Best Vodka Cranberry Cocktail Recipes

Vodka Cran: Yes I Can!

Did you know that the vodka cranberry was originally a clever marketing move from a juice company? In 1945, Ocean Spray created the vodka cranberry recipe (known back then as the “Red Devil” cocktail) for a grower’s marketing campaign. Because the recipe originated in Cape Cod, MA, it began to be known as the Cape Cod cocktail and later the Vodka Cranberry (due to its main ingredients.) It has become a strong favorite among cocktail dinkers because it’s simply ingredient list is easy to find in any bar or supermarket and the cocktail itself is delicious and easy to drink. Traditionally, the vodka cranberry is made with only two simple ingredients (vodka and cranberry juice) but it can also be embellished by orange and/or lime juice. It’s typically served in highball glass with ice and a small straw that can be used for either stirring or sipping.

Because of it’s incredibly simple ingredient list, the vodka cranberry is a wonderful cocktail for beginner mixologists to attempt. Similarly, the small list of ingredients means there is plenty of room to play around with adding additional flavors or other fun twists. If you’re trying to create a cocktail that tastes surprisingly impressive despite the low amount of effort required to create it, the vodka cranberry is a perfect choice. This cocktail is also very cost effective, so you don’t have to break the bank when whipping up a batch for friends. Take a look at the list below of our favorite vodka cranberry recipes and try one out soon!

Vodka Cranberry

 1 oz Vodka, 4.5 oz Cranberry Juice, Lime Juice, Orange Juice

The vodka cranberry is a classic, easy-to-prepare cocktail that’s a longtime favorite of patrons who want something delicious they can sip slowly. The tartness of the cranberry juice perfectly counteracts the sting of the vodka to create a smooth cocktail. It can also be prepared without the lime or orange juice for an even simpler, “purer” experience. To create this drink:

  • Fill a cocktail glass halfway with ice
  • Pour in vodka and cranberry juice, then add a dash of lime and orange juice
  • Add a straw to stir and sip, then serve

Sparkling Lime Vodka Cranberry

1.5 oz Vodka, 3 oz Cranberry Juice, Lime Sparkling Water, Lime Juice

If you’re interested in a bubbly cocktail that’s perfect to sip while you sit and chat with friends, look no further than this mouthwatering recipe. The addition of the lime sparkling water really adds a layer of complexity to an already wonderful cocktail. The addition of a sugared cranberry garnish will also add just the right amount of sweetness to counteract the tart cranberry and lime. To create this drink:

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then add vodka, cranberry juice, and splash of lime juice
  • Shake vigorously until chilled, then pour into cocktail glass with ice
  • Top with a dash of sparkling water
  • Garnish with fresh or sugared cranberries, then serve

Spiced Vodka Cranberry

 1 oz Vodka, 4 oz Hard Cider, 2 oz Aperol, 4 dashes Cranberry-Anise Bitters, 2 1-inch Minced Crystallized Ginger Pieces, 10 Cranberries, Orange Wedge

Although the vodka cranberry is perfect year round, this spiced variant is especially wonderful when the weather is cool or stormy. The variety of ingredients create a very complex flavor that is sure to impress if you are generous to share this recipe with your friends. If you’re an especially big fan of ginger, you can also use a toothpick to spear bits of crystallized ginger and use as a garnish. To create this drink:

  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle orange wedge, cranberries, and minced ginger
  • Add vodka, Aperol, bitters, and ice to cocktail shaker
  • Shake vigorously until chilled
  • Double-strain into ice-filled cocktail glass
  • Top with hard cider
  • Garnish with cranberries, then serve

Sawtooth Mountain Breeze

2 cups Vodka, 2 cups Grapefruit Juice, 2 cups Cranberry Juice, Sugar, Lime Juice

The addition of the grapefruit juice works surprisingly well in this take on the traditional vodka cranberry. Grapefruit brings in a brighter edge to the heavier flavor of the cranberry and both marry well with vodka. If you’re feeling especially fun when mixing this drink, consider garnishing with cranberry ring candies as well. To create this drink:

  • Dip rims of glasses into lime juice and then sugar, then set aside
  • Pour vodka, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice into pitcher
  • Stir to combine thoroughly
  • Pour into sugar-rimmed glasses and add ice if desired
  • Garnish glasses with a lime wedge, then serve

Woo Woo Cocktail

1 oz Peach Vodka, 1 oz Cranberry Juice, 1 oz Club Soda

Sweet peach takes the vodka cranberry in a whole new direction, one that’s both tasty and a good homage to the original flavors. Because you’ll be using peach vodka, you don’t have to worry about adding in orange and/or lime juice. Consider trying out this recipe the next time you’re looking for a simple yet delicious drink that will leave you refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the evening. To create this drink:

  • Fill a cocktail glass with ice
  • Pour all ingredients over ice, then stir to combine
  • Garnish with peach slice or lime wedge, then serve

Even if you (or your friends) are not a fan of vodka, we hope that you will take a chance on the delicious vodka cranberry and try out one of the recipes above next time you want to show off your mixologist skills. This cocktail is perfect year-round and is well-suited for a variety of occasions. If you try out all of the recipes listed above and still want more, we suggest adding in different kinds of fruit juice to make your own vodka cranberry creations. Take note, though: although this cocktail is delicious, it can be especially strong and having one too many can be risky. Always make sure to drink responsibly and ensure everyone has a way to get home safe before serving a few rounds of vodka cranberries.