Best Cranberry Cocktail Recipes Guide




The demand for Cranberry Cocktail recipes really picks up as we move from from early fall to winter and the holidays. The beautiful red of the cranberry just lends itself to a spotlight space around the holidays, but of course you can enjoy these delicious cranberry cocktails year round!


Fresh cranberries are so beautiful and flexible, they are used not only in cocktail recipes, but in savory and sweet dishes and as decoration in greenery around your home.


What Can I Mix Cranberry Juice With?

There are many cranberry juice cocktail recipes that are mixed with light colored spirits like gin, tequila, light rum and vodka, but you will even find cranberry cocktails with darker liquors like spicced rum and bourbon!

Cranberries are especially fun in a wide array of cranberry cocktail recipes to serve when entertaining during the holiday season, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas.


What Kind of Cranberry Juice is Good With Vodka?


Vodka is a clear liquor that easily mixes with many juices or other mixes. Vodka is especially popular with cranberry juice and it’s variations because the juice is a little sweet and it is refreshing. Most cranberry juice cocktails with vodka are served over ice.

There are several cranberry juice flavors and blends – white cranberry juice, cran-grape, cran-watermelon (!!!,) lite cranberry juice with less sugar, diet cranberry juice with artificial sweetener, cranberry juice with lime, pink cranberry juice and pure cranberry juice.



Various glasses filled with fresh cranberries and a variety of cranberry cocktail recipes
A selection of Cranberry Cocktails



Original Cape Cod Cocktail (or Cape Codder)

Just three ounces of cranberry juice + 2 ounces vodka gives makes the classic cranberry cocktail, Cape Cod. But, if you bring a few more juices and mixes to the party, you get these refreshing drinks:

Basic and Best Cocktail Recipes Using Cranberry Juice

Sea Breeze Cocktail

Course: Drinks


  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces grapefruit juice freshly squeezed
  • Garnish: lime wheel


  • Fill a highball glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, mix vodka and juices. Shake until well mixed, pour over ice and garnish with the lime.

The Madras Cocktail


  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • Garnish: lime wedge1 1/2 ounces vodka


  • Add the vodka, the cranberry and the orange juice to a cocktail shaker and shake


Bay Breeze Cocktail

Course: Drinks


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • 3 ​ ounces pineapple juice
  • Garnish: lime wedge


  • Add Ice to a cocktail glass. Add vodka and juices to a cocktail shaker, shake until mixed and pour over ice.

You Can’t Forget Sex In The City’s Cosmo!

Don’t forget the iconic drink made famous in the ‘90’s by the television mega-hit Sex in the City. The Cosmopolitan (aka ‘Cosmo’) is a martini-like drink – Get out your martini shaker and follow these directions:

Cosmopolitan Cocktail

Course: Drinks


  • 2 oz Absolut Citron vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1 oz Fresh lime juice
  • Garnish: Lemon twist


  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well combined and strain into a martini glass.





Christmas is the perfect time to serve cranberry-based cocktails. Its red color and light, refreshing taste pairs well with any white or clear liquor like vodka, rum, or tequila.

But just because it’s not Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t have these great cranberry drinks! 


A cranberry margarita cocktail garnished with fresh cranberries and rosemary



  • 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec or orange liqueur
  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • Sugar for garnish
  • Lime wedge for garnish


  • Rim a highball or margarita glass with sugar and fill with ice.
  • Stir ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and pour into glass.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge.
A cranberry margarita cocktail garnished with fresh cranberries and rosemary
Cranberry Margarita


How Do I Make Cranberry Mimosas?

cranberry mimosa cocktail garnished with fresh cranberries and rosemary sprig

Cranberry Mimosa


  • For a single cocktail
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of cranberry simple syrup
  • 8 - 10 fresh cranberries.
  • 3/4 cup champagne chilled
  • Fresh rosemary for garnish
  • Mix all ingredients in a champagne flute.
  • For a Pitcher
  • 1/2 cup cranberry simple syrup
  • 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 bottle chilled champagne
  • Fresh rosemary garnish


  • Using the same procedure as for a single drink, mix the pitcher of cocktails.
  • Only make one pitcher at the time, because the champagne will lose its’ lovely bubbly if it sits for too long.


cranberry mimosa cocktail garnished with fresh cranberries and rosemary sprig
Cranberry Mimosa


Here, the classic flavor combination of cranberry, orange, and cinnamon is complemented by the unexpected addition of cumin. Add a little vodka for a fun adults-only treat, or skip it for a pleasant mocktail everyone can enjoy. Cheers!


