So much of the holidays are heavy – creamy pies and potatoes and thick gravies and rich eggnogs and robust spiced ciders. But sometimes during the days and weeks full of heavy foods and even heavier drinks, you just want something light. You still want something alcoholic (that’s a given), but you also want something refreshing that will lift you up rather than weigh you down in a season full of heavy.
This cranberry spritzer features a lightly spiced syrup, with subtle notes of allspice and star anise, in a fresh and bubbly beverage. The syrup can be made days ahead of time, making it a breeze to whip up a pitcher if, or when, unexpected company arrives.
Make the extra effort to find pure, unsweetened cranberry juice for this recipe, which is a completely different beast than the cranberry juice cocktail you’re used to (take a sip and you’ll quickly see why). It’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way. One bottle will make countless pitchers of these spritzers, or you can use it in place of water in your homemade cranberry sauce, add a little punch to your morning smoothie or simmer it with equal parts sugar and freeze for a tangy and refreshing holiday sorbet.
Spiced Cranberry Spritzers
- In a small saucepan, combine cranberry juice, sugar, star anise and allspice. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof container; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days, until ready to use.
- Pour chilled cranberry syrup into a large pitcher. Carefully pour in Prosecco down the side of the pitcher (which will preserve the bubbles), and gently stir until combined.
- Fill glasses with ice. Pour Prosecco mixture over ice, and top with club soda to taste. Garnish with fresh or frozen cranberries, if desired.