First off, I know how much everyone hates reading all the text to get to the recipe, so here is the recipe for Jacked Orange Cranberry Sauce for those who don’t give a damn about my grandpa Jack and grandma Betty’s love for Jack Daniels. Do me a favor and leave your browser open on the page for a few minutes. Thanks! Continue reading below for the printable version and to hear all about how I came up with this recipe (also to see how I get 1000 words out of what shouldn’t be more than 175).
Jacked Orange Cranberry Sauce
1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
Juice from 7 Halo oranges (mandarin or tangerine) – about half a cup
Zest from the oranges
1/2 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1-2 shots Jack Daniels, or to taste
Rinse cranberries and pick out questionable ones. Put water and sugar into a large pan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries and cook until they pop. Add orange juice, zest, salt and Jack Daniels and simmer for another ten minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. It will thicken as it cools. Make a day or two ahead of the occasion and store in fridge.
Back to the long ass story about making orange cranberry sauce with Jack Daniels
A few weeks ago, in preparation for Thanksgiving, and because I was cleaning out my freezer, I decided to make home-made cranberry sauce. I love the canned stuff, don’t get me wrong. Nothing reminds me of growing up more than can-shaped cranberry sauce to slice on the Thanksgiving Day table. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it now.
The only problem is, I had used up the can I had for making my cranberry chardonnay (recipe to come later). Sure, I could go out and get another can of the jellied goodness, but why not use the bag of frozen cranberries that had been taking up space in my freezer since last Thanksgiving, or maybe it’s from the one before that? I’m not really sure at this point. But hey, it’s frozen so it’s good, right? Besides, I’m going to cook it..
Home-Made Cranberry Sauce
My dad made home-made cranberry sauce one year and no one liked it because you couldn’t slice it. I’m sure it tasted wonderful, but it had lumps in it and was not a smooth, jellied consistency liked the canned stuff. No one liked it except my dad. Probably because he was the only one who tried it. My dad was a great cook, he put booze in everything so I am sure the cranberry sauce was fantastic. He’d just raised a couple of kids on Pop Tarts, Pringles, and Tang. If it wasn’t processed, it was wrong.
As an adult, I know better and do my best to serve meals that are less processed and more made from scratch.
Except for cranberry sauce.
It’s more nostalgia than anything else. Although, a slice of cranberry sauce works perfectly on a leftover sandwich.
This year, I had a magnificent garden and did a ton of canning. I also tapped my maple tree and made maple syrup so making home-made orange cranberry sauce from scratch was a no brainer.
Kicking it Up Old School
The thing is, anyone can do that. I’m sure the home-made orange cranberry sauce would taste fine, but what would make it taste even better? How about a little bourbon?
And it was good. The bourbon gave it a mellow flavor, but not quite the kick I was looking for. What if I added some Jack Daniels?
It’s All About the Booze
I don’t usually drink Jack Daniels, but I always have a bottle on hand for those who do. I learned this from my grandmother Betty. She always kept a well stocked liquor cabinet as well. The good stuff, at least I thought it was the good stuff. I accompanied her to the liquor store one year when I visited her in Ohio. Grandma didn’t drive so we had to walk there. She purchased bottom shelf booze and then poured them into the top shelf bottles she had at home.
She was my hero.
I didn’t do that, mostly because I don’t drink much liquor so a bottle of the good stuff can last me for years. In fact, now that my father has passed away it can last for well over a decade.
So I had some real Jack Daniels on hand and poured a few shots into the orange cranberry sauce and it was divine!
Grandma would have loved it, as would my father.
I served it for thanksgiving and no one complained that there wasn’t any canned cranberry to slice. Okay, the whined a little, but they ate every last spoonful of the Jacked Orange Cranberry Sauce.