Cocktails for Autumn Entertaining

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Courtesy of MCC

Besides the ubiquitous “pumpkin spice,” nothing says “autumn” more than tart cranberries. Cranberries are a major component of Thanksgiving feasts, turning up alongside and atop turkey as well as in quick breads and desserts. 

Cranberries are loaded with health benefits, which include reducing the risk for ulcers and preventing gum disease. Also, just eight ounces of cranberry juice cocktail contains 137 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C.

Cranberries can even be used to craft great cocktails. Move over mulled ciders, this crisp “Cranberry Margarita” from The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association makes a great autumn-inspired beverage.

Cranberry Margarita
Serves 1
1 1⁄2 shots of tequila
1 shot of cranberry juice cocktail
1⁄4 cup of whole berry cranberry sauce
1⁄2 shot of triple sec
10 ice cubes
Sweetened dried cranberries, for garnish
Lime, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a blender. Blend on high until smooth and frosty. Serve garnished with dried cranberries and a lime wheel.

Wassail is a hot, mulled cider that was traditionally consumed while wassailing, a ritual of Medieval English Christmas and Twelfth Night celebrations. Wassail can be made in many different ways, depending on one’s tastes. But cider is an integral ingredient in most wassail recipes. Home cocktail creators can use this basic recipe and modify as they see fit.

Wassail
Serves 8 to 10
1⁄2 gallon apple cider
2 cups orange juice or pineapple juice
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
8 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1 cup orange juice
Whiskey, if desired

Add all ingredients to a large pot over medium heat. Allow to boil. Reduce and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Strain out the cloves and cinnamon sticks. For an alcoholic drink, add whiskey to desired taste. 

Wassail is traditionally served out of a communal punch bowl, but can also be presented in individual mugs garnished with cinnamon sticks. 

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