Gathering with Friends: Meet Steve
Nothing tops off a gathering with friends like a special cocktail, and our beverage director, Steve Wildy, came up with a seasonal take on the traditional mule cocktail for the occasion, infused with spicy ginger, tart cranberry, and just the right amount of sweetness. Read on for the recipe and for Steve’s tips on how to make cocktails for a crowd.
Cranberry Mule Cocktail
1.5oz cranberry ginger puree (see below)
2oz club soda
Shake vodka and cranberry puree together over ice and lightly strain over fresh ice in a highball or wine glass. Top with 2oz soda water and stir gently. Garnish with your choice citrus slice or herb sprig.
Cranberry Puree (yields approx 3 cups or 16 individual portions)
1 bag of cranberries
1 cup white sugar
1 medium (approx. 4”) whole piece ginger root, peeled and chopped
6oz fresh lime juice (approx. 4 limes)
Simmer cranberries with peel and the juice from one large orange until the berries pop. Weigh the mixture and add half that weight in sugar while it is still warm and allow to dissolve while stirring. Cool and add to a blender with fresh lime juice and chopped ginger (extract fresh ginger juice for a more potent mix) and blend until smooth. Strain through a medium mesh sieve to catch orange peel and ginger.
Or if you’re short on time….
Take 1oz Tait Farms cranberry orange conserve and shake hard over ice with 1.5oz vodka. Strain over fresh ice in a highball and top with Belvoir Farms Ginger Presse and stir gently.
terrain: Can you give us some guidelines for the types drinks that work well for a group?
Steve: Unless posting up behind a bar for guests is your thing, the last thing you want to do when hosting a group is tie yourself down with having to shake and strain a wide range of complex, time-consuming cocktails. I’ll customarily offer a single batched cocktail or a build-your-own option alongside wine and beer, so that my wife and I can enjoy the company with minimal bartending commitments. Punches or lemonades are ideal, and if you’re making everything ahead of time you can go for some complexity – we typically do a hot buttered cider for holiday gatherings that takes some time to prep but once it’s done it can rest in a crockpot for easy self-service. We’ve also had success with customizable mimosa bars and the like. More often we’ll do something like the cranberry mule and plan on refreshing a new batch periodically.
terrain: Do you have any guidelines for planning batch cocktails for big groups?
Steve: This depends on you and your guests, but I’d assume two+ drinks per guest for an evening affair, and maybe 1.5 for a brunch/afternoon gathering, and I usually add one more per person to be safe, especially if it’s something we don’t mind having on hand after the party. If you’re pouring something that’s a conversation starter, it’s safe to assume almost everyone will try one, so adjust your pars up accordingly.