Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Oh hey there delicious cocktail. While I call this a spiced cranberry bourbon cocktail it can also be called Christmas in a glass. Last year, I had a delicious spiced cranberry cocktail at Mozza and I had to figure out how to recreate it. So I played around with it and this is what I came up with. It is delicious and flavorful and, surprisingly, more steps than I usually do for a recipe. But it must be done to get that full flavor. I love the vibrant color and the yummy, yummy flavor.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.You simply start with store-bought cranberry juice and then jazz it up by infusing it with warm holiday spices.

Smash cinnamon sticks before simmering them in cranberry juice. One thing I like to do when infusing things with cinnamon is to give the sticks a little whack with the back of the knife to open them up. Then I just scoop up the pieces and dust and put them wherever they need to know. I feel like it helps to open up the flavors a little bit more. And its fun to smash them. Lay the cinnamon sticks as flat as you can, lay your knife flat on top and then give it a whack with the heel of your hand. Take care not to be near the blade. Losing your hand around the holidays would not be cool.

Warm spices add flavor to store-bought cranberry juice. Add your flavor agents to your sauce pot and then add in your bottle of cranberry juice. Let the mixture simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. It will reduce down a bit but does not become syrupy. What I love about this is that once this jazzed up cranberry juice is made, you can easily put together cocktails for the next few weeks. Or have a big batch ready to make them for a party.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Once the cranberry juice mixture has simmered and cooled, strain it in to decorative bottles or put it back in to the cleaned, original cranberry juice bottle. Then you just need to grab a few more ingredients to put the drink together. Bourbon. Ginger beer and fresh nutmeg. Yum.

The spiced cranberry juice would make a great cocktail kit gift idea. These bottles of spiced cranberry juice would be a great gift idea. Use a cute bottle like the one above, and then provide the bottle of cranberry juice along with the recipe on a cute card and even a bottle of bourbon and some ginger beer. You could totally wrap that up all cute in a basket with holiday cheer.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Then it’s time to put this thing together. Add the cranberry and bourbon in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake it up.

Top the spiced cranberry and bourbon with ginger beer. Yum!Strain into a glass over ice. Top with ginger beer and give it a little stir.

Fresh nutmeg is where it's at.Grate some fresh nutmeg right on top. Your nose will thank you.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Holiday in a glass. Boom.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.This is the perfect holiday entertaining beverage. Or for a cozy night by a fire.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Holiday cocktails make me happy.

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe.Do you like cranberry cocktails? What is your go-to holiday drink?

Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail
 
This cocktail tastes like Christmas.
Recipe type: Cocktail
Ingredients
  • Spiced Cranberry Juice
  • 1 bottle 64 oz. Cranberry Juice (I like Langers best)
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut in to large chunks
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, cracked
  • ¾ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • For the Cocktail:
  • 3 oz spiced cranberry juice (recipe above)
  • 1.5 oz Bourbon
  • 3 oz. Ginger Beer
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, add cranberry juice, ginger, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg.
  2. Simmer on medium heat for about 45 minutes.
  3. The juice will reduce a little bit but not become syrupy.
  4. Once cooled, strain with cheesecloth or a coffee filter in to a container.
  5. For cocktail:
  6. Add spiced cranberry juice and Bourbon to a cocktail shaker.
  7. Add ice and shake well.
  8. Strain in to a glass with ice.
  9. Top with 3 oz. of ginger beer and give a quick stir.
  10. Grate fresh nutmeg on top of each cocktail.
  11. Recipe above makes approximately 2 cocktails depending on your size of glass.

 

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Candy Bar Trains for Christmas

Make candy trains for Christmas! I’m SO excited to share this post with you guys! Did I say that yesterday too? Well, this year I am sharing a bunch of really fun holiday things that mean a lot to me. You know, like wine cake and such. Because cake with wine is VERY exciting. And today I’m sharing these awesome candy bar trains! This is something me mom made when we were growing up. And while I don’t remember making my own, I think these are the PERFECT alternative to gingerbread houses. Gingerbread houses can be so hard!!! Unless you glue gun the walls together, they often collapse and seem a bit fragile.  But these trains are a little bit easier and such a fun idea for families to do together at the holidays.

Make candy trains for Christmas! When I told my mom that I wanted to do a post on her trains, she searched her archives and came up with these written instructions for how she made them including a supply list. And then she left on a cruise. So I poured over her instructions and started gathering materials. And then got busy and put off making the actual train. And weeks later, my mom was back in town and I was finally ready to take photos of the candy bar train making process. So I invited her over to help me put it all together! I love having my mom help with posts! We pretty much followed her instructions this first go round but I can’t wait to make more and really get creative!

