I grew up on a farm in Northern New Jersey. For those of you who wouldn’t put the word “farm” next to New Jersey, I hope you’ll reconsider your thoughts.
It’s November, and the cranberries have just been harvested in Southern New Jersey, in the mostly undeveloped region they call the Pine Barrens. Would you believe New Jersey has one of the least known but most productive cranberry crops in the country? We are only second to Wisconsin and Massachusetts!
A favorite drink of mine is the Hot Cranberry, Blueberry & Gin Thoreau. It’s a fun cocktail you can make in the time it takes to boil water and warm some cranberry sauce, along with cranberry juice and muddled Maine wild blueberries. Add some gin, lime juice and dark maple syrup — then you have a vacation to the mysterious Pine Barrens in your mug. When the gin combines with hot cranberry juice and crushed blueberries, the result is deeply warming.
Hot Cranberry, Blueberry & Gin Thoreau
I prefer the tiny, intensely flavored Maine wild blueberries for this cocktail; they come either frozen or canned during the off-season. I suggest serving the drink in a handmade mug, as it’s meant to be served hot and it makes sense to use a mug that has a history. You’ll always remember the first time you enjoyed it and every time thereafter.
1/4 cup each crushed cranberries and blueberries
1/3 cup cranberry sauce
4 shots gin
1/3 cup water
1 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Grade B dark amber maple syrup, to taste
Several orange slices
2 fresh lemon thyme sprigs
Muddle the crushed cranberries with the blueberries to make a slurry, then add the cranberry sauce to the mix. Add the gin and let sit for a few minutes to combine the flavors.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the cranberry and lime juices.
Add the heated cranberry juice mixture to the muddled cranberry mixture and stir together. Pour into 2 preheated mugs.
Sweeten with maple syrup to your taste, and garnish with orange slices and a sprig of lemon thyme. Makes 2 cocktails.
About the author: Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey. Warren was an Iron Mixology Judge at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival 2012. He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2011. Warren has published over three hundred articles in fewer than three years since his reinvention from executive assistant in private banking to author. Warren writes with a unique free-form style. He is a writer/mixologist on everything from cocktail flavoring and Biodynamic/organic wines to restaurant reviews. He writes for Edible Jersey, Voda Magazine, Foodista, Tasting Panel, Beverage News and Total Food Service Magazine. Warren is the “On Whiskey” columnist for OKRA Magazine in New Orleans part of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. He was born and raised in Morristown, NJ on a Biodynamic farm.