Reviewed by Colin Hewitt
Back in the summer of 2019, I was fortunate to review a deliciously refreshing selection of ciders from Cranes. Therefore I was delighted when I was asked to sample a bottle of their spirits.
Cranes Cranberry and Blood Orange Liqueur is the product of a collaboration between the founders of Cranes and a top UK mixologist.
Firstly a brief recap about the company. Cranes are based in Cambridge, founded by twin brothers Ben and Dan Ritsemin in 2012. Cranes’ company name was chosen because the shape of cranberry blossom is very similar to that of a crane’s head. In the 17th Century, cranberries were called ‘crane-berries’. If you visit the Crane’s website, you’ll find a lovely potted history of the company, where credit is given to the twin’s father for the research, and subsequent name suggestion.
In addition to the flavoured cider’s I’ve previously sampled (Cranberries and Limes, Blueberries and Apples, Raspberries and Pomegranates) I’ve noticed that the range has been extended to include, Premium Apple and an intriguing Lemons and Kumquats flavour.
My bottle of Cranes Cranberry and Blood Orange Liqueur arrived very securely, but not excessively, packaged. After unwrapping, my first impression was of admiration for the beautiful rectangular glass bottle. The thickness of the base and the bottle’s heaviness gives it gravitas, just by accessing its weight you can sense this is designed to be a taken seriously. Add to this the richness, and clarity of the liqueur’s colour, the product’s aesthetics are visually stunning, but would all of this be style over substance?
I’m happy to say I wasn’t the slightest bit disappointed.
Using cranberries from Wisconsin in the USA, together with Blood orange juice and orange rind, this double award-winning liqueur is sweet with underlying, but not overpowering, sourness – imagine a ‘sour’ candy sweets but add a 17% alcoholic kick!
Although there is a taste of citrus, I found that cranberry, rather than blood orange, is the dominant flavour – which for my personal taste (I’m not a massive fan of Cointreau) was much preferable.
Drink this either straight, poured over a few ice cubes, or add a glass of sparkling Prosecco for a deliciously refreshing longer drink (known as a Cranbellini). The liqueur can also be used in numerous cocktails, some of which were detailed on a leaflet that accompanied the bottle, among them a Cosmopolitan (Cranes Liqueur, Cranberry juice, Vodka and lime) and a Lemon Berry (Cranes liqueur, Limoncello and Sicilian lemonade). I’ve also discovered fascinating Espresso Martini cocktail recipe (Cranes liqueur, Espresso coffee, and a Coffee liqueur).
As an interesting, and different dessert, why not try a shot of this liqueur over a good quality vanilla ice cream?
This would make an ideal birthday or Valentine’s Day gift, or why not buy a bottle and make some delicious cocktails to accompany a romantic home-prepared Valentine’s meal (let’s be honest, it’s improbable that we’ll be eating out this year).
The liqueur is available in two bottle sizes, 20cl or, a 50cl (which at £19.99 is excellent value).
In addition to this liqueur, and the flavoured ciders already mentioned, Cranes also produce a 37.5% Cranberry Gin. All of which can be purchased from the shop on their website.
Rating: a magnificent 5/5
This product can be purchased from Cranes here.