Best Madras Cocktail Recipes

The Madras cocktail is a vodka and cranberry juice drink, similar to the Cape Codder (cranberry juice and vodka) and a Sea Breeze (cranberry juice, vodka and grapefruit juice). It’s sometimes called a “mattress drink”, which is a mispronunciation of “Madras”. It’s easy to make and to drink because of its rich texture and the balance between the sweet and sour flavors. It is a little sour because of all of the citrusy flavor, but the sweet balances it out so well that you likely won’t notice it much. The result is a refreshing, crisp drink with a delightful pink color.

The Madras originated some time around the 1950’s. This is because the Cranberry Grower’s Cooperative turned into Ocean Spray during that time. Ocean Spray began heavily marketing cranberry juice and bartenders started creating cocktails that featured it, or revolved around it. This resulted in the Madras, the Cape Codder, the Sea Breeze, etc.

Fabric probably isn’t where your mind goes when you think about this drink, but it’s actually one of the only drinks to be named after a type of fabric. It gets its name from a specific fabric coloration. It’s color is similar to that of patchwork Indian cotton once the dye runs and fades. This was a much more common thing when plant-based dyes were used.

The Madras is a great drink for the Summer, but can be enjoyed any time of year. It can be enjoyed any time of day, as well. It’s mostly comprised of fruit juice, which has vitamins in it and means that it’s at least a little bit good for you. And, it’s pretty versatile. You could play with various flavored vodkas to change the flavor. Below are some of the best Madras cocktails out there today.

Classic Madras

This drink is a classy cocktail, great for solo indulgence at the end of the day. It’s also a delicious drink that’s simple to create, which makes it a good choice for entertaining guests, as well.


  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • Cranberries and slice of lime (garnish)


  • Add ingredients into a glass.
  • Stir
  • Add cranberries into the drink
  • Add a few cubes of ice, cranberries on top to garnish, and a slice of lime
  • Serve

Ocean Spray Madras

This is an easy recipe that creates a single serving. It doesn’t require that you learn how to properly blend or build the ingredients. It is pretty heavy on the cranberry juice and light on the alcohol, so if you find that ratio not to your liking, you can always add more vodka and less cranberry juice.


  • 3 oz Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail, chilled
  • 1 1/2 oz orange juice, chilled
  • 1 1/2 vodka


  • Pour all of the ingredients into a tall glass filled with ice
  • Serve

Cranberry Lime Madras

This recipe takes the citrusy theme of the classic Madras and adds to it. The result is crisp, refreshing and a pleasant way to hydrate on a hot day. The pink coloration and the garnish of edible flowers would make it an attractive, fun drink to serve at Springtime parties, as well.


  • 2 oz vodka
  • 3 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Crushed ice
  • Raw sugar and edible flowers (garnish)


  • To rim the glass with sugar: Place sugar on plate. Run a lime around the rim of a lowball glass to moisten it. Dip the glass, rim first, into the sugar and twist it a couple of times
  • Add crushed ice to the glass. Set aside
  • In a shaker, add the vodka and juices. Shake with ice until cold
  • Strain into glass
  • Garnish with edible flowers
  • Serve

Madras Slushy

This is a great recipe choice for anyone who is a fan of frozen drinks. It’s probably the best choice on this list to serve at outdoor parties or barbeques in the hot Summer sun. Not only does the ice cool it down, the fruit juice lends some nutrients to hydrate. It’s an all-around fun and fruity drink.


  • 12 oz vodka
  • 8 oz blood orange martini mixer
  • 8 oz cranberry juice
  • 2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 2 fresh limes (one for juice, one for garnish)
  • 4 cups of ice
  • Sugar for rimming


  • Rim the glass with sugar
  • Add all of the other ingredients (minus one lime for garnish) into a large blender
  • Start by slowly pulsing to crush the ice, and then blend it to combine the ingredients thoroughly until it’s a smooth, slushy consistency.
  • Pour into separate glasses
  • Garnish with a slice of lime
  • Serve

Sparkling Mango Madras

This isn’t exactly what one would call an authentic Madras because it doesn’t have any vodka in it. However, it does have all of the cranberry-orange flavors that one expects to find in a Madras, with the addition of some mango. It’s easy to make, and a fantastically fruity, bubbly drink that’s perfect for Summer.


  • 2 oz Malibu Mango Rum
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz cranberry juice
  • Sparkling wine


  • In a champagne flute, combine the first three ingredients
  • Top with sparkling wine
  • Serve

Captain Morgan White Madras

This recipe is a good option if you aren’t fond of vodka because it uses white rum, instead. It changes the taste a bit, but not so much as to completely change the entire theme of the drink.


  • 5 oz Captain Morgan White Rum
  • 2 oz cranberry juice
  • 2 oz orange juice


  • Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice, then add the ingredients.
  • Shake until cold
  • Strain into a highball glass filled with ice
  • Garnish with lime slice
  • Serve

The Madras is a classic drink that’s sure to be your new favorite. It’s a simple recipe that’s easy to remember, and to create. And it’s fruity flavor and pink color are great for the upcoming warm-weather months, so it’s a nice addition to any outdoor party or get-together.