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Great Baltimore cocktails: The Cranberry Ginger Crush at the Boathouse Canton

I ordered a drink I didn't think I was going to like.

Yeah, I know, weird. It was one of those "the bartender is busy and you're hemming and hawing like a goon" moments when something different catches your eye and you blurt it out. All in the name of research, I rationalized.

And when it was served, all beautiful and fresh looking, I still didn't think I was going to be that into it. Then I took a sip.

Ever eat or drink something that literally makes you say, "Whoa!" out loud? It happened with the Cranberry Ginger Crush at the Boathouse in Canton. It's a serendipitous little gem that shouldn't fly under the radar.

"I don't usually like cranberry, either," said Brian Betz, the Boathouse's bar manager. "And I initially wanted to do a cilantro and jalapeno cocktail but it just wasn't coming out the way I wanted … then I discovered that cranberry, ginger and cilantro are all actually similar [in flavor profile]." God bless Betz and his delicious gamble.

Betz admitted that the Cranberry Ginger Crush is the cocktail he's most proud of because it's so unique. His menu — a seasonal mix of eight drinks — also includes the typical Orange, Grapefruit, and Arnold Palmer varieties of Crushes, all extremely popular. Marketing Manager Hanly Heubeck said that the bar and restaurant bought two crushed ice machines just to handle the volume of Crush orders. None of that is surprising, but it's the momentum of the Cranberry Crush that is

All of the cocktails at the Boathouse are crushed to order. But no, Betz doesn't have the world's tiniest fruit crusher to use on the Cranberry Ginger Crush. Here, it's all about muddling — lime, cilantro, and house-made ginger syrup. The fruity flavor is provided by Deep Eddy cranberry vodka a beautiful ruby color that gives the drink a gorgeous, layered appearance. This vodka is good enough to be ordered up neat; its taste is clean and authentic.

Purists will say, "But this isn't really a crush," in the good ol' Baltimore, fresh squeezed sense. But it's hot, people. Who wants to debate when a drink is refreshing and sweet and tart and spicy all at the same time? If you do, you're missing out. Especially when you come to the realization that you're drinking at the site of the former somewhat soul crushing two for 1 rail gin Bay Cafe. Now, you're sipping a refreshing, handcrafted cocktail in a pristine outdoor space, watching sailboats in the boat yard whip briskly with the wind.

I'd say a little sophistication is a good thing, especially when it gives you a nice buzz.

How To Make The Cranberry Ginger Crush

11/2 oz. Deep Eddy cranberry vodka

2 lime wedges

10-15 cilantro leaves

11/2 oz. ginger syrup (recipe below)

Directions: Muddle lime, cilantro and ginger syrup. Add Deep Eddy Cranberry vodka. Fill with crushed ice. Top with soda water and a splash of Sprite.

Ginger Syrup

8 cups water

4 cups sugar

1 lb. unpeeled ginger (roughly chopped)

Pinch of salt

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes. Strain and let cool.

Where To Get The Cranberry Ginger Crush

The Boathouse

2809 Boston St., Canton

410-773-9795

boathousecanton.com

$8

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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