Granita, whether it's lemon, almond or coffee, bursts with the flavors of Italy. We first fell in love with it on a visit last year to Sicily where it's eaten all hours of the day, even for breakfast between a huge brioche roll. Well, if Sicilians can enjoy granita at 9 am,then surely we can at 5 pm!...Here's a holiday-inspired granita cocktail filled with the flavors of the season- cranberries, cinnamon and allspice. We named our summer version of this cocktail "Drunken Nonno." In honor of the Italian Santa, we're calling this one "Buzzed Babbo."
Note: This recipe is actually quite easy to make, so don't be intimidated by the freezing process. An added bonus for entertaining: It can be made days ahead and kept frozen until guests arrive. (Inspired by Domenica Marchetti's Melon Granita in Rustic Italian). —Kees To The Kitchen
Place a 9 by 13 inch metal pan in the freezer until chilled, at least one hour.
In a small saucepan, make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar is completed dissolved. Add the orange zest, cloves, allspice and stick cinnamon. Let the mixture cool until it reaches room temperature, then place in fridge until chilled.
Strain the syrup mixture into a large bowl. (You may discard the zest and spices.) Add the cranberry juice, vodka, orange juice and remaining 2¼ cups water to the bowl and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the chilled pan and place uncovered in the freezer. After 45 minutes, using a fork, scrape the ice crystals away from the side of the pan and stir the mixture thoroughly. Return the pan to the freezer.
Repeat the process every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours. until the drink is completely frozen in fluffy shards. (Note: At this point, the frozen drink can be placed in a plastic container and kept frozen until ready to use.)
Meanwhile for sugar rim, mix sugar and cinnamon and place in saucer. Wet the rims of 6 cocktail glasses with a paper towel soaked in water. Immediately place the rim-side into the sugar. Let stand until ready to serve.
Spoon the mixture into the sugar-rimmed glasses and allow it to slightly melt to a slushy consistency before serving.