Cranberry Cocktails: Great Shaken or Stirred

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Cranberry Cocktail
Photo by Laure Noverraz on Unsplash.com

Cranberries – the small, tart, red berries most commonly brought out during the holiday season – pack a wonderful punch that makes for a great addition to many mixed drinks. Whether you use fresh cranberries or pre-made cranberry cocktails, expect to see a lush red color that is guaranteed to catch the eyes of many an adventurous party goer.

Keep reading to meet some fabulous drinks sure to make a splash at your next celebration.

Cranberry Cocktail
Photo by Sunorwind on Unsplash.com

5 Cranberry Cocktails You Can Make at Home:

1. Vodka Cranberry

Vodka and cranberry are two flavors that complement each other swimmingly. In fact, it’s rare to find a cocktail that contains cranberry that doesn’t also have vodka on its list of ingredients. A vodka cranberry sometimes called a Cape Cod or vodka cran, is a simple and classic cocktail that makes the best of this popular pairing. All you need is:

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 5 oz of cranberry juice

Just fill a highball glass with ice then pour in the vodka and cranberry juice, then stir lightly. Finish by garnishing with a lime wheel.

Some people find that pure cranberry juice is too strong a flavor for their palette, so cranberry cocktails can be used as a lighter substitute.

2. The Madras

Madras is a lightweight plaid patterned cotton that happens to a mainstay of fashion in coastal areas like Cape Cod, which may be why it lends its name to this cocktail, a close cousin of the vodka cranberry or Cape Cod. This drink has all the same ingredients as a vodka cranberry, plus a splash of orange juice for a fuller flavor. To make one you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 oz orange juice

As with a vodka cranberry, fill a highball glass with ice and pour in all the ingredients, stirring to combine. Garnish with a lime wheel.

3. Fizzy Cranberry Cocktail

A further play on the classic vodka cranberry, this cocktail adds the spicy taste of ginger and a bit of fizz. You’ll need:

  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz ginger ale

Pour cranberry juice, vodka, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled and combined. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and top with ginger ale to taste. Garnish with a wedge of lime and a few fresh cranberries.

For those who prefer an even strong ginger flavor, try using ginger beer instead of ginger ale.

4. White Cranberry Martini

For holiday fêtes that want a high-class air, try serving up these cranberry martinis. This cocktail calls for a bit of simple syrup, which is surprisingly easy to make at home. All the ingredients are:

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 3 oz white cranberry juice
  • 1/3 oz simple syrup
  • 1/3 oz lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled and mixed. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge and fresh cranberries.

5. Cranberry Smash

For a cocktail that’s sure to impress, try a cranberry smash. Part of the prep for this cocktail involves creating a homemade cranberry sauce and rosemary simple syrup to provide the body of the drink.

For the simple syrup you’ll need:

  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Add the rosemary, water, and sugar to a saucepan and heat the mixture until the sugar is fully dissolved. Allow it to cool then strain out the rosemary.

Once the simple syrup is complete, gather:

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/3 oz lime juice
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • soda water

Muddle the cranberry sauce – store-bought or homemade – in a cocktail shaker, then add gin, rosemary simple syrup, and lime juice. Shake until combined and chilled and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and top with soda water. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a few fresh cranberries.

There are many more exciting cranberry cocktails out there to try, so you’re sure to find one to love.

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