Make candy trains for Christmas! We got everything together and did a little mock-up before starting glueing things together with the royal icing. In doing so, we learned that candy has changed a bit since she first made these. Some things are larger and some things are smaller. Feel free to use whatever candies you think are best and please you, aesthetically. Also, she used to make a train track out of thin black licorice laces. I couldn’t find those anywhere! I also had a hard time finding rolls of Lifesavers (which we didn’t end up using anyway) and the larger Tootsie Rolls which make perfect logs. I feel like you can’t go wrong by buying the candy that looks fun to you and then see what you come up with. And if you have kids, the extra candy certainly isn’t going to go to waste…

Make candy trains for Christmas! We made (I say we, but really my mom made it) royal icing which would act as the glue to hold the train together. We probably could have used a little less of the icing but we wanted to make sure that things stuck really well.

Make candy trains for Christmas! My mom’s diagrams were very detailed about the front train car. But the rest of the cars can be whatever you want them to be. Have fun with it!  This is the back of the first car by the way.

Vintage Christmas miniaturesA few years ago my mom gave me her tin of vintage miniatures that she used for her trains and a few other food crafts she made.  So many memories in that tin! It was awesome to go through and remember all the old plastic figures and show them to my kids.

Make candy trains for Christmas! We let my son decide where Santa should sit. I think he made the right decision.

Make candy trains for Christmas!Our second train car holds a bunch of presents and toys and the final car is the log car. It dawned on me that it would have probably looked a little bit more like logs if we stacked another row in the center and on top of the bottom row. But it’s been probably 30 years since we’ve seen one of these trains so…we forgot. I just love how it came out!

Make candy trains for Christmas! How fun is this tree?! I added a little more royal icing to look like snow.

Make candy trains for Christmas! And of course we added edible glitter to have even more of a snow-like look although it is pretty hard to see. Like gingerbread houses, these are edible, but since all of the candy has been manhandled I wouldn’t recommend eating them. My kids asked so incessantly that I finally said they could eat their cars. Turns out all the different flavors of candy don’t taste that great together. So they stopped eating them instead of picking the candy off individually…dummies. (Yes I just called my kids dummies. But as a joke. That is kind of ironic. Especially since my 3rd grader had to go ask his teacher how to do one of his homework math problems since I couldn’t figure it out…)

Make candy trains for Christmas! I think this will be a tradition that we do with our kids every year. And I can’t wait to share it with the cousins and friends!

Make candy trains for Christmas!I put my train on a cake board that I got from the local craft store. It came in a pack of 5 so you could easily have each kid make their own mutli-car train.

Make candy trains for Christmas!When my youngest son got home from school he skipped lunch (truth be told he had candy for lunch) to make his train. He was so excited! He’s almost 6 and this was really easy for him. Where we had used a piping bag and decorating tip, we gave him a little paint brush to use with the royal icing and it worked really well. In hindsight, we probably would have had a cleaner look if we had used the paintbrush.

Make candy trains for Christmas!This would be a super fun idea for a family holiday party. I had only bought 6 of the large candy bars but the candy used to decorate was very plentiful. I could have made a ton of train cars by just picking up a few more Snickers bars, which is what we’ve always used. I guess you could use a different kind. But you would ruin Christmas…so…

Make candy trains for Christmas!We ended up having a last-minute playdate after school that day so my older son and his friend decided to make them too. Turns out, with a little imagination, your train car can be a sports car.  And a new tradition may be born.

Here is a very general list of what you might need to make a candy bar train with 3 cars like I’ve made above:

Large Snickers bars for the train cars (so 3 Snickers bars for the full train I made)

Fun Size Snickers bar for the front car

14 Peppermint candies for the wheels (note: the first car has 2 extra wheels – and they probably aren’t called wheels are they…)

1 gummy fruit slice for the corn catcher at the front of the train

4 Werther’s or several Lifesavers for the front of the train car

1 JUJU Bee for the light on the very front of the train

1 Gum Drop for the front train car

1 Lifesaver and 1 Rolo for the smoke stack on the first train car

Thin licorice laces to connect the train cars. Can also be used for the train tracks if you decide to add them to your cake board

14 M&M’s for decoration on the wheels

Several Tootsie Rolls for the log car.  The full size work best but you can also stack the Midgees if you can’t find the regular ones.

White edible glitter for snow

Royal Icing and a pastry bag and tips. You can also use a smallish paintbrush instead or if you have a young child where a pastry bag might be too hard to manage.

