongrass. Very nice.

As it is Father’s Day I am going to tell this little story that has to do with my Dad.

I come from a family of bootleggers on my Father’s side of the family.  I suppose it is okay to say this out loud after all these years. One of my many not so child appropriate memories is of going to visit some elderly Great Aunts & Uncles up in the country near Dover. I have no recollection of any of the Aunts, nor their cakes & pies or other homemade goodies made for our visit. Nor do I have any recollection of the Uncles themselves, just of going to see their “still” deep in the woods somewhere close to their houses. That I recollect like a film strip. It was a hot day, close & sticky, a day of  mystery & deep greens. I watched quietly as Daddy & the Great Uncles studied the moonshine still and its’ output with reverence. There was a bit of tasting, but not for me. I liked the way the still looked, very purposefully random with copper tubing and large metal drums with pipes & drains, a gizmo to fascinate a curious child.On the way home I was cautioned to never mention to anyone about the still. I didn’t until today.

It must be in my blood as I so enjoy making batches of limoncello, vanilla extract, special cocktails in batches for dinner parties, turning fruit into liquers…this is what led me to remember going to see the still when I was a child. Just let me make this clear, in case anyone from the ATF is reading, I do not have  a still at my house, but that does not stop me from my work. I use large mason jars, high proof vodka, sugar & fruit. This is how I made this beautiful batch of “Blood Orangecello”.

It takes a few weeks or months to complete a batch, but there is little work involved, just a lot of waiting. The wait is worth it every time.  I start in deep Winter when citrus is abundant & cheap and by late Spring, early Summer my batch is ready to decant. Every now and then you need to swish it around in the jar and maybe take just a little taste to see how it coming along.

Here is what you will need:

6-8 ripe Blood Oranges

2 cups raw sugar

1 liter 100 proof vodka

Here is how you do it:

1. Wash & dry oranges. Carefully peel each orange taking care to not to remove any pith as you work.

2. Cut peeled oranges in half & juice each one.

3. In a large stockpot make a simple syrup using the 2 cups sugar & 1 cup water.Bring to a low boil, stirring until sugar is melted. Remove from heat.

4. Add the blood orange juice & the peels to the stockpot and stir to combine.

5. Pour the liter of vodka into the pot and stir to mix.

6. Ladle mixture with blood orange peels into a large glass mason jar. Cover with a tight -fitting lid. Place jar in a cool, dark place such as a closet floor for 6 weeks to 3 months.  Every now and then swish the mixture around in the jar……and wait. (The first 6 steps were done in March.)

March, April, May….June…..

Time to decant. A couple of years ago I purchased an inexpensive bottle capper from All Seasons Garden Shop (they also sell everything to make beer and wine at home) on 8th Avenue South here in Nashville. I also get my little bottles by the case from them.

7. First remove the peels from the jar & toss out, then strain the blood orangecello through a fine sieve to remove most of the debris in the mixture. You will notice the liqueur has turned a deep, deep red color. That is fine & beautiful.

8.Carefully decant into clean bottles & cap (or you can use corks if you do not have a capper). That is all there is to it.

Blood Orangecello is delicious icy cold. I keep a few bottles in the freezer always ready to serve straight up, or over ice topped with fizzy water as well as drizzled over homemade vanilla ice cream or pound cake.

I am sure the Great Uncles and my Dad would look on this as child’s play. They would no doubt be right.