tart cherry old-fashioned cocktail

Pitcher of tart cherry cocktail

I made this wintry cocktail for my friend Shannon’s wedding last month, and I think it’s the perfect drink to clink on New Year’s Eve, too. (Plus this photo shoot was a convenient excuse for breaking in my new silver-foiled glassware, heh heh!) Pure tart cherry juice has an earthy, almost herbal flavor that I like to balance with spicy ginger and sweet navel orange (avoid cherry juice blends, which are dulled with apple and grape). The booze is added separately, so any kids and designated drivers at your party can enjoy a virgin punch. Assemble two days ahead to allow the orange peels to release their oils.

get the recipe after the jump

3 quarts pure tart cherry juice
1 recipe ginger concentrate (see below)
1/2 cup simple syrup (dissolve 1/4 cup turbinado sugar in 1/4 cup hot water)
navel orange sliced into quarter rounds
bourbon

Combine the first four ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate. To serve, add a shot of bourbon to a lowball glass and top off with the punch.

ginger concentrate

Grate 4 inches of ginger into a saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let steep for 2 hours. Strain.

Have a fun, safe, and lucky transition to 2015!