For those of us that live in Kansas City, the holiday season officially begins with the lighting of the city's beloved Country Club Plaza. The Plaza, as locals refer to it, is a restaurant, shopping, and entertainment district built with Spanish-style architecture. The lighting ceremony has been a Thanksgiving night tradition for Kansas Citians since 1930. Our own little Times Square ball drop. To take in the lights, take a break, and just spend some time together, Heath and I recently had drinks at Seasons 52 on the Plaza. They always have the best seasonally fresh cocktails, and this time neither the Plaza lights nor my drink disappointed.
That night I had a gin-based cocktail made with white cranberry juice and candied sage. White cranberry juice is less tart than the red variety and blends oh-so-nicely with the subtle addition of sage. I've muddled some un-candied sage in this version so the flavor shines through.
The garnish of candied sage adds a sparkle to this drink, no doubt my favorite part. No time to make candied sage, you say? Understood. You can candy the sage up to 3 days before using, just store the leaves flat on a baking sheet in the fridge.
Cranberry Sage Cocktail
- 4 ounces gin
- 8 ounces white cranberry juice
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 fresh sage leaves
- ¼ cup fresh cranberries divided
For candied sage
- 1 cup pure cane sugar divided
- ¼ cup water
- 8-10 fresh sage leaves
- To make candied sage, bring water and ½ cup sugar to a boil, stirring until dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat.
- Place remaining ½ cup sugar in a bowl. With a pastry brush, brush fresh sage leaves with sugar syrup and then sprinkle to coat sugar on leaves. Place leaves on an oiled wire rack to dry and harden (about 2 hours).
- When ready to make cocktail, in two glasses, fill half with ice cubes. Divide cranberries and add to glass.
- In a cocktail shaker, place the two sage leaves. Muddle. Fill half with ice cubes, add gin, white cranberry juice, and lime juice. Shake!
- Pour mixture between both glasses and garnish with candied sage.