When we asked Beth Kirby to create a cocktail recipe to capture the spirit of the season, we never expected a drink that actually tastes like Christmas! But she really did it this time.
Beth’s Balsam Gin Sparkler is a piney, sweet, tart, and yes, extremely Christmasy drink that’s worth trying all winter long.
Warning: You’re going to have to work for this one. It involves foraging some balsam fir (or other pine tree) needles from your neighborhood. The exta effort will make the final product that much more delicious. Just make sure the tree hasn’t been sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides, first!
Balsam Fir Syrup
1 cup balsam fir needles, roughly chopped
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1½ tsp citric acid (can sub juice of 1 lemon)
In a medium sauce pan combine sugar and water, heat over medium high to high until boiling and sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. When boiling remove from heat, stir in pine needles and citric acid. Cover and let sit until room temp, taste, and allow to sit longer if you want a stronger flavor. When it’s ready, strain through a sieve lined with cheese cloth. Will keep indefinitely bottled in the fridge.
Balsam Gin Sparkler
1½ oz citrus forward gin (like Smooth Ambler’s Gin, Tenn South’s Abernath, or Beefeater 24)
1 oz balsam syrup
1 oz cranberry juice
2 oz sparkling water
Frozen cranberries, for garnish
Fill a glass with ice and top with the gin, syrup, juice, and sparkling water. Give a stir. Top with juice, and garnish with a few frozen cranberries.
Beth Kirby is the Tennessee-based stylist, photographer, and blogger behind Local Milk, where she showcases her vast love for real food, and for elevating the everyday into something beautiful. Follow Beth on Instagram + Pinterest + Twitter.