This cranberry martini is a fun and refreshing spin on the vodka martini starring cranberry juice, Cointreau and lemon!

Cranberry martini

Here’s a tasty, sweet tart spin on the vodka martini that you’ve got to try: the Cranberry Martini! It’s refreshing, zingy and perfectly balanced, starring Cointreau orange liqueur and fresh lemon juice. If you think this drink bears a striking resemblance to the classic cocktail the Cosmopolitan, you’re right! Our new and improved Cosmo is a favorite in our 200+ cocktail recipes, so prepare to be impressed with this one. Here’s how to make one stunning and simple cranberry martini!

What’s in a cranberry martini?

The cranberry martini is a spin on the flavored vodka martini: which is really just a martini in name only. The Classic Martini is dry, made with gin and vermouth. But there’s a whole family of vodka martinis that are fruity and herbal: they barely bear resemblance to the original drink. In fact, we’ve got lots of types of martini recipes, from ginger to pomegranate to cucumber.

There are two vodka martinis that make the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, meaning they have official definitions (the lemon drop martini and the espresso martini, if you must know). The remaining vodka martinis are free-form, and the ingredients depend on the bartender. Here’s what’s in our spin on the cranberry martini:

Cranberry martini recipe

Unsweetened cranberry juice vs sweetened

This cranberry martini recipe is optimized to use 100% unsweetened cranberry juice. It’s easy to find at your local grocery these days, but be careful when you’re picking it out from the shelf. There are several different types of cranberry juice you’ll see:

  • Sweetened cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail has added sugars and sometimes high-fructose corn syrup as sweetener. It is the type used for classic cranberry cocktails of the past, like the Vodka Cranberry and others. We prefer…
  • 100% cranberry juice is the preferred option. The benefits of this type? The color is brighter and you can sweeten your drink to taste.

What if all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice? Easy. Just use half of the simple syrup in the recipe below — or even just add it to taste!

Sugar rim optional (here’s how to do it!)

This cranberry martini we served with a sugar rim, just to add an extra flair. A benefit of the rim? The sugar also helps to balance out the tart flavor: but it’s not required! This type of rim is similar to the presentation of a lemon drop martini. Here are our tips to making the perfect rim:

  1. Use superfine sugar if possible. If you have access to it, superfine sugar sticks to a glass easier than granulated sugar. But you can use granulated if it’s all you have.
  2. Take a lemon wedge and cut a notch in the middle. Then slide it around the rim of the glass. This moistens the rim without having to use your fingers!
  3. Rim the outside edge only. Spread the sugar on a plate in an even layer. Tilt the glass into the sugar so that it sticks to the outside edge. Shake off any loose sugar into the sink.
Cranberry martini

How to make a cranberry martini (basic steps)

Once you’ve rimmed the glass: making a cranberry martini is very simple! It’s a classic shaken cocktail, so all you have to do is shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Here’s what to do:

  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: If you’d like, you can add fresh cranberries to the glass, but it doesn’t need it. A lemon wedge on the glass rim also looks fun.

As I noted above…astute cocktail drinker will note that this drink is very similar the classic Cosmo: which indeed it is! There are several related cranberry drinks and vodka martinis to this one:

Cranberry martini

When to serve this cranberry martini

A cranberry martini works before dinner, after dinner, or anytime in between. Serve it as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Afternoon cocktail
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Girls or guys night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Cranberry martini

Easy Cranberry Martini


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

Description

This cranberry martini is a fun and refreshing spin on the vodka martini starring cranberry juice, Cointreau and lemon! 


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*
  • Granulated or superfine sugar, for the rim (optional)
  • For the garnish: fresh cranberries, lemon wedge

Instructions

  1. Cut a notch in a lemon wedge, then run the lemon around the rim of a martini glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of superfine sugar.
  2. Place the vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau, lemon juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds until cold.
  3. Strain the drink into a cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with cranberries and a lemon wedge 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: American

Keywords: Cranberry martini

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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