Celebrate Spring with Simply Cranberry {giveaway}

My craving for cranberry juice peaks as the daffodils start poking through the snow each spring.

Its refreshing tartness was my beverage of choice after both of our girls were born in the early springtime, and I can’t help seeking it out this time of year. Sometimes I mix it with lemon-lime soda for a bubbly spritzer. But mostly I drink it straight-up, in all its bright puckery goodness.

When I was asked by Simply Orange Juice Company to host a little gathering featuring the new Simply Cranberry Cocktail, I was all over it…

  • Because, first of all, I am a huge fan of the Simply Orange® brand. Their pulp-free orange juice with added calcium and vitamin D is a regular at our house. And you’ll often find their limeade or one of their lemonades in the refrigerator throughout the summer. I’ll admit that I’m drawn to the simple clear carafes they’re packaged in, but most of all, I just love their bright not-from-concentrate taste. Simply Cranberry Cocktail is made in a similar fashion, blended with not-from-concentrate cranberry juice and no added preservatives.
  • And, second of all, I wanted to have some fun! My mind started buzzin’ with fresh ways I could celebrate spring with Simply Cranberry Cocktail!

Preparing for the gathering…

My parents and my husband’s parents were staying with us, in town to watch our oldest daughter perform in a 70′s variety show. So we threw a little pre-show party, attended by our out-of-town family and a couple of my bestest girlfriends and served up some small spring desserts and Simply Cranberry Cocktail.

Flowers are always welcome in my home, especially when I entertain. If at all possible, I will always cut something from our yard or garden before buying flowers at the store. It’s just who I am. I like the more casual feel it lends, plus this approach always guarantees a centerpiece that’s appropriately in season. I was so happy that our daffodils were blooming in full force, because the rest of our yard was definitely still in winter sleep mode!

I put together a menu consisting of refreshing drinks showcasing Simply Cranberry Cocktail, along with a few of my favorite spring sweets. I selected desserts that were small in size (because I love it when I can try a little bit of everything!) and could be eaten without a fork. I wanted the feel to be casual, and the bevvies and sweets to be beautiful and bursting with the brightness of spring.

The Menu:

* Lime Baby Cakes
* Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars
* Spring Brownie Bites with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream
* Cranberry Strawberry Sangria
* Cranberry Lemonade Punch

(A great tip for keeping drinks cold: The day prior to serving these drinks, pour Simply Cranberry Cocktail into ice cube trays and freeze. You’ll have a beautiful way to keep your beverages cold without diluting them!)

We have a 3-season porch that begs us to gather in it as soon as the snow disappears. It provided the perfect spot to serve up some spring. I love the bright flavors and colors of these Lime Baby Cakes (one of my mom’s favorite desserts ever!), Fudgy Spring Brownie Bites with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream (I HAD to serve some chocolate!), and Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars (What speaks spring more than strawberries and rhubarb?!).

Wouldn’t these desserts make for a beautiful spring bridal or baby shower?!

The Simply CranberryCocktail, with its perfect blend of sweetness and tartness, was offered in its own carafe, for those who wanted to enjoy some cranberry cocktail straight-up or in a spritzer. I also served Cranberry Lemonade Punch, with a base of Simply Cranberry Cocktail and my favorite homemade lemonade, in a punch bowl swimming with pretty lemon slices. Some orange soda and ginger ale provided lighthearted bubbles, and it quickly brought smiles to all who tasted it.

(See the yellow curling ribbon at the base of the glass? It’s my favorite way to keep everyone’s drinks straight when I host a party. I simply curl up pieces of different colored ribbons and wind them around the bases of the glasses a couple times. These colorful drink charms are not only fun, they’re also inexpensive!)

Cranberry Lemonade Punch

Yield: almost 3 qts. of punch

Ingredients

  • 2 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 T. grated lemon peel
  • 1 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 32 oz. (4 c.) Simply Cranberry Cocktail, chilled
  • 12 oz. (1 can or 1-1/2 c.) orange soda, chilled
  • 32 oz. (4 c.) ginger ale, chilled
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

Preparation

First make a lemonade syrup. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon peel and lemon juice, stir, and remove from the heat. Let cool completely. If desired, strain the mixture. I like all the little lemon tidbits in my drink, so I do not strain it. Thoroughly chill the lemonade syrup.

In a punch bowl or other large serving container, combine the Simply Cranberry Cocktail with the chilled lemonade syrup. Add the orange soda and ginger ale. Give it a stir and add the lemon slices right before serving.

Note: To keep this drink cold, I like to make cranberry juice ice cubes a day or two before serving this punch. Just pour Simply Cranberry Cocktail into ice cube trays and freeze. Be sure to give them at least 24 hours to freeze completely. Add the frozen cranberry cubes to the punch bowl or to individual glasses to keep drinks cold without diluting them.

