For me, the first snowfall of the year always conjures welcome daydreams of leaving the hurried pace of life in New York City for the creature comforts that await when I go home to Wisconsin for the holidays. Just as I look forward to the frigid midwestern air kissing my cheeks hello, I also long to sit at my favorite Madison cocktail bar, Genna’s Lounge, sipping libations in the company of old friends. With November marking the end of the cranberry harvest in my home state, and made suddenly sentimental by this past Tuesday’s flurries, I mixed myself my go-to cocktail from Genna’s: a Cranberry Gimlet.
It’s rumored that the original gimlet, made with preserved lime and gin, was created for British sailors as a health aid to prevent scurvy. Not one to mess with a classic, I’ve always favored the straightforward recipe of gin or vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup (sorry, Rose’s Lime fans)—that is, until I tried this pucker-inducing cranberry variation created by Genna’s bartender Jeanette Dainty. The first time I ordered it, I was not impressed by the bright magenta cocktail that appeared in front of me, looking like a prop drink from the set of Sex and the City (it didn’t help that Jeanette told me the drink was a play on the Cosmo, a cloyingly-sweet favorite of Carrie and her friends). But the first sip won me over with its in-your-face tartness thanks to a combination of unsweetened cranberry and fresh lime juices, balanced by agave nectar. While I’m certainly not in danger of coming down with scurvy anytime soon, I know Dainty’s Cranberry Gimlet will help me ward off homesickness all through the season.