Vodka Cranberry Recipe

Vodka Cranberry Recipe

Smooth, sweet, and slightly tart—the vodka cranberry, also known as the Cape Cod or cranberry vodka cocktail, is a classic drink that has stood the test of time. With its vibrant red hue and refreshing taste, it's no wonder that this concoction has remained a popular choice among cocktail enthusiasts for decades. If you're a vodka lover searching for the perfect vodka cranberry recipe, look no further! In this article, we'll explore the history of this iconic drink, break down the preparation process, and even offer tips on how to make the perfect vodka cranberry cocktail every time. Cheers!

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History of the Vodka Cranberry

The vodka cranberry's origins can be traced back to the 1940s when cranberry juice started gaining popularity as a cocktail mixer. The drink quickly became a favorite among New England vacationers who frequented the Cape Cod area—hence the nickname, Cape Codder. The vodka cranberry rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s as part of the clear liquor trend, and its popularity continues today.

Ingredients and Measurements

A traditional vodka cranberry calls for a basic, yet tasty combination of ingredients. Here's what you'll need:

  • 1.5 ounces (45 ml) of vodka
  • 4 ounces (120 ml) of cranberry juice
  • Fresh lime wedge, for garnish (optional)
  • Fresh cranberries, for garnish (optional)
  • Ice

Choosing Your Vodka

When it comes to creating the perfect vodka cranberry, the quality of your vodka matters. Opt for a mid-range to a high-quality brand to ensure a smooth taste that complements the tartness of the cranberry juice. Some popular brands for this cocktail include Absolut, Tito's, Grey Goose, and Belvedere.

Cranberry Juice vs. Cranberry Juice Cocktail

It’s essential to understand the difference between pure cranberry juice and cranberry juice cocktail when creating your vodka cranberry. Cranberry juice cocktail typically contains added sugars and other fruit juices, whereas pure cranberry juice does not. Most vodka cranberry recipes utilize cranberry juice cocktail, as the natural sweetness balances the tartness of the cranberries. Feel free to use either based on your flavor preferences or experiment with both to find the perfect balance for your palette.


Making a vodka cranberry is simple and requires minimal bartending experience. Follow these easy steps to create your cocktail:

  1. Fill a highball glass or tumbler with ice.
  2. Pour the vodka over the ice.
  3. Top with the cranberry juice cocktail, leaving a little room for garnish if desired.
  4. Stir your cocktail gently with a bar spoon or a long spoon to mix the ingredients.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge and/or fresh cranberries if desired.

Vodka Cranberry Recipe Example:

Variations and Tips

The vodka cranberry may be a classic cocktail, but there's always room for experimentation! Here are a few fun variations and tips to try the next time you're mixing up a batch:

  • Flavored vodka: Swap the traditional vodka for a flavored variety, such as citrus, vanilla, or raspberry, to add a fruity twist to your drink.
  • Festive garnishes: Get creative with your garnishes! Skewer fresh cranberries on a cocktail pick or add a sprig of rosemary for an upscale holiday presentation.
  • Introduce bubbles: Top off your vodka cranberry with a splash of club soda or ginger ale for a refreshing and bubbly variation.
  • Go tropical: Transform your vodka cranberry into a tropical delight by replacing the cranberry juice with pineapple juice and adding a splash of coconut cream.

And there you have it—the perfect vodka cranberry recipe! Simple to make and bursting with flavor, this classic cocktail is sure to be a hit at your next gathering. Now that you've mastered the vodka cranberry, why not explore other amazing vodka-based drinks? Check out Vodka Doctors for more delicious recipes, brand recommendations, and expert tips to elevate your cocktail game. Don't forget to share this article with your fellow vodka enthusiasts, so they too can enjoy the perfect vodka cranberry every time. Cheers!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Vodka Cranberry?

A Vodka Cranberry, also known as a Cape Codder or simply Cape Cod, is a classic cocktail made with vodka and cranberry juice. It is a popular drink for its simple yet refreshing taste.

What type of vodka should I use for this recipe?

Any good-quality vodka that you enjoy will work well for a Vodka Cranberry. Many prefer a top-shelf brand for a smoother taste, but a mid-range vodka will also make a delightful cocktail.

Is there a specific type of cranberry juice I should use?

Pure cranberry juice gives the best flavor, but it can be quite tart. Many people opt for cranberry juice cocktail, which is sweeter and more palatable for a mixed drink.

