Posted by Posh Boutique

After putting together my Holiday Gift Guide to help make your shopping a little easier this year, I thought you might also like this handcrafted gift option. This simple-syrup recipe does double time, making for a great gift as well as a delicious holiday party cocktail! Whether you're hosting your own soiree or looking for a unique and personal hostess gift, 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 are 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 are no refined sugars involved (we get enough of those thrown our way during the holidays!). As an added bonus, 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 of these great ideas of how to use them! If someone has been extra nice this year, you can make them a little gift basket. 

Here are 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:

Ingredients:
-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, which will make it easier to pour into a jar later).

Use the back of a spoon to press the mixture into the strainer and to make sure you squeeze out all of that yummy liquid. Discard the orange peel and cinnamon stick (I actually just stuck the cinnamon stick in the mason jar with the syrup). What's left in the strainer is the chutney! You can 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 airtight container. Same goes for the chutney!

Hope you enjoy, and celebrate the holidays accordingly!

XOXO,

Carson

Want to hear more from Carson? Check out carsonlove.com or @carsonmlove on Instagram and love on her 2017 Holiday Gift Guide