Finally, the weather has turned cooler. I have to admit that, as a New England native, I miss the distinct change of seasons in California -- especially in the fall. In my opinion, at this time of year, we're supposed to be pulling on our fleece and socks, not slipping into sandals and T-shirts. So, while it may still be a tad too early for wool in California, I can at least make this cocktail -- fragrant with apple and cinnamon and boosted with tequila and Cointreau -- and close my eyes and pretend that it's a crisp and blustery autumn day. And you should, too, especially if you are lucky enough to be enjoying a nippy October, because this drink is guaranteed to take the edge off any chill.
This recipe takes inspiration from a margarita and warms it up with the best of fall's ingredients -- cranberries and apple cider. Part cocktail, part toddy and all good, it's a great recipe to have on hand for entertaining once the holiday season gets rolling, or for simply curling up and sipping in front of a fire.
Cranberry Tequila Toddy
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Yield: makes about 6 cups; serves 6 to 8
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
4 cups apple cider
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup gold tequila
Orange slices, cinnamon sticks and lime wedges for garnish
Combine the cranberries and orange liqueur in a small bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Heat the cider, cranberry juice and orange juice in a large saucepan until it nearly reaches a boil. Stir in the tequila, cranberries and orange liqueur and immediately remove from heat. Cover the pot and let stand 1 to 2 minutes to infuse the liquid.
Ladle into mugs and garnish with an orange slice and a cinnamon stick for stirring. Serve with a lime wedge for squeezing.
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