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This rum and cranberry juice cocktail is sweet tart and perfectly balanced! This easy-to-drink cocktail takes just a few minutes to whip up.

Rum and cranberry juice cocktail

Crisp sweet tart cranberry cocktails are some of our favorites around here, from the easy vodka and cranberry to the festive Cosmo. Interestingly, most cocktails with cranberry feature either vodka or champagne. The other day we ran out of vodka (yes, it’s true!), so we decided to mix up the alcohol. Meet the Rum and Cranberry Juice cocktail! It’s beautifully tart, balanced with simple syrup and tangy lime. This easy cocktail takes just a few minutes to whip up: it’s almost like a rum spin on a Cosmo. Here’s how to do it!

What’s in this rum and cranberry juice cocktail?

Well, the main ingredients are included in the title! This rum and cranberry juice cocktail features…rum and cranberry! But it’s got a few more ingredients to round out the flavor. Sure, you can throw rum and cranberry juice into a highball glass with ice. But it’s much more delicious balanced out with a few flavors. Here’s what you need for this cocktail:

  • Unsweetened cranberry juice (see more below)
  • Light rum
  • Lime juice
  • Cointreau (orange liqueur)
  • Simple syrup
Rum and cranberry juice

Use unsweetened cranberry juice (or a substitute)

Now, listen up! All cranberry juice is not created equal. Here’s what to know:

  • Sweetened cranberry juice: Classic cranberry drinks like the Vodka Cranberry were made with sweetened cranberry juice. It’s often labeled as cranberry juice cocktail, which includes sugar and sometimes high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Unsweetened cranberry juice is what we prefer for cranberry cocktails. It’s also labeled as 100% cranberry juice. The flavor is very sweet tart, and the color is very vibrant.

Important: This rum and cranberry juice drink is optimized for unsweetened cranberry juice. Is all you can find sweetened cranberry juice (review the ingredient list or see if it’s called ‘cocktail? You can still make this drink: just cut the simple syrup in half.

The type of rum to use

This cranberry and rum drink is made with white or light rum. Light and dark rum are actually quite different! Because this drink is light and fruity, light rum works well here. Here’s a breakdown of the differences:

  • Light rum or white rum is clear. It has a smooth, sweet flavor and is used in daiquiris and piña coladas.
  • Dark rum is aged longer than white rum. It has a dark color and a rich, developed flavor with caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla notes. Dark rum is used in drinks like the Dark and Stormy and spiced drinks like hot buttered rum.
Rum and cranberry juice

How to make this rum and cranberry juice cocktail

This rum and cranberry juice cocktail is a classic “shaken” cocktail: you’ll simply shake it all up in a cocktail shaker. Here are the main steps:

  1. Shake in a cocktail shakerPlace all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, then fill it with ice and shake! (Don’t have a cocktail shaker? Use a mason jar!)
  2. Strain into a glass. Strain the drink into a stemmed cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish: The drink looks lovely with the contrasting green of a lime slice!

More cranberry drinks

 Cranberry juice is perfect for cocktails because of its bright reddish pink hue! Here are a more cranberry cocktails you can mix up to use up your bottle:

Rum and cranberry juice

When to serve a rum and cranberry juice cocktail

This rum and cranberry juice cocktail is fun and festive with its bright pink color! It’s great as a:

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Rum and cranberry juice

Rum and Cranberry Juice Cocktail

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


This rum and cranberry juice cocktail is sweet tart and perfectly balanced! This easy-to-drink cocktail takes just a few minutes to whip up.


  • 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) light or white rum
  • 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) unsweetened 100% cranberry juice
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) Cointreau
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lime juice
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) simple syrup or pure maple syrup*
  • For the garnish: lime slice (optional)


  1. Add the rum, cranberry juice, Cointreau, lime juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake until cold. 
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Serve garnished with a lime slice.


*If you can only find sweetened cranberry juice, use half the simple syrup (or less, if you like drinks on the tart side).

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

Keywords: Rum and cranberry juice

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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