Several years ago, a friend (also a fan of craft beer) taught me to make Beer Syrup, which I’ve used in competitions (World Food Championships 2015 & 2016), for entertaining, and even a blog post or two. The concept was simple and only limited by your taste in beer and possibly, the availability of great craft beer in your area.
This past year, I was given the opportunity to host a culinary demonstration, at World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama, teaching guests how to use craft beer to make a variety of sauces. Given my love of beery syrup, I knew that I had to include it in the demo. However, when Cape Cod Select Cranberries sent me a crate of fresh cranberries, I turned my simple beer syrup into something far more festive, more colorful, and (omg!) more flavorful…Cranberry Cider Syrup.
We made the syrup live, which means the VIP tent was filled with the smell of sweet hard apple cider cooking, and when my sous chef fired up the waffle iron to make fresh waffles for dipping in the syrup, the crowd around our table instantly doubled! Seriously! Who can resist fresh waffles with hot syrup!!?!?!? We had to have made 50-60 samples that were snatched up as quickly as the waffles came off the iron and cut and I could drizzle hot Cranberry Cider Syrup over them.
So, how do you get in on the Cranberry Cider Syrup game? Simple. Make some yourself. Make extra and give it to a friend. Or make extra, hide it in back of the refrigerator, and don’t tell the kids that it’s there!
Cranberry Cider Syrup
2-12 oz cans hard cider–any flavor (I’ve used Cider Boys First Press Cider, Mad Man Blueberry Cider, and Angry Orchard original)
6 c. granulated sugar
12 oz. cranberries–approximately 3 c.
In a large soup pot, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring frequently with a whisk to help break up the cranberries. When mixture comes to a rolling boil (one that can’t be stirred down), reduce heat to medium-high and allow to boil for 10 minutes. Mixture will thicken, cranberries will breakdown, and syrup will become bright pink. If you use blueberry cider, the syrup will be a much darker shade of pinkish-red. Remove syrup from the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
Pour cider and fruit through a colander to remove the smashed berries. Then, pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove any seeds that may have cooked out. Use syrup immediately or pour into bottles for gifting or storing.
**For those worried about serving it to your children, the alcohol cooks out, leaving the flavor. No worries!
Serve with waffles or pancakes at breakfast
Serve warm and poured over vanilla ice cream
Serve as a dipping sauce with shortbread cookies
Mix with mustard to make a dipping sauce for chicken nuggets
Serve warm and poured over a cobbler or bread pudding
For more information about Cape Cod Select Cranberries: