Madras Cocktail

The Madras cocktail is a tangy and refreshing, starring vodka, cranberry and orange juice. Everyone should know how to make this quick and easy drink!

Madras cocktail

Looking for a quick and easy drink? Make yourself a Madras cocktail! This brilliant pink vodka drink is zingy and refreshing, featuring cranberry juice for tartness and color. It takes no time at all to make: just mix it right in the glass and serve on ice! Alex and I have been enjoying the Madras lately as a fast cocktail: we had some cranberry juice left over from making Cosmos and Poinsettias and found this way to use it! Keep reading for the recipe.

Looking for more inspiration? Our top 20 cocktails you should know.

Madras cocktail

What’s a Madras cocktail?

The Madras only uses a few ingredients and one type of liquor: so it’s perfect for easy entertaining! It’s very close to a Cape Codder (or, vodka cranberry), with the addition of orange juice. It’s also very close to a Cosmopolitan cocktail, which has Cointreau and lemon. While it’s not an IBA official cocktail, its cousin the Sea Breeze is (close enough! see below). Here’s what’s in a Madras cocktail:

  • Vodka
  • Cranberry juice
  • Orange juice
  • Spritz of lime

What I wanted to know was, what’s the origin of the Madras cocktail? Most sources claim it was invented in the 1940’s. Popular origin is that the name was for the brightly colored plaid cloth that originated in Madras, India: now called Chennai. Whatever the case: it makes a tangy mixed drink that’s very easy to sip!

A few more orange juice cocktails? The Amaretto Stone Sour, Tequila Sunrise, and of course the always popular Mimosa.

Pouring juice into mixed drink

A Madras cocktail with unsweetened cranberry juice

Most traditional versions of a Madras cocktail use sweetened cranberry juice. But for our version, we use 100% cranberry juice (unsweetened)! There are lots of variations of cranberry juice on the shelf, and many of them have added sugar. Bottles labeled cranberry juice cocktail have added sugars or high-fructose corn syrup for extra sweetness. Why use unsweetened cranberry juice?

  • It has less sugar, and you can customize the sweetness. Use 100% juice and you can customize the sweetness of the drink by adding maple syrup or simple syrup. If you’d like, you can make it more tart or a little more sweet. Alex and I prefer using maple syrup because it provides a gentler sweetness.
  • The color is brighter. The color of this Madras is bright pink because 100% juice has a deeper color.
Madras cocktail

Change it up! Make the Madras into…

There are a few drinks related to the Madras that are tasty as well! Here’s how to turn the Madras cocktail into the following drinks:

  • Vodka Cranberry (Cape Codder): Omit the orange juice and lime
  • Sea Breeze: Switch orange juice to grapefruit juice
  • Bay Breeze: Switch orange juice to pineapple juice
  • Cosmo: Halve the cranberry, add Cointreau, replace the orange with half as much lemon juice.
Madras

When to serve a Madras cocktail

This Madras cocktail is fun and celebratory. It’s great as a:

  • Bridal shower drink or bachelorette party drink
  • Girls night drink
  • Summer drink
  • Gender reveal party drink (a fantastic pink drink!)
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Brunch drink (Mother’s Day, etc)
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Madras cocktail

Madras Cocktail (Quick & Easy Mixed Drink!)


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

Description

The Madras cocktail is a tangy and refreshing, starring vodka, cranberry and orange juice. Everyone should know how to make this quick and easy drink!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 4 tablespoons 100% unsweetened cranberry juice (do not use sweetened!)
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or simple syrup*
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 lime wedge (plus additional for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Fill a glass with ice. Pour in the vodka, cranberry juice and syrup and stir with bar spoon.
  2. Pour in the orange juice and squeeze the lime wedge on top. Garnish with an additional lime.

Notes

*If all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice, omit the syrup.

  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Madras Cocktail

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

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

Cookbook Author and photographer

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.

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