The Candied Cranberry Rye Whiskey Smash combines muddled mint leaves, tart fruit, and sparkling ginger beer with a spicy, high quality craft spirit in a lovely winter cocktail. This recipe makes enough candied cranberries for 6-8 drinks, although I recommend making each cocktail individually.
Combine candied cranberries, cranberry syrup, lime juice, and mint leaves in the bottom of a rocks glass. Use a muddler to crush the berries until the juices are released. Add the rye whiskey, 1-2 ice cubes, and top with ginger beer to taste. Garnish with whole candied cranberries rolled in sugar.
Bring one cup sugar and one cup water to a simmer over medium high heat in a medium sauce pan. Add cranberries and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the berries are softened but still have their shape. Remove the berries with a slotted spoon and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Continue heating the cranberry-scented syrup for another 5 minutes, bringing it to a boil and allowing it to thicken. Remove from heat. Once the syrup is cool, transfer to a sterile jar or bottle and store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.
Once the cranberries are chilled, transfer them to a lidded container. To make the garnish, roll a few cranberries in a tablespoon of sugar to give them a sparkling finish and slip a few onto toothpicks. These will keep for a few days in the fridge.