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
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.)