A pink drink garnished with rosemary and lemon on a white table

Leftover Cranberry Sauce, Meet Cocktail

There are always elements of Thanksgiving dinner that tend to linger in the fridge for days after the meal has ended. For many people, one of the prime offenders is the cranberry sauce.

Once the turkey is all gone, there are myriad ways to repurpose leftover cranberry sauce. Do you eat it as a sweet spread or try to make another savory main dish to go along with it? 

Thanks to ICE LA's Instructor of Restaurant and Culinary Management Garrett Mikell, your struggle is over — just turn it into a tasty beverage. Meet the Turkey's Last Call, a zingy cocktail using leftover cranberry sauce.

"After Thanksgiving, I know in my home we have leftover cranberry sauce, honey, herbs, lemon and citrus," Garrett says. "So I made something using all of those things."

The cocktail is fairly simple. The basic idea is to mix some cranberry sauce with honey and hot water to create a cranberry-honey syrup, which gets combined with gin (or vodka or tequila) and lemon juice. The mixture is then shaken and served with ice and garnished with herbs and lemon. If you've got leftover seltzer or sparkling cider, you can also add a splash on top of the finished drink for a zingy sip.

The simplicity was very intentional.

"This is a take on a Bee's Knees, which is classically gin, lemon and honey and what we've done is we've taken cranberry sauce, mixed it with honey and hot water and shaken it," Garrett says.

Related: Bar FAQs with ICE NY's Director of Spirits Education

One easy tip to elevate the drink is to roll your herb spring in your palms before using it as a garnish. According to Garrett, rolling the herbs helps express their oils to make them more aromatic.

"You're going to smell that when you lift the drink up to your face, which is the most important part," Garrett says. "Just like food, our noses usually come into play before we taste the drink."

Gobble, gobble. Here's how to make the drink at home.

Recipe

Turkey's Last Call (Leftover Cranberry Sauce Cocktail)

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin (or vodka or tequila)
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounces cranberry honey
  • *Optional* Splash of sparkling cider
  • Lemon wheels for garnish
  • Sprig of a fresh herb for garnish (thyme, rosemary or basil all work well)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except herbs in a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass (over a large ice cube if you have one).
  4. Add optional splash of sparkling cider on top.
  5. Garnish with a fresh herb sprig and a lemon wheel.

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