  • 1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¼ c. honey
  • ½ c. water
  • 2 T whole cumin seeds
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 c. unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 2 medium organic oranges each cut into 8 wedges
  • Optional: ½ c. vodka
  • 3 c. sparkling water


  • Add cranberries, honey, water, cumin seeds, and cinnamon sticks to a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, or until the honey is melted and the spices are intensely fragrant.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to a large glass or other non-reactive bowl. Add cranberry juice, orange wedges, and vodka, if using. Refrigerate for several hours to overnight.
  • Once thoroughly chilled, remove from refrigerator and firmly squeeze each orange wedge into the bowl to capture the juice before discarding. Strain mixture with a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids.
  • To serve, fill serving glasses with ice and add enough of the seasoned cranberry juice mixture to fill each glass about 1/3 full. Top off each glass with sparkling water and stir to combine. Taste and sweeten with additional honey, if desired. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and/or rosemary skewers and serve immediately.

Can I Substitute Dried Cranberries for Fresh?


In baking, yes you can! (use one quarter cup less than the recipe for fresh.)


In a cocktail, you will be using bottled juice, so substitution isn’t appropriate. But – some cranberry cocktail recipes call for simple syrup, preferably cranberry simple syrup, and you can substitute there.

What is Simple Syrup?


Simple syrup is just a mixture of water and sugar that has been heated and the sugar is dissolved. It is added to mixtures to make them sweet. When you make a flavored simple syrup it boosts the flavor of the drink.


Check out this cranberry simple syrup recipe using dried cranberries instead of fresh or frozen.


Cranberry Simple Syrup Using Dried Cranberries

Fresh Cranberries on a Rosemary Sprig



  • 1 cup dry cranberries 3.5 ounces
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • In a medium-sized microwave safe bowl, mix the cranberries and hot water.  Cover the bowl and cook at high heat in the microwave for two minutes.  Remove the bowl and let the berries steep for ten minutes.
  • Use an electric immersion blender to puree the berry and water mixture.   The mixture should look like a thick juice. Add sugar and lemon juice.
  • Heat the syrup on a medium-low to medium setting until the mixture begins to bubble and the syrup thickens, stirring to keep from scorching the liquid.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  The syrup will become thicker as it cools.  This makes about 12 ounces of syrup.


Cranberry Simple Syrup from Fresh Cranberries

Various glasses filled with fresh cranberries and a variety of cranberry cocktail recipes


Cooking the cranberries low and slow is essential here. They have a ton of pectin, which makes it very easy to end up with cranberry jelly instead of cranberry syrup. If you find that after you put your syrup in the fridge it sets a little, give it a good shake before using.


  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2.5 cup Fresh Cranberries


  • Add the cranberries to a blender or food processor and combine until nearly liquid.
  • Add the sugar, water and cranberry blend to a medium saucepan and heat over medium.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 1.5 minutes).
  • Remove from the heat and strain the mixture using a sieve or cheesecloth to remove the small cranberry bits.
  • Transfer to a covered jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a week


Cranberries are a favorite part of fall celebrations especially Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Fresh fruit is commonly used in cranberry sauce, cranberry drinks, however, dried cranberries are added to stuffing, casseroles or dessert.

But cranberries are not just for the winter! With most fruits available in SOME form, you can enjoy that tangy cranberry flavor year round.

Cranberries are a very healthy food due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. They are often referred to as a “superfood.” Half a cup of cranberries contains only 25 calories.

The nutrients in cranberries have been linked to a lower risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure.



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