Holiday traditions range from silly to sublime. Mine is moving. Furniture. Table from upstairs down, couch from here to there. The heavier the better.
Some children come home to find the house done up in twinkle and tinsel. Mine find the house in disarray.
It's holiday decorating, with more focus on decor, less on decorum. It fills the need for novel. What could be more novel than a massive cherry dining table, smack where bare floor used to idle? It surprises everyone.
Including the dog, who tends to develop a holiday concussion. After a while we switch to celebrating. And that's when decorating know-how really comes in handy.
Consider the ordinary glass of Champagne: fizzy, festive, fun. With a little muscle, it can be tinted tart, surprised with orange and decorated with single-cranberry restraint.
The resulting pink drink is delightful, delicious and dressed to the teeth. Though Champagne, like my house, may be best left unadorned.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 1/2 cups syrup, enough for 12 cocktails
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen), plus 12
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Triple sec (or sub fresh orange juice)
Champagne or sparkling wine (or sub ginger ale)
In a saucepan, heat 1 cup cranberries, the water, sugar and zest to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until cranberries pop and syrup turns pink, about 10 minutes.
Set a fine-mesh strainer over a wide glass measuring cup. Pour cranberry mixture through, pressing with a rubber spatula. Discard cooked cranberries and zest. Cool syrup. Pour into a 1-pint glass jar (isn't that pretty?), cover and chill.
For each cocktail, pour 1 tablespoon triple sec into a Champagne flute. Add 2 tablespoons pink syrup. Fill with Champagne. Drop in 1 cranberry, for decorative effect. Enjoy.
Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.