I love getting together for dinner with my extended family! We always have the best time catching up over some of the yummiest culinary creations. At our most recent family shin-dig, I was in charge of the cocktail hour. Here is the menu served:
- Simply Cranberry Cocktail Sangria
- Simply Cranberry Cocktail Mojitos (virgin and non)
- Cranberry Topped Brie with French Baguette Rounds
- Bacon-wrapped Apricots with Cranberry Dipping Sauce
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Feta, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
I’m a fan of Simply Orange® and Simply Lemonade® so was excited to try their latest addition to the Simply beverage family when they asked me to. Like their orange juice,Simply CranberryCocktail is gently pasteurized with no added preservatives and is always kept chilled from the time it’s blended to the refrigerated section of a store near you. The cocktail is made with 27% not-from-concentrate cranberry juice and has a good balance of sweetness and tartness. Best of all it tastes fantastic in many-a-mixed drink :).
Here is the recipe for my Cranberry Sangria.
- 1 bottle of red wine such as Zinfandel
- 5 cups of Simply Cranberry Cocktail
- 1 cup of orange juice
- 1 cup of orange liqueur
- 1/2 of an orange sliced
- 1 lime halved and sliced
- 1 green apple, cored, and sliced
- 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries
Combine all the ingredients and let chill for at least five hours. Serve over ice and enjoy!
In addition to Cranberry Sangria, I made virgin and non-virgin Cranberry Mojitos for everyone. We had trouble deciding which drink we liked better. Both were refreshing and delicious!
- 3 wedges of lime
- 5 fresh mint leaves, washed
- ľ oz simple syrup (to make simple syrup take equal parts sugar and water and boil for a minute on the stove; cool and chill in refrigerator beforehand)
- cubed ice
- 1 oz Simply Cranberry Cocktail
- 2˝ oz vodka
- 1 oz soda water (or lemon/lime soda for a sweeter taste)
- Combine the lime wedges, mint leaves and simple syrup in a bowl and crush with a mortar and pestle (or back of a fork).
- Transfer ingredients to a shaker and fill the shaker with ice.
- Add the vodka and Simply CranberryCocktail.
- Shake vigorously.
- Pour all of the ingredients into a wine glass without straining.
- Top with soda water and garnish with mint.
For our hors d’oeuvres, I first served some Cranberry Topped Brie with French Baguette Rounds. To make, simply heat 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and 1/2 cup of Simply CranberryCocktail in a pan over medium heat stirring frequently until mixture is syrupy. Pour cranberry mixture over your brie and serve with crackers or french bread.
And finally, I served the easiest yet most amazing appetizer that is a must try: Bacon-wrapped Apricots with Cranberry Dipping Sauce (recipe modified from Yummly.com).
- 2 t cornstarch (mixed with) 2 t water
- 3/4 t mustard (grain)
- 1 1/2 t brown sugar (packed)
- 1/2 t ground nutmeg
- 12 sliced bacon (sliced in half)
- 24 dried apricots
- 1 1/2 cups Simply CranberryCocktail
- Boil Simply CranberryCocktail in medium saucepan over high heat until reduced to 1 cup. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with water to make a paste and add it to the pan. Next whisk in the brown sugar, mustard and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil 1 minute until thickened. Cool to room temperature. Reserve 1/2 cup of the glaze for later dipping.
- Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; set wire rack over foil and spray with cooking spray. Wrap bacon halves around apricots and place on rack. Brush with cranberry glaze.
- Broil 3 to 7 minutes, or until bacon is browned. Place toothpicks in apricots and serve warm with the reserved Simply CranberryCocktail dipping sauce.
These recipes were all incredibly easy to make and the continuity of our Simply CranberryCocktail theme was so much fun! I hope you’re inspired to throw your own “cranberry party”!
“Simply Cranberry™” is a trademark of Simply Orange Juice Company.