Source

from a farmgirl's dabbles

I also served Cranberry Strawberry Sangria, which tastes much like a lightened up strawberry margarita, with the tartness of cranberry sweetened by fresh strawberries. Adding a few sprigs of fresh rosemary to the pitcher is a beautiful and tasty trick I gleaned from Molly McNeil, who mixed up the most incredible sangria last summer for a MN Food Bloggers party. I cannot wait to pick fresh sweet strawberries at our local u-pick this summer and make another batch of this sangria!

(If you’re not a margarita fan, simply swap out the tequila for some rum or vodka.)

Cranberry Strawberry Sangria

Yield: about 2-1/2 qts. (10 c.) of sangria

Ingredients

  • 48 oz. (6 c.) Simply Cranberry Cocktail, chilled
  • 1 bottle (750 mls) fruity rose' wine, chilled
  • 3 oz. orange liqueur
  • 2 oz. tequila blanco (or substitute rum or vodka)
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, divided
  • 1 lemon, divided
  • 1 orange, divided
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 T. sugar

Preparation

In a very large bowl, preferably with a spout, stir together the Simply Cranberry Cocktail, rose', orange liqueur, and tequila. Puree half of the strawberries. Then juice half the lemon and stir that juice into the strawberries. Add the pureed strawberries to the cranberry juice mixture. Then juice half the orange and add that juice, too. Thinly slice the remaining half lemon and orange and add the slices to the cranberry juice mixture along with the sprigs of rosemary. Gently smoosh the rosemary along the side of the bowl with the back side of a spoon for just a bit, to draw out its earthy flavor. Slice the remaining strawberries, sprinkle the sugar over them, and set aside (cover and refrigerate if you're not serving the sangria for awhile). Pour the sangria into a serving container(s) and chill completely. Add the sugared strawberries to the sangria right before serving.

Source

from a farmgirl's dabbles

I’m loving this new Simply Cranberry Cocktail!

It’s refreshing, bright, perfectly tart, and just the thing for a cranberry juice lover like myself. Be sure to look for it this spring in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store; it’s kept chilled from the time it’s blended!

And…I’m so happy to give you the chance to win a

$100 Visa gift card!

The good folks behind Simply CranberryCocktail have offered up this great prize for my readers.

Yay!

What is your favorite way to make a party or get-together at home more festive?
Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 gift card!

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/7/2012 – 6/6/2012

Be sure to visit the Promotions & Prizes page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Disclosure: Thank you to the folks behind Simply Cranberry Cocktail for providing me with Simply Cranberry Cocktail to serve my guests and the $100 Visa gift card for this giveaway. I have been compensated for this post by BlogHer, but as always, all text, opinions, and photos are my own. For more information on Simply Cranberry Cocktail, please visit their website and facebook.

“Simply Cranberry” is a trademark of Simply Orange Juice Company.

   

172 Responses to “Celebrate Spring with Simply Cranberry {giveaway}”

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    151
    Denise L — June 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm
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    152
    Betty C — June 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    We actually prefer casual barbecues or potlucks. On the rare occasion when we do a theme it’s usually targeted toward the food such as everything has to be in the form of a sandwich. It’s fun to see how creative we can get in making dessert sandwiches.

  3. #
    153
    Betty C — June 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm
  4. #
    154
    Emily N. — June 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm
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    155
    Sarah L — June 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Fresh flowers always make it more festive.
    Thanks for the contest.

  6. #
    157
    LinhC — June 4, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I have to try your recipes! I like having fresh flowers to make my get-togethers more festive.

  7. #
    158
    Jessica F — June 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I love having tons of little finger foods as the main course! You can have a huge variety of food to offer and appetizers are always delicious!

  8. #
    159
    Jessica F — June 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm
  9. #
    160
    angie lilly — June 5, 2012 at 10:47 am

    All of my parties are childfree. Parents love getting away from their kids for a night and being able to have fun and not watch their kids and I don’t have kids so it works well for my home too. When its an adults only party, you can play any music you want, have alcohol if desired (I don’t drink personally but other do), and just be a kid again yourself!

  10. #
    161
    angie lilly — June 5, 2012 at 10:48 am
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    162
    ewhatley — June 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    We have a theme for every event and encourage guests to dress accordingly.

  12. #
    163
    Debra F — June 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I do like entertaining and my favorite thing is to do theme parties. I customize my food, drinks and decorations/decor around a theme and everyone really enjoys it….I just try not to get too hokey!

  13. #
    164
    Erica Best — June 6, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I love having bring a dish party it help everyone feel like that are a part of it and it keep me from having to cook everything and every love to show of by bring the best dish.
    purple_lover_04 at msn dot com

  14. #
    165
    Erica Best — June 6, 2012 at 10:28 am
  15. #
    166
    Mari — June 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    We play festive music and put up décor that creates an ambiance.

    runningmatey at hotmail dot com

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