Have you tried shrubs? They're an old-fashioned drinking vinegar, and delicious in lots of combinations. I heard of them a year or two ago, and recently realized how easy they are to make. This recipe is perfect for winter: cranberries, ginger, and cinnamon condensed in vinegar. I think the key with shrubs is in the cooking down of the vinegar -- it takes down a lot of the acidity, but leaves a tangy flavor.
Shrubs are great in either cocktails or mixed in with other beverages like sparking water, so I'm including a drink recipe below that can be made as either a cocktail or mocktail.
Cranberry Ginger Shrubs
Makes about 1.5 cups
2 C fresh cranberries
1 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 C water
1/4 C brown sugar
1 T fresh ginger, chopped into 1/2-inch match sticks
2 cinnamon sticks
dash ground cinnamon
1. Combine all ingredients in small sauce pan; cover and simmer until cranberries are soft and starting to pop, about 10-12 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and let sit until liquid is room temperature, about 30 minutes.
3. Pour all of mixture into an airtight container and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
4. Strain mixture through a mesh strainer (removing cranberries and ginger). Keep cinnamon sticks and add to container for flavor.
5. Transfer to airtight container (I use a mason jar). Keep refrigerated. Lasts one month.
Winter Cranberry Ginger Shrubs Cocktail or Mocktail
Makes one drink
1.5 ounces cranberry ginger shrubs (1 shot)
1.5 ounces bourbon (1 shot) ** for cocktail
3-4 drops bitters ** non-alcoholic version for mocktail
1/4 C coconut sparking water or ginger beer (based on flavor preference - both are great!)
1/4 C apple cider (preferably fresh or unfiltered)
2 lemon slices as garnish
Combine all ingredients in cocktail glass. Enjoy!