Cranberry gin and tonics add a special holiday magic to inebriation. The drink, a creation of Gourmet magazine editor Nichol Nelson, is made with real cranberries, and can be as messy as it is festive if you're not careful. Also if you are "sampling" the gin beforehand. Nelson advises that, "forcing some of the berries through a sieve into the syrup intensifies the drink’s fruitiness." It will also tend to splatter your kitchen walls if you're not careful, but it's true, it does intensify the syrupy aspects of the drink.
The most fun way to serve the nouvelle G+Ts is out of a punchbowl (check out the selection at Whisk in Williamsburg) with lots of berries floating in it and a cake of ice. Crack some ice in a glass and ladle it on.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 1/3 cups chilled tonic water
1 1/4 cups gin
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Bring cranberries, sugar, and water to a simmer in a 3- to 3 1/2-quart saucepan, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until berries just begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Drain cranberries in a fine-mesh sieve set over a 1-quart glass measuring cup, then reserve 2 cups cranberries and force remaining cranberries through sieve into syrup. Discard solids remaining in sieve, then add reserved cranberries to syrup. Cool to room temperature. Transfer to a pitcher and chill until cold, about 2 hours.
Add remaining ingredients to syrup, stirring gently to combine. Serve drinks over ice in 8- to 10-ounce glasses.