Assorted Miniatures

Tweezers might also come in handy (if you want to be all type-a about it)

To make Royal Icing: 

3 level TBSP Meringue Powder

4 cups powdered sugar

6 TBSP water

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a mixer for 7 to 10 minutes.

If you make one share it with me on instagram!!!! Tag me at @cupcakescutlery and use the #cupcakesandcandytrains

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you for years. But posting near the holidays gets to be too much sometime. There are so many things to share and so many extracarricular activities with family and school that I usually run out of time. But this year I made a point to start early so I could share with you one of my newer traditions. Sherry Cake. Yes. Cake made with wine. Oh, and it is also a cake I eat for breakfast. I was introduced to this cake years ago and fell in love with it. It just tastes like Christmas. So I decided that I would make it for Christmas morning breakfast. I think I may be the only person to eat it. But I love it and will continue to have it on the roster.

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. This sherry cake recipe couldn’t be easier. It uses boxed cake mix as the base, vanilla pudding mix, oil and eggs. Basic, right? Then you add fresh nutmeg and sherry wine. I don’t know anything about sherry wine. I bought this one at the grocery store, but the bottle I previously had I got at a wine shop and it had a hint of orange to it that I really enjoyed. Sherry is a fortified wine (alcohol added) and it is a really nice, warm flavor. There are tons of different varieties and I can’t see how you could go wrong with any of them. It adds a depth of flavor to the cake that is really lovely. And between the wine and the pudding, the cake is nice and moist.

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. I bought this bundt pan specifically for this recipe. I can’t believe I didn’t have one before!

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. You mix all the ingredients together. Totes easy.

 

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. Put the batter in a greased and floured bundt pan. And bake for about 50 minutes.

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. The sherry cake, once inverted, is a dark, gingerbready color. The house smells of nutmeg and vanilla cake. And Christmas. Simply top it with powdered sugar and dig in.

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. This is a great cake to bring to a holiday party because it is totally unexpected. It is straight out of the 70’s and I love that about it too.

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe. One of my newer holiday traditions. Perfect for Christmas morning breakfast. Doesn’t the powdered sugar look like snow?! Have you ever had a wine cake before? Let me know if you try this!!!

Sherry Wine Cake Recipe
 
My favorite thing to eat on Christmas morning.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast/ Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 box Yellow cake mix
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding (3 oz)
  • ¾ cup oil
  • ¾ cup Sherry (I think you are supposed to use Cream Sherry)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • 4 eggs
Instructions
  1. Mix cake mix and pudding.
  2. Add oil and Sherry.
  3. Beat at high speed.
  4. Add in one egg at a time, beat in between.
  5. Beat for about 5 more minutes after the last egg.
  6. Add nutmeg.
  7. Oil and flour a Bundt pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes and test.
  9. Watch carefully - do not over bake.
  10. Turn out of Bundt pan immediately.
  11. Let cool completely.
  12. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  13. Then eat your face off.

 

More Holiday Gift Ideas

Cool gift idea! A speaker that is also a lightbulb and works with bluetooth to play music from your phone or iPad! I’ve already created this season’s Gift Guides, but I have come across some more great gift ideas that I wanted to share while you are all in the midst of your holiday shopping!

(I was sent a light to review) This AWOX light has my kids world turned upside down. This is a lightbulb and speaker all in one! It works with Bluetooth to play music from your phone or Ipad (with an easy to download free app). What is even better is that it comes with it’s own remote control and changes colors! This has been in my son’s room since we got it. And while I have had to confiscate the remote control during homework time, it’s a really fun gadget to have. We’ll move it to the front room when we have company, but it is the perfect speaker to have in a bedroom also. There are several versions to choose from but this is the one we have: AwoX StriimLIGHT.

Great games for kids. Good gift idea!!!(I was sent these games to review) My kids are 8 and almost 6 and we are finally finding our groove with games. They are asking to play board games and we can finally get through a whole game with no cheating and no tears if they lose. But they are also really in to puzzle type games that they can play themselves. I first came across Think Fun games when I was looking for the Robot Turtles game that I put on my first gift guides. They make awesome games for kids that are fun an educational. Gravity Maze is even up for a Toy of the Year award (you can vote!) My six year old, in particular, is going to love this Rush Hour Jr.
game. I know he will sit with it for hours.

Great book for kids. Good gift idea! (I was sent this book for review) This book is so great! It’s written by a well known blogger and it is all about teaching kids about serving others by doing one good deed at a time. I can’t think of a better time of year to talk to your kids about thinking about others. Jillee Bean and the One Good Thing is bright and cheery and illustrated beautifully. I’m not sure if your school has a program where your kid donates a book on their birthday to the library, but this would be a really great choice!

