Notes: For this festive aperitif, we use cranberry ice from Gerri Gilliland, owner of Lula in Los Angeles. Rather than using the ice in a drink, you can serve it plain as a palate refresher or as a light dessert.
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 bottle (750 ml.) chilled sparkling wine such as Champagne or spumante, or sparkling apple cider
Fresh mint sprigs, rinsed
How to Make It
Sort cranberries, discarding any bruised or decayed fruit; rinse and drain berries. In a 1- to 2-quart pan over high heat, bring cranberries and 1/2 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until skins pop on berries, about 10 minutes. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.
Stir in 1/2 cup cold water, lemon peel, and lemon juice. In a blender, whirl half the mixture at a time until smooth. Pour purée into a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Freeze until solid, at least 3 hours or up to 1 week (cover when solid).
Cut cranberry ice into 1-inch cubes. With a wide spatula, lift cubes out of pan and drop three into each Champagne flute or wineglass. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup wine over cubes. Garnish each glass with a mint sprig and serve immediately.