Add Some Campari to Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce is probably the simplest Thanksgiving dish you can make from scratch. Add 120 ounces of cranberries, a glass of sugar, and a glass of water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the cranberries burst and turn into a thick, jelly-like sauce. Place on turkey and eat.

You can of course make a correction: some people use orange juice instead of water, and some sometimes add a little rum. But yesterday, preparing the game, I looked at my cart and thought: “Campari”.

Campari, as you probably know, is an Italian bitter aperitif. It is bright red, almost pink, with a lot of gentian (a bitter substance), herbs, and other plants, including cloves, rhubarb, and orange peel.

I can’t speak for every cranberry sauce lover, but the last three tastes definitely sounded like what I would have liked in a sweet and sour cranberry sauce.

To test my theory, I prepared the sauce “as usual” but replaced 1/4 cup of water with 1/4 cup of Campari. I let it cool, took it off the heat, then tried it. The Campari scent was a little overwhelming at first – you could taste the booze and the gentian was a little aggressive – but things softened after being in the refrigerator overnight.

After cooling, the bitter liqueur faded into the background, making itself felt only at the end. He added some bitterness (a nice counterpoint to sweet and tart) and some citrus (a nice hint of a more traditional orange juice), but the most valuable thing he added was complexity.

Honestly, I wanted more . I wanted more bitterness, more orange peel, more complexity. The dry, herbaceous gentian and aromatic citrus fruits gave the sauce an edge without altering the flavor profile in an unpleasant or overwhelming way. (It’s almost like Campari was respectful of cranberry sauce and knew he had to play a secondary role.)

How much Campari you add is up to you. It was almost imperceptible to replace a quarter of the water with it, and next time I will increase the amount to half a glass (and will be next time). If you only want a hint of sophisticated complexity, add a quarter cup; if you want to give your sauce a Negroni flavor, add 3/4 cup. If you want it to be noticeable but not overwhelming, do half of it. (If you want even more grassy, ​​bitter complexity in your life, do Negroni .)

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