Can I make a Vodka Cranberry with fresh cranberries?

While fresh cranberries make an excellent garnish, cranberry juice is preferred to achieve the correct flavor profile and consistency for the cocktail.

How do I make a Vodka Cranberry?

To make a standard Vodka Cranberry, simply mix vodka and cranberry juice in a glass filled with ice. A common ratio is 1 part vodka to 2 parts cranberry juice, but adjust to your taste.

Is it important what kind of glass I use for a Vodka Cranberry?

Typically, a Vodka Cranberry is served in a highball glass, but any glass will do. The important thing is that the drink is served chilled, and a glass that can accommodate ice is ideal.

Can I add other ingredients to my Vodka Cranberry?

Absolutely! Many like to add a squeeze of lime juice for a zesty twist, or soda water for a spritz. Feel free to personalize your cocktail.

How can I adjust the strength of my Vodka Cranberry?

To adjust the strength, simply vary the ratio of vodka to cranberry juice. More juice will make a lighter drink, while more vodka will increase the alcohol content.

Are there any dietary considerations with a Vodka Cranberry?

Vodka Cranberry can be quite low in gluten and may be suitable for those on a gluten-free diet—assuming the vodka is gluten-free. However, it is not low in calories or sugar, due to the cranberry juice cocktail often used.

What's the best way to garnish a Vodka Cranberry?

A typical garnish is a wedge of lime or a few fresh cranberries. Mint leaves can also add a fresh touch to your cocktail.

How do I make a pitcher of Vodka Cranberry for a party?

To make a pitcher, maintain the same ratio of vodka to cranberry juice and multiply by the number of servings needed. Add the mixture to a pitcher filled with ice and stir well.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of a Vodka Cranberry?

Yes, simply omit the vodka for a refreshing cranberry mocktail. Add some soda water to replace the bite of the alcohol if desired.

Is the Vodka Cranberry a sweet or tart cocktail?

This depends on the type of cranberry juice used. Pure cranberry juice will result in a tart cocktail, whereas cranberry juice cocktail will yield a sweeter drink.

Can I use flavored vodka in a Vodka Cranberry?

Yes, flavored vodka can add an interesting twist to your cocktail. Popular flavors include citrus or raspberry for an enhanced taste.

What is the calorie count for a Vodka Cranberry?

The calorie count can vary greatly depending on the specific ingredients used, but an average Vodka Cranberry cocktail may contain between 140 to 200 calories per serving.

How long does it take to make a Vodka Cranberry?

A Vodka Cranberry is quick and easy to make, typically taking less than a minute to mix together once you have your ingredients ready.

What is the history of the Vodka Cranberry?

The Vodka Cranberry, or Cape Codder, has origins in the 1940s when vodka began to grow in popularity in the United States. Its name references the cranberry cultivation in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Can I make this cocktail ahead of time?

While you can mix the ingredients ahead of time, it's best to serve the Vodka Cranberry freshly mixed to enjoy the crisp and chilled texture. If pre-mixing, leave out the ice until serving to avoid dilution.

How can I make my Vodka Cranberry look more festive?

To make your Vodka Cranberry festive, add a skewer of fresh cranberries, a sprig of rosemary, or serve it with a colorful straw. You can also sugar the rim of your glass for a decorative touch.

Is a Vodka Cranberry suitable for any season or occasion?

Yes, a Vodka Cranberry is versatile for any season or occasion. Its refreshing taste makes it a favorite for summer gatherings, while the cranberry theme fits perfectly with fall and winter holidays.

What foods pair well with a Vodka Cranberry?

A Vodka Cranberry pairs well with a variety of foods, including appetizers such as cheese and crackers, seafood dishes like grilled shrimp, and sweet desserts because of its crisp and subtly sweet profile.

Are there any variations of the Vodka Cranberry that include herbs or spices?

Yes, you can infuse your Vodka Cranberry with herbs such as thyme or basil for an aromatic twist. Some even add a dash of ground cinnamon or nutmeg for a warm undertone, particularly around the holidays.

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Ferdynand Scheuerman

Ferdynand is Vodka importer, exporter and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Vodka industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Vodka. Spending most of his time discovering new brands, new blends and new cocktails.

About Ferdynand Scheuerman

Ferdynand is Vodka importer, exporter and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Vodka industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Vodka. Spending most of his time discovering new brands, new blends and new cocktails.

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