Because cranberries, and cherry liqueur, aren’t just for Christmas. This drink is also a celebration of that much-misunderstood wine, lambrusco, which, so long as you avoid the over-sweet abominations we’re used to seeing in the UK, is a fizzy wine well worth some of your time. The syrup makes way more than you need, but it keeps well and is also lovely poured over a simple baked cheesecake or any fruit-based dessert.
The spiced cherry
For the spiced syrup (makes 16 serves)
150g fresh cranberries, or frozen and defrosted
60ml orange juice
60ml lemon juice
2 star anise
½ cinnamon stick
¼ tbsp black peppercorns
1½cm-thick slice fresh ginger (there’s no need to peel it)
For the drink
25ml maraschino cherry liqueur – a good-quality one, such as Luxardo, ideally
25ml spiced syrup (see above and method)
125ml lambrusco, well chilled – we use Villa Cialdini’s Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, but similar dry examples can be found at many supermarkets (try Lambrusco Pruno Nero at Waitrose or M&S’s own-label Lambrusco Rosso)
Put all the syrup ingredients in a small to medium-sized saucepan, set it over a gentle heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, so all the flavours blend and the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool to room temperature, then fine strain into a bowl (or into a sterilised jar, where it will keep in the fridge for a month or so).
To build the drink, fill a chilled wine glass with ice, pour in the liqueur and syrup, stir for 30 seconds, until well combined, then top with lambrusco and serve.
• Enzo Mirto, Officina OO, London EC1
• This article was amended on 18 January 2021 to correct the spelling of the author’s surname.