Something to make you swoon…

by carlyjunehaase


As many of you know Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This is my third Thanksgiving abroad, where I painstakingly track down elusive North American ingredients, and try and recreate my favorite recipes for all of my new friends. We ordered our turkey at the butcher’s nearly a month ago and I’m already writing up grocery lists for everything we need for the grand spectacle next week. This year I’m overjoyed that two dear American friends are making their way to Hanover from Dublin for the occasion. So we will have a very American feast even though we are all so far from home.

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving. I don’t care if half of the people don’t like turkey- I want turkey!  At home we always have two or three types of potatoes (a must) a few pies (pumpkin, pecan and apricot) green beans, stuffing, gravy and my absolute favorite: cranberry sauce.

There’s nothing better to slather your turkey with and I feel like a little cranberry flavor goes well with just about everything on the table. It’s so easy to make that there is simply NO reason to buy the stuff in the can. I’ve always used my grandma’s recipe when making fresh cranberry sauce. A little sugar, water, orange juice and orange zest and you’re good. Sometimes I stir in some chopped pecans for a little extra crunch but usually I like it plain. I always make extra too because it’s perfect smeared on bread the next day, with or without turkey.

Last year I couldn’t find fresh cranberries anywhere. I went through a mild state of trauma thinking, “How can we have Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce?” Luckily with a little scrounging around I was able to find a tiny jar of ridiculously expensive cranberry “preserves” in a specialty food store but with ten people over for dinner it was gone in a snap and I didn’t even get a chance to try it.

So recently when Tim and I were on our weekly grocery haul  and I spotted a bag of fresh cranberries I practically squealed with delight before grabbing a bag and running to the check out. Suspicious that may have been the only cranberry sighting of the year (I haven’t seen them since!) I decided to cook the sauce last week and pop it in the freezer until Thanksgiving.


In went the cranberries, water and sugar and with the heat on medium-high I let it bubble away while I got to work in the office. As I was walking back to my desk I passed our (modest) collection of spirits and it hit me, “Whiskey cranberry sauce!”

I feel like these days people are throwing together boozy cranberry sauce left and right. Bourbon, port, you name it, if you can take it as a shot you can have it with your cranberry. I’m not much of a whiskey drinker but occasionally I like to sit back with a little glass and sip it slowly; it’s sure to warm you up inside and out.

Even if you’re not a fan of the taste of whiskey I feel like most people can agree the smell is lovely. Our whiskey isn’t fancy by any means but it’s light and floral with deep honeyed tones. During the cooking process the alcohol evaporates and you’re left with a fragrant sauce that’s just a little more interesting and absolutely delicious. Something different to grace your Thanksgiving table this year and frankly something I could be perfectly happy eating with a spoon straight from the fridge.


Whiskey Cranberry Sauce


1 pound of fresh cranberries, washed

1/2 cup of sugar (I like a tart cranberry sauce so add more to suit your palate)

1 dram of whiskey

enough water to cover the cranberries

In a medium sized saucepan bring the cranberries, sugar and water to a gentle boil. Add the whiskey and stir.

Boil uncovered for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then lower the heat and simmer until the liquid has evaporated and you’re left with a thick sauce. Taste and adjust sugar if needed. Refridgerate in an airtight container for up to two weeks, or freeze and save for the future.