This cranberry mocktail is made with the most delicious cranberry ginger and mint shrub. Bursting with flavor and just as fancy as you’d get at a craft cocktail bar.
For those of you that cannot tolerate any alcohol, you’re not alone. This is why bartender Karen Tartt created these recipes for craft mocktails. There’s nothing worse than being stuck at a party with just ice water. And while I love mixing juices with sparkling water, it’s nice to take things a little bit further and get fancy with the holiday mocktails.
This cranberry mocktail is made with a favorite shrub that combines spicy ginger with mint for a wonderful combination. Mixed with sparkling water and garnished with sugared cranberries, it’s the perfect holiday drink.
A Bartenders Advice
Who is Karen Tartt? Well she’s worked in the bar industry for years and even competes in cocktail competitions. Did I mention she also has vestibular migraine? I personally cannot imagine working in an industry that requires you to stand and take orders with precision while managing brain fog and dizziness, but this girl is a rock star and is super talented.
Here’s a little bit more about her story, from Karen herself:
After being diagnosed with VM in early 2019 after a couple of years searching for answers, I was bound and determined to not let this limit or compromise my professional goals as a career bartender. I still compete in cocktail competitions- speed and recipe based- I’m just a lot more methodical about it now. While I have struggled to find employers who would accommodate me in the past, I’m very happy to use my platform to positively educate folks about living with a chronic illness. In choosing to live out loud with this, I’ve been approached by colleagues with chronic illnesses who have offered support and advice. In the service industry, community is everything. I would not be able to do the work that I love without the support of my peers and regular guests.
I work a set schedule which helps me plan out my week. I credit this to having amazing coworkers who remind me to eat/drink water, offer encouragement when I’m feeling anxious and offer to pick up shifts when I’m not well. To manage my triggers better, I create all my own playlists and only work at bars with no strobe lighting and dimmers on their overhead lighting so I can set a good environment for the guests and myself.
Making migraine safe cocktails feels like a very natural progression in how in growing and challenging myself to be a better bartender. I’m very excited in the potential of exploring new mocktails/cocktails, sensory friendly aesthetics in bars and a more thorough knowledge of VM specific sensitivities in the cocktail community. – Karen Tartt
I hope you enjoy the following holiday mocktail recipes from Karen for Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years or any fun celebration! Huge thank you to her for sharing her story with us.
Cranberry Ginger Mocktail
A mocktail or a cocktail! Inspired by the VeDA mascot, Fiona the Flamingo. Shrubs are an interesting way to add acid to cocktails without the addition of citrus juice.
Historically, they came about as a way to preserve fruits and vegetables before refrigeration was commonplace. I’ll often describe them to my guests as similar to the base for a soda. Without getting too detailed, this was the safest production method I could come up with to achieve the flavor I was after. It combines cranberries with sparkling water for a great sweet, tart, and bubbly flavor.
Other Mocktail Recipes
A mocktail or a cocktail! Inspired by the VeDA mascot, Fiona the Flamingo. Shrubs are an interesting way to add acid to cocktails without the addition of citrus juice. Historically, they came about as a way to preserve fruits and vegetables before refrigeration was commonplace. I'll often describe them to my guests as similar to the base for a soda. Without getting too detailed, this was the safest production method I could come up with to achieve the flavor I was after. - KT
- 1 oz Cranberry Ginger Mint Shrub *recipe to follow
- 1 oz OPTIONAL spirit of choice - gin, vodka, or blanco tequila
- Sparkling water to top off glass
- 2 candied cranberries
- mint sprig for garnish
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 cup cranberry juice *
- 1 cup white sugar, plus a bit more to roll cranberries in
- 3 star anise
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 13-14 fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
Combine cranberries, cranberry juice, sugar and star anise in saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until most sugar is dissolved. (Use a slotted spoon to remove half the cranberries, transferring them to be completely coated in sugar. Shake the excess sugar off and leave the candied cranberries to dry on wax paper.) Bring rest of ingredients to a boil until you hear the first gentle pops of the cranberries bursting.
Turn off the heat, stir and let cool a bit. Transfer the pot's contents to a blender. Add ginger, mint and white vinegar. Blend until cranberries are mostly broken up. Strain with a wire mesh colander or several layers of cheesecloth.
Measure 1 oz. of the shrub and spirit, if imbibing, into a Collins glass. Add ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with 2 candied cranberries on a cocktail pick and a mint sprig top. (This is meant to imitate Christmas holly.)
- I like using cranberry juice from RW Knudsen, but any good, clean brand will do.
- The mixture for cranberry ginger shrub will make more than one mocktail/cocktail, however the recipe above is for 1 serving.