A good simple syrup is the best way to sweeten any festive party and makes a great hostess gift for any get-together! This year, my go-to is this Cranberry Vanilla Spice simple syrup that not only makes a great gift, but it’s also just a great holiday party recipe!
Whether you’re hosting this year or want to bring something to a party, this beautiful, bright syrup is sure to be a hit.
This versatile syrup can be used in so many yummy ways: in cocktails (of course), on pancakes or waffles, on unsweetened yogurt, as a sweetener for tea, lemonade or smoothies, over ice cream or pound cake, and the list goes on!
Here’s a few cocktail ideas for the syrup:
- Just add a spoonful into a flute and top with champagne, prosecco, or cava
- Mix with ginger beer and vodka for a holiday mule
- Replace the traditional sugar in an old fashioned or manhattan with this syrup for a new spin on a classic
- Mix with tequila and top with soda water and lime for a festive margarita
- Mix with sparkling water or lemon lime soda for a naturally sweetened mocktail, or a fun drink for the kids!
I opted to use maple syrup in this recipe, so there’s no refined sugars involved. Cranberries are packed with vitamins and are considered a “superfood”, so this is a sweetener you can feel good about!
The best part about making this syrup: when you strain it, you’re left with a delicious cranberry chutney! This spreadable chutney is great to serve with cheese and crackers, on biscuits, on a turkey sandwich, with pork tenderloin, or anywhere else you would use a spiced jam/chutney. It’s a two for one recipe!
You could gift them together or separately, and include a little note with some ideas of how to use them! If someone has been extra nice this year, you can make them a little gift basket.
Here’s a couple gift basket bundle ideas:
- Give a jar of the simple syrup with a bottle of champagne (tip: since you’re making a cocktail with the champagne, it doesn’t need to be an expensive bottle)
- You could also wrap the syrup with a bottle of ginger beer, small bottle of vodka, and copper mug = Holiday Moscow Mule Kit!
- Pick up a fresh, local baguette or artisan crackers, a soft goat cheese or brie, and wrap those with a jar of the chutney! That combo makes the most delicious, and simple appetizer!
Okay, now for the recipe. (It’s hardly a recipe at all because it’s so easy!) You just throw all the ingredients in a pot, let it reduce, then strain!
Cranberry Vanilla Spice Syrup (& Bonus Chutney) Recipe:
- 1 bag of cranberries
- About 1/2 cup of high quality maple syrup (depends how sweet you like it! you could start with 1/3 of a cup and go from there. give it a taste and add more if you like)
- 1 to 2 pieces of orange peel
- 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 to 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract (a real vanilla bean would be ideal to use here, but I just had extract on hand)
- Pour the cranberries into a medium size pot and cover with water (about 2 cups). Add in the rest of the ingredients.
- Give it a stir and let it simmer and reduce until it becomes a thick syrup! (I let mine simmer while watching the last half of Elf, so probably about 30-40 minutes.) If it gets too thick, no worries- just stir in a bit more water!
- Then, you’ll want to pour it through a strainer, and catch all the liquid in a bowl (preferably with a pour spout- it will make it easier to pour into a jar later!)
- Use the back of a spoon to press the mixture into the strainer, to make sure you squeeze out all of that yummy liquid.
- Discard the orange peel and cinnamon stick (I actually just stick the cinnamon stick in the mason jar with the syrup). What’s left in the strainer is the chutney!
- You could blend it up to make it really smooth if you want, but I like it kind of chunky.
- Once the syrup cools a bit, you can pour it into a cute mason jar, or any air tight container. Same goes for the chutney!
I hope you enjoy this recipe all year long. It’s so good! Be sure to share your thoughts with me when you make it – I’d love to know how you liked it!