Autumn has firmly entrenched itself up here in the Pacific Northwest. Snowcapped the mountains, and the trees that line the highways release glinting flurries of orange and gold leaves every time the wind shakes its way through. It's cold enough now to warrant a fire in the evenings, and sometimes the morning too.
It's this time of year that I keep something warm to drink at the ready: Spiced Butter Tea in the morning, Mulled Wine with friends in the evening, hot cider with the kids.
So, What's Cranberry Mors?
Lately, I've pulled Cranberry Mors into our routine. A traditional Russian drink made by simmering tart berries with honey-sweetened water until they burst, mors tastes mildly tart and sweet.
Though often served cold, I prefer to serve ours infused with sweet spices and warm almost like a hot, mulled cranberry cider.
Tradition and folklore hold that mors, and particularly cranberry mors, helps to buffer the immune system against illnesses like colds and flu and to help digestion when enjoyed before eating. There could be some truth to that as all tart berries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.
Why Use Whole Cranberries (and not just juice)
You might wonder about using whole cranberries rather than using only their juice. Here's the trick: when cooked, cranberries release pectin, a plant fiber that gives mors a delightful, almost silky texture; moreover, pectin is positively loaded with benefits of its own.
Researchers have found that pectin helps you to feel full longer (source) and that diets rich in pectin (and other sources of dietary fiber) support heart health and more optimal cholesterol levels (source). You can extract more of the berries' goodness when using the traditional method for making mors by simmering the berries in water, straining them, and sweetening the resulting liquid.