In a clean, decorative jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine about one part each of clean fresh cranberries, unflavored vodka, and granulated sugar.* We used a cup of each and put them in a quart jar with a clamp lid. Add one tablespooon whole cloves for each cup of cranberries.
To give an extra boost of clove flavor, simmer some cloves in vodka for 20 minutes and add that to the jar.
Seal the jar and shake it gently, inverting it so the sugar begins to dissolve. Sit the jar on a counter and give it a shake every day or two. After a week, the sugar will completely dissolve and the liquid will begin to redden.
The cranberry liqueur will be ready to use in about a month.
We put about an ounce of liqueur in a champagne flute, added a cube or two of ice, and poured soda water over. Add a few cranberries (but not cloves) for garnish. If you like unsweetened cranberries, you’ll like these. The vodka itself absorbs the color but not the taste of the berries.
*We made our first batches for Thanksgiving: one with your standard commercial sugar, one with organic cane sugar, and one with the mixture simmered together before bottling. The only difference we could detect was that the simmered batch turned red right away.
For Christmas we’re trying a version that uses half the amount of cranberries and sugar. We’ll provide an update in about three weeks!