cocktail2.jpgThere are many things that get us in the holiday spirit. But none of them work as nicely as stiff cocktail. Being that Thanksgiving is the official kick-start to festive season, it seems only right to welcome it with a beverage that will put some color in our cheeks and some jolly in our step. So while we have the Pinot Noir all ready to go with our turkey, here are some cranberry cocktails to hold us over while we work on that seven-layer dip.

Cranberry Martinis

1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) vodka
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) dry vermouth
1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) cranberry juice
8 cranberries, frozen
4 lemon zest twists

Wet 4 martini glasses and place them in the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes. Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice. Add the vodka, vermouth and cranberry juice. Cover with the lid and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Strain into the chilled glasses. Garnish each glass with 2 cranberries and a lemon twist.

Cranberry Cocktail Punch
Two 32 oz. bottles of cranberry juice cocktail
2 cups of orange juice
1 cup of pineapple juice
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of lemon juice
One 28 ounce bottle of ginger ale
1 tray of ice cubes
Lemon Slices for garnish

In a large punch bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients. Garnish with lemon slices. Serves 30 (or 15 very thirsty people).

Turkey Kiss
½ cup spiced rum
3/4 cup cranberry juice cocktail
¼ cup triple sec
Maraschino cherries

Shake rum, cranberry juice and triple sec with crushed ice, strain into martini glasses, top with cherries.

There is no fighting the holidays from here on out. Our reality will be wrapping paper cuts, centerpiece arrangements and elastic-waist pants. Might as well embrace it and enjoy it, one sip at a time.