Cranberry sauce is always going to be a dark horse for the favorite dish on the Thanksgiving table but with a twist, and some beer of course, the SOMETHING can be a real contender.
I happen to truly, madly, deeply love cranberry sauce. With this recipe, I will eat it by the actual spoonful but I also love it on turkey, leftover sandwiches, and I’ve even used it to top a salad. I’m telling you guys, give cran a chance 😉
The reason this sauce comes out so well is the caramelly flavors of barleywine cook down to balance the bitter sourness from the cranberry. A little dried fruit soaked in barley wine maintains an unexpected alcohol punch that brightens up the pallet.
Plus, one of my favorite things about cooking with beer is that the leftover goes right into my glass while cooking. A happy cook makes a better meal if you ask me.
The BEST Cranberry Sauce (AKA Cran-BEER-y Sauce)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) dried apricots
1 ounce (2-3 tbs) dried cranberries
1/2 cup dark sweet beer (Barelywines work well)
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbs molasses
2 tbs honey
1 12oz package fresh cranberries
Pinch of kosher salt
Slice apricots into thin slivers.
Place apricot slivers and dried cranberries in a small bowl and cover with 1/2 cup of beer. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Strain apricots and cranberries, catching the beer in a separate container.
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan.
Add apricots, cranberries, 2 tbs of strained beer, honey, molasses, and cranberries to water and lower heat to medium
As sauce cooks cranberries will burst and begin to dissolve. Continue to cook sauce over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes stirring occasionally. Once sauce coats the back of a spoon without running off, it is done!
Pour into a separate container, sprinkle with pinch of salt and let cool uncovered.
Best served at room temperature. Can be stored up to two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (Yes! You can make it way before Thanksgiving!)
My favorite barleywines to use in this recipe tend toward the sweeter side. Firestone Walker’s Stickee Monkee is a perfect candidate if you can bear to part with it for cooking. I also really like The Bruery’s M*A*S*H in this side dish. You’re looking for a deep brown sugar, vanilla flavor as opposed to the bitterness of a more traditional American barleywine.
If you\’re making this in the holiday season (I\’m assuming you are!) if you can find Troeg\’s Mad Elf, it is the absolute best in this! I used it for the pictures above.