This Christmas martini is easy to make and perfect for holiday festivities! It’s a cranberry cocktail that’s sweet tart and drinkable.

Christmas martini

Looking for a memorable signature drink for the holidays? This Christmas martini is where it’s at: sweet tart, drinkable and beautifully festive! For years the Poinsettia has been our go-to for the holidays, but this year we wanted to spring for something new. Turns out, a festive martini is the perfect fit for entertaining. It’s easy to mix up and the color is beautifully brilliant from the cranberry juice. Here’s everything you need to know about this stunning holiday drink!

Also try: Christmas Margarita

What’s in a Christmas martini?

The Christmas martini recipe is a flavored vodka martini that’s made with cranberry juice. In fact, it’s actually more like a Cosmo than a martini! The Classic Martini is made with gin and dry vermouth, though vodka sprang up as a popular swap for gin. Over time, the vodka version became a blank slate for adding all sorts of fruity variations. In fact, we’ve got lots of types of martini recipes, from pomegranate to cucumber to ginger!

Here’s what’s in this Christmas martini:

  • Cranberry juice: 100% unsweetened (see below)
  • Vodka
  • Cointreau
  • Lemon juice
  • Simple syrup (or maple syrup)
Christmas martini

Use unsweetened cranberry juice! Or skip the simple syrup

This Christmas martini uses unsweetened 100% cranberry juice to make its beautifully brilliant color. But be careful when you shop: it’s easy to find sweetened cranberry juice too. Here’s what to know about the two types:

  • Sweetened cranberry juice is sometimes labeled as cranberry juice cocktail. This type of cranberry juice has added sugars and sometimes high-fructose corn syrup as sweetener. It is the kind used for classic cranberry cocktails of the past, like the Vodka Cranberry and others.
  • 100% cranberry juice is now easily available at your local grocery store. The benefit of this type? The color is brighter and you can sweeten your drink to taste. We use this type for all our cranberry cocktails.

What if all you can find is sweetened? Use half of the simple syrup in the recipe below — or even add it to taste.

How to make a Christmas martini (basic steps)

The Christmas martini is easy to make. All you’ll need is a cocktail shaker and a martini glass! If you’re making this for a crowd, you can also mix up 2 drinks at once in a single cocktail shaker. Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe):

  1. Shake: Add the vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau, lemon juice, and simple syrup to the cocktail shaker. Shake for 15 seconds until cold.
  2. Strain: Strain the drink into a glass and serve!
  3. Garnish: Here’s the fun part! To make it look Christmas-y, use fresh cranberries and a rosemary sprig as a garnish. In these photographs, we placed the cranberries on a cocktail pick but you can also place them directly into the drink.
Christmas martini

Serving a crowd? Make a pitcher!

Are you entertaining for the holidays and want to make lots of Christmas martini drinks at once? You can make a pitcher and then pour it into martini glasses. Here’s how to make 8 drinks:

  • In a pitcher, mix together 1 cup vodka, 1 cup 100% cranberry juice, ½ cup Cointreau, ½ cup fresh lemon juice, and 5 tablespoons simple syrup.
  • Add 3 handfuls of ice and stir until cold. Pour into glasses and serve.

About Cointreau, plus a substitute

You’ll need Cointreau for this Christmas martini. What is it? Cointreau is an orange liqueur with a beautiful orange perfume flavor. It’s higher quality than Triple Sec, with a more robust and balanced flavor. It’s best known for being used in the Classic Margarita.

If you buy a bottle, try all our Best Cointreau Drinks! If you don’t have it, you can substitute any orange liqueur like Triple Sec, or a higher end liqueur like Grand Marnier.

Best Christmas martini recipe

More holiday cocktails

Want to make more holiday cocktails? We’ve got you covered. There are so many great Christmas cocktails to try. Here are some of our favorites:

When to serve a Christmas martini

The Christmas martini is perfect for winter and fall occasions! It works well as a:

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Christmas martini

The Christmas Martini


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Christmas martini is easy to make and perfect for holiday festivities! It’s a cranberry cocktail that’s sweet tart and drinkable. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) vodka**
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) 100% cranberry juice (not sweetened*)
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) Cointreau
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons simple syrup or maple syrup*
  • For the garnish: cranberries, rosemary sprig

Instructions

  1. Place the vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau, lemon juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with cranberries and rosemary and serve. 

Notes

*If all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice, use half the simple syrup quantity (or add it to taste).

**How to make 8 drinks for a crowd: In a pitcher, mix together 1 cup vodka, 1 cup 100% cranberry juice, ½ cup Cointreau, ½ cup fresh lemon juice, and 5 tablespoons simple syrup. Add 3 handfuls of ice and stir until cold. Pour into glasses and serve. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Christmas martini

More types of martinis

There are so many tasty vodka martinis to taste! Try them all:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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