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The Cranberry Bog

December 30, 2011


Last week, my father invited L. and I to his fiancée’s house for Christmas Eve dinner, and asked if I could bring dessert. Of course I could, because, well, have you met me? I lovingly prepared my latest obsession, the caramel pot de crème, and packed four of them two hours south to dinner. As we arrived, we noticed another car pulling up, and several others that were already parked. It turns out that my father had forgotten to mention that other people had been invited to dinner, bringing our diner total from four to eight. As L. and I frantically split each pot into two and heaped on extra whipped cream to disguise the pitiful amount of custard in each dish, I longingly thought back to the four extra pots in the fridge at home, where I’d left them despite an urge I’d had to bring them along, just in case. I kicked myself, and vowed to never ignore my always-be-prepared instinct again.

Luckily, I’d also brought along some cranberry shrub  and bourbon.



The concept of a drinking vinegar made people a little wary, but the word “shrub” is amusing, and within two hours, everything, save two shots of the bourbon, was gone. By the time we got around to dessert, everyone was in too good of a place to even notice the tiny servings. Saved, once again, by whiskey.


The Cranberry Bog

Makes one drink

A shrub is, essentially, a drinking vinegar. If you’ve never had either, it’s a vinegar-based fruit syrup and please, please don’t make a face until you’ve tried it. Drinking vinegars and shrubs have been popular for centuries in many countries, and they lend a distinct tangy, fruity element to drinks. Bring a jar to a New Year’s party, and you’re basically guaranteed to be explaining it all evening (in the best, most ice-breaking way possible).
Also, the whole cranberries aren’t necessary, but having them muddled in the drink lends to the “boggy” look.


Serve in a cocktail or bucket glass (or a re-purposed jam jar, if you’re classy, like me).


5 pickled cranberries
1 ½ shots bourbon or whiskey
1 shot cranberry shrub
splash of lime juice
4 shots sparkling water


–       Muddle the cranberries in the glass. Add ice to fill the glass.
–       Add bourbon, shrub, and lime juice. Mix very thoroughly.
–       Top the glass off with the sparkling water.
–       Serve!


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