Cranberry juice makes brilliant and tasty drinks! Here all the best cranberry cocktail recipes, from Cosmos to Madras to the laid-back Sea Breeze.
Looking for stunning and refreshing cocktail recipes? Grab a bottle of cranberry juice! This bright red juice makes some of the best mixed drinks out there. They’re vibrant in color and sweet tart in flavor. There’s everything from the sophisticated bright pink Cosmopolitan cocktail, to the laid-back Sea Breeze, to the no-frills Vodka Cranberry. Here’s a list of our very favorite cranberry cocktail recipes! But first: a few notes on the type of cranberry juice to use!
Cranberry juice vs cranberry juice cocktail
While most traditional versions of a vodka cranberry use sweetened cranberry juice, all of these cranberry cocktail recipes use 100% cranberry juice! What’s the difference:
- Cranberry juice is unsweetened. It tastes tart and is labeled as “100% juice”.
- Cranberry juice cocktail is sweetened, often with added sugars or high-fructose corn syrup. Most traditional versions of cranberry cocktail recipes use this; even if they specify “cranberry juice” in the recipe, it often means cranberry juice cocktail.
These cranberry cocktail recipes use unsweetened juice!
If most cranberry cocktails use the sweetened version of cranberry juice, why use the tart unsweetened juice here?
- It has less sugar. Use 100% juice and the drink has less sugar overall.
- You can customize the sweetness. To balance the flavor, you can add back sweetness with maple syrup or simple syrup.
- Makes naturally sweet drinks (no refined sugar added). Alex and I like using maple syrup in our cranberry cocktails because it provides a gentler sweetness. We use maple syrup to sweeten lots of our cocktails, from the gin fizz to whiskey sour to our classic daiquiri.
- The color is brighter. The color is bright pink because 100% juice has a deeper color.
And now…the best cranberry cocktail recipes!
More great cocktail recipes
Looking for more? Here are a few more of our favorite cocktails:
- French 75 Cocktail Here’s a classic cocktail made with gin and lemon. It’s sophisticated and perfect for celebrations of all kinds!
- Gin Fizz Cocktail This gin fix is sweet, tangy, and has a frothy egg white foam topping.
- St Germain Champagne Cocktail This one mixes elderflower liqueur with champagne, lemon, and gin. A sophisticated bubbly drink perfect for any occasion!
What’s in a cosmopolitan cocktail? It’s easier to make than you think! This vibrant pink drink is perfect for celebrations of all kinds.
- 2 tablespoons vodka (or citron vodka)*
- 2 tablespoons 100% cranberry juice (do not use sweetened!)
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 lime wedge
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or simple syrup)**
- For the garnish: lime wheel (optional)***
- Place the vodka, cranberry juice, cointreau, lemon juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds until cold. Strain the liquid into a martini glass.
- Squeeze with the lime wedge and serve, garnished with a lime wheel if desired.
*If you have it, use citron vodka for the most authentic Cosmo: in this case you can omit the lemon juice. In our tests we found it was just as tasty to use standard vodka with lemon juice, so you don’t have to buy another type of vodka.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: Cocktails
Keywords: Cranberry Cocktail Recipes, Cosmo Recipe, Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe,
Last updated: October 2020
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.