Here are some other great items I’ve found:

This awesome pave chevron cuff.

A cool weaving loom for your crafty gals.

Wooden name block puzzle for the kiddos.

Amy Poehler’s new book, Yes Please.

These peace and plaid sweatshirts from Hello Apparel are awesome.

This fun board game where you get to tell stories from growing up. The more family baggage the better!

And don’t forget to check out the gift guides I’ve already shared this holiday:

gift-guide-image

My holiday wish list – or gifts perfect for your girlfriends, mom, sister

Gifts for the Kids

Gifts for your Guys

Gifts for your Gals

Gifts for the Hostess

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

Holiday Entertaining with Beaujolais Nouveau

Fun holiday table. #spon #CelebrateBNThis post was sponsored on behalf of Georges Duboeuf and One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

Some years I feel like decorating with untraditional colors. But right now, I’m totally into the classic red and green. Although I am not planning on having any holiday parties this year, I’m sure something will pop up more last-minute. With just a little greenery and hints of gold, I’m going to be ready for any guests that turn up. This post was created to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau. Have you ever had it?

A fun holiday table and entertaining ideas. #spon #CelebrateBNAside from having good food for your holiday guests, it’s always good to have some delicious beverages as well. And I always love when there is something a little extra exciting that you can share with your guests that they may not have experienced before. If you don’t know, every year, under French law, at 12:01 on the third Thursday in November, Beaujolais Nouveau wine is released. The first time I heard about this was almost 15 years ago. I wasn’t even a wine drinker back then. But when I heard that you couldn’t get the wine until that third Thursday, which often coincides with Thanksgiving, I knew I had to track down a bottle. It seemed so extraordinary.  I called around to ask who would carry it and headed out, to pick up a bottle for our Thanksgiving meal. The fruity, easy-to-drink wine’s light fermentation means that both red and white wine lovers should enjoy it.  Which makes it just right for holiday celebrations. And you drink it slightly chilled (just 15 minutes in the fridge prior to drinking), which makes it a little more unusual for a red wine. It was exciting to get to try something that had just been released! Most of your guests will probably not know about this celebratory wine. So you can be the first to share it with them and be part of that memory.

Simple holiday flower arrangement. #spon #CelebrateBNGeorges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is all about experiencing life’s simple pleasures and nature’s seasonal gifts. I decided to pair festive, berry-like branches with calla lillies and pine branches to create easy flower arrangements. They were easy to put together but really helped the table to feel more holiday festive. Something I am trying to be better about is keeping fresh flowers around. By mixing flowers bought at the market and plants from around your yard, you can create really easy centerpieces for unexpected or last-minute guests.

Holiday tablesetting with green and red, plaid and gold. Keeping it classic. #spon #CelebrateBNMy place settings include just a colorful napkin and an extra piece of greenery to add a special touch. I added candles to the table to create a glow and the table came together really fast. There is no need to get stressed out during the holidays. Now is not the time to go all out and impress everyone with your mad hosting skills. To me, now is the time to really enjoy, and be present, with your friends and family. Who cares if your silverware (stainless steel) doesn’t match the gold hues of the other accents of your table (I was totally bothered at first, I’ll be honest)? Or that your table-cloth may have a few wrinkles. If your guests feel loved in your home, you’ve done your job.

Celebrating the holidays with Beaujolais Nouveau. #spon #CelebrateBNOf course having plenty of wine doesn’t hurt either. One of my favorite things to do when putting together a last-minute spread is to set out candy. For this table, I pulled out a great glass and brass display box and filled it with candies that played up the reds in the table. People love candy. And even if you don’t have time to pull together a fantastic appetizer spread, your guests will have something to munch on.

I'm feeling traditional this year. Green and red it is!!! #spon #CelebrateBNI recently reorganized my garage and now can find all my favorite serving pieces easily. I suggest you take a moment and pull your favorite pieces together so you can easily grab them when you need to.  I keep things super causal for my family and our nightly meals. But come Christmas morning, my table looks GOOD. A footed bowl can make even store-bought crackers instantly feel more special (special crackers, you say? Yes, crackers can feel special.)

Have you ever tried Beaujolais Nouveau? It's a fun holiday tradition. #spon #CelebrateBNGeorges Duboeuf is the #1 seller of Beaujolais Nouveau and since this year’s harvest has just been released, I think this is the perfect time to invite friends over to try this delicious wine. Don’t you?

*Thank your for supporting the brands that let me be creative, drink a little wine and celebrate with my friends.