Notes: For a nonalcoholic alternative, substitute lemon-lime or club soda for the cognac and Champagne. If making syrup up to 1 week ahead, chill airtight.
2 quarts cranberry juice cocktail
8 slices (quarter size and about 1/8 in. thick) peeled fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks (about 3 in. long)
2 whole star anise
1/3 cup cognac or brandy
8 cups Champagne or other sparkling wine (about 2 2/3 bottles, 750 ml. each), chilled
32 to 48 fresh cranberries, rinsed, or frozen cranberries (optional)
How to Make It
In a 3 1/2- to 4-quart pan, combine cranberry juice, ginger, cinnamon sticks, and star anise. Boil over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 1 hour. Let cool about 30 minutes, then pour through a fine strainer into a small pitcher. Chill syrup until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours.
For each serving, pour 2 tablespoons of the cranberry syrup and 1 teaspoon cognac into a Champagne flute (6 to 8 oz.). Add 1/2 cup (4 oz.) Champagne. Garnish with 2 or 3 cranberries if desired.
Made this for our Christmas cocktail party this year & it was a hit! The house smelled amazing all morning when the syrup was simmering away. I skipped the brandy & used pink champagne...the color and flavor were perfect. We've been using the leftover syrup in hot apple cider...may have to make up another batch just for more cider!
I love this recipe and have made it since it was first published. Tried it once w/cranberry juice vs. "cocktail" and the juice was too tart...stick w/cocktail. People love it, it's pretty, tastes lovely and is a nice way to start out a holiday gathering. I use Presecco for the grown ups, and Martinelli's for the kids so they can have a special looking treat too.