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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving Prep: Cranberry Slush

cranberry orange slush vert web

Everyone seems pretty excited about the Cranberry Slush on my menu, so I think I better get the recipe out there!  Plus, it’s one of the items you can make way ahead of time, so it’s perfect for this week’s planning.  In fact, you need to make it at least 1-2 days ahead so it has time to freeze.

It’s my Great-Grandma Blomquist’s recipe.  Everyone in my family, from coast to coast, serves it on Thanksgiving.  Definitely a family tradition and one I’m excited to share!

Cranberry Slush (Original Recipe)
This is a Blomquist family tradition (my mom’s family). Can’t have Thanksgiving without it! Make sure you make the frozen cranberry stuff a day or two ahead and have enough room in your freezer to freeze it. This is the original version, but I always use the Quick recipe (see below).
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 24 servings
  • 1 pound cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 quarts cranberry juice
  • 2 quarts ginger ale
  1. Cook cranberries, sugar and water until thickens. Run through a collander. Add 1 quart cranberry juice. Freeze.
  2. When ready to serve, mash up frozen cranberry mixture with 1 quart cranberry juice and 2 quarts ginger ale.

Cranberry Slush (Quick Recipe)
[i]This is a Blomquist family tradition (my mom’s family). Can’t have Thanksgiving without it! Make sure you make the frozen cranberry stuff a day or two ahead and have enough room in your freezer to freeze it. This is the Quick recipe that I always use.
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 24 servings
  • 4 cans whole cranberry sauce
  • 3 quarts cranberry juice
  • 2 quarts ginger ale
  1. Run whole cranberry sauce through a colander (pictured here) or press through a fine sieve with a large spoon (pictured here) over a large bowl. Keep pressing until you just have skins left in the colander/sieve.
  2. Add 2 quarts of the cranberry juice, mix well, then freeze until hardened. You need to make this part at least 1 day ahead of time. I freeze the juice in a flat storage containers so it’s easy to break up later.
  3. When ready to serve, mash up frozen cranberry mixture with 1 quart cranberry sauce and 2 quarts ginger ale.
For those of you who like to make it "interesting"...feel free to spike your slush. I have a few friends who evolved dear old grandmother's recipe with a little vodka and were quite pleased with the results. Grandma's rollin' in her grave!

cranberry slush sieve sideview web

cranberry orange slush storage |


  1. Mmmm. I’m totally making this. My brother-in-law does not drink and I wanted to have something more special for him than root beer. This is perfect! 🙂

  2. 2

    I’m excited to try this but just have one question. In the quick recipe when you say to mash the frozen cranberries with 1 quart cranberry sauce, you really mean juice right? Also, do you have to use a very fine collander like the one pictured…does it make a difference. Thanks…as you can tell, I’m a VERY, VERY beginner cook!:)

  3. 3
    Jane Maynard

    good catch, gretchen. I fixed the recipe – yes, it’s juice! 🙂 the post is correct now.

    the finer the collander the better it is…you basically are trying to get the skins out of the mix. before I had this fancy collander, I used a tupperware collander with a bigger holes and it seemed to work, although the set up I have pictured is by far the easiest and fastest way to do it.

    good luck!

  4. 4

    I always use cranberry ginger ale. I also add the liquids (ginger ale and cranberry juice) a little at a time (but in correct proportions) so that I can get a very thick slush, which is my preference. Sometimes if you add all the liquid all at once to the mashed frozen mixture it will not be very slushy.

    If you live where it is cold you can set the mixed slush outside and it will stay cold and slushy until the calls for seconds…..

    Grandma is smiling from on high – she loves it that so many people are going to enjoy this family recipe (even the spiked version would make her smile!)

  5. 5

    We like a raspberry jello – substituting part of the water with applesauce (the cold water) and adding raspberries (frozen or fresh) and putting sour cream on top. We hardly ever eat jell-o but this is tasty for T-day or C-day.

  6. 6

    My Mom is so excited that I will be making this. She LOVES cranberries and even picks/gathers/harvests (I’m not sure what correct term is…) her own some years at a local “bog”. She is the only person I know who eats them like grapes!

  7. 7
    Jane Maynard

    someone asked how much this serves…we’ve estimated about 25 6-oz servings. that’s a guess, but should be pretty close! 🙂

  8. What a great recipe Jane. So unique and perfect for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing it!!

  9. 9

    May I ask, what kind of alcohol did your friends use to make it “interesting”? 🙂 I’m guessing vodka? Thanks!

    • Jane Maynard

      I am finding out for you NOW. 🙂 I’ll either comment or my friend Jen will…want to check with her so I’m sure I give you the right info! 🙂

  10. 10

    Hi Nic-

    Yes! Vodka 🙂 Add to taste and a little squeeze of lime is nice, too! Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. 11

    This sounds DELICIOUS! Definitely making it…with vodka…after the kidlets go to bed. 🙂

  12. 12

    Made this for Thanksgiving dinner. It was such a BIG success! I loved that you could have it with or without alcohol. And I loved how much it made! Definitely going to make this again.

  13. Oh wow, this is even better than the cranberry “cupcakes” that I made instead of the usual cranberry sauce. I’m going to make this tonight since I have all the ingredients that I need. Thanks, Jane!

  14. 14

    I made this last year, stumbling upon your blog. EVERYONE loved it. Me too. I’m assigned to make it again this year.

  15. 15

    Curious as to what you freeze the cranberry mixture in and also is the end result chunks of mixture floating in juice or are you ‘mashing’ it into a smoothie consistency type deal? Forgive me for the beginner 101 questions! Sounds delicious so I want to get it right.

    • Jane Maynard

      no, these are great questions!

      I freeze the mixture in tupperware containers that keep the stuff relatively flat…does that make sense? Shallow, wide containers are good…it’s just a lot easier to break the pieces out once it’s frozen. So, I have a few different random containers that I use. I would just avoid using one, giant container for all the fluid…at least break it up into smaller containers, it will be a lot easier to work with. Also, if you use something with a lid, if you don’t use it all on Thanksgiving Day, you can keep it in the freezer and mix up slush later!

      No chunks, you mash it all up so it’s slushy, smoothie-ish. I use my pastry blender, my mom uses her potato masher.

      hope that answers your questions – let me know if it doesn’t! 🙂


  16. 16
    julie :)

    Does the quick version taste just as good as the original?? becuase I don’t mind spending the extra energy with the original if it will pay off…?

    • Jane Maynard

      I don’t even know what the original version tastes like, but I would bet big money there’s no difference…well, maybe there is, but seriously, the quick version is FABULOSO. 🙂 I would just go quick. I think I posted the original because I felt like I SHOULD share great-grandma’s original recipe 🙂

  17. 17

    This looks FAB! It’s a little late to add it to the menu this year, but perhaps I’ll whip some up for Christmas dinner this year 🙂

  18. 18

    Could you use the jellied cranberry sauce instead of the whole cranberry sauce (to save time)?

    • Jane Maynard

      hi suzanne! I talked to my mom about it – no one has used the jellied before and I’m not totally sure what the conversion would be – probably about equal parts jellied to whole. we’re thinking the flavor probably will be deeper and richer with the whole sauce, but I don’t think it could hurt to try the jellied if you really want to. if you do, let us know if it’s good!

  19. Miss Jane ty ty ty what a brilliant gma recipe. We dont partake in alcohol due to health issues but you have given me a wonderful recipe for our Thanksgiving dinner. God bless you honey and again thank you so much

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