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Cranberry Vodka is a great way to add some fun and creativity to your home bar! It's simple to make with sugar, cranberry juice, and vodka. Unlike other recipes, there is no need to wait to allow fresh cranberries to infuse, my hack makes this homemade cranberry vodka ready to drink in under an hour! It's also perfect for gifting, and you'll find tips on how to do just that during the holiday season.
Commonly used as a base in cocktails, it can also be consumed on its own, straight up or over ice. Because my readers want to get the most out of their homemade vodka, I've included a free printable full of easy cocktail vodka drinks that use this special vodka so you never run out of ideas! You'll find staples like the Cosmopolitan, the Moscow mule, the Madras and many more!
If you've visited the blog before you might know I'm a cranberry lover. It all started with my make ahead cranberry sauce, but other favorites like old fashioned raspberry cranberry jello salad, and pull apart cranberry orange bread were quick to follow. So adding a homemade cranberry cordial seemed only fitting this holiday season.
💭 What's in cranberry vodka?
Cranberry vodka is made with simply 3 ingredients: cranberry juice cocktail, granulated sugar, and vodka. Basically you are infusing the cranberry flavor into the vodka while also making a basic simple syrup.
When you heat the cranberry juice cocktail with the sugar and water you allow it to become more concentrated, and have a more robust flavor.
How To Make Simple Syrup?
The basics are for 1 cup of simple syrup, you need ¾ cup water and ¾ cup sugar. It's a 1 to 1 ratio. Rich simple syrup is sweeter, with the sugar usually doubled.
Basically you are allowing all the sugar crystals to be dissolved into the water. This leaves the grittiness behind and ensures a smooth even drinking experience.
Our mixture is in the middle of the two. Your cranberry cocktail juice has sugar so that is why we don't add more sugar like rich syrups do. Since the cranberry juice is already a liquid, we use it in exchange for the water.
📖 Why you'll love this recipe:
- Other recipes use fresh cranberries to infuse the vodka over a period of time. This requires shaking a bottle regularly and worst of all, it requires patience. Something I lack. If you want to use fresh or frozen cranberries, I would suggest making a cranberry simple syrup and adding that to the vodka, versus having the cranberries steep.
- Cranberries can also be hard to find. You will usually only see fresh cranberries in the grocery stores from November to December. You can also sometimes find frozen berries, but that is much harder during the summer time months. You can find cranberry juice cocktail all year long - it is always easy to find on the shelves! So you can have a fun summertime cranberry drink for the 4th of July and not just during the winter holiday season.
- Another benefit of using the cranberry juice cocktail is it means no seeds! It also makes a vibrant ruby red color that is stunning and not cloudy at all! You can also control the amount of sugar by purchasing a cocktail juice that is lower in sugar if that is what you prefer.
⏲️ Step by step guide to making your own cranberry vodka:
- Gather your ingredients
- Pour the cranberry juice cocktail into a medium sized saucepan
- Add in the sugar.
- Mix well with a whisk and continue to stir while heating over a high heat. The sugar will begin to dissolve.
- Allow to come to a boil and continue to whisk. Once boiling, turn the stovetop down to a medium heat.
- Continue cooking until the mixture becomes thick and has a syrup consistency. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Set aside to cool for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Place the syrup mixture into a spouted bowl (so it makes it easier to pour!) or use an extra large measuring cup.
- Pour 2 cups of the vodka into the measuring cup.
- Whisk the vodka and cranberry syrup together.
- Place in an air tight glass container. If you don't have a bowl with a spout, a funnel comes in handy!
- Or separate into smaller jars for gift giving.
- Or pour yourself a glass!
🍸 The ultimate list of vodka cocktail recipes using cranberry vodka
Cranberry-flavored vodka is a key ingredient in some of the best holiday cocktail recipes. From stimulating libations to warming cocktails, cranberry vodka is a versatile liquor that can be used year round, not just during the Christmas season.
The tart, fruity flavor of the cranberries makes this vodka an excellent choice for fruity cocktails. If you're looking for some ideas on tasty cocktails, this list of vodka cranberry cocktail recipes should get you started! Simply click below to get the free printable pdf!
I've converted each to be cranberry cocktail recipes. I'm sure you will recognize a lot of these classic cocktails! But in case you needed ideas for your next holiday party, or wanted to give drink recipe ideas when gifting the cranberry vodka you've made, it's nice to have them printed out in one spot on a pretty recipe card.
- the Madras- a fun cocktail with orange juice. Serve in a highball glass with an orange slice or twist.
- the Cosmopolitan - a cocktail from the 80’s that Sex in the City put back into fashion. Part vodka, part orange liqueur, with a touch of lime juice. Serve with a lime wedge.
- Cranberry Vodka Martini - not for the faint of heart, with dry vermouth. Shaken or stirred, serve in a chilled martini glass.
- Cranberry Moscow Mule- a great choice featuring ginger ale. For a fun twist- see my rosemary cranberry moscow mule - simply follow the printable instructions for the moscow mule and add a sprig of rosemary to the cocktail shaker. Easy peasy.
- Cranberry Vodka Gimlet - One of the easiest cocktail recipes- basically just the flavored vodka over ice with plenty of lime juice. It's also called a Cape Codder.
- Cranberry Vodka Sour - A tart drink that uses lemon juice instead of lime juice. Shaken in a cocktail shaker and served over ice, it's popular to garnish with a cherry.
- No Bull Red Russian - simply a shot of vodka- in this case the "red" is the cranberry. "No bull" refers to the popular version that features it combined with Red Bull which this one does not.
- Cranberry Creamsicle - not a classic drink at all, but fun and tart. Uses cream to mellow the drink out a bit. Served with frozen frosted cranberries for an elegant look.
- Cranberry vodka with Sprite / 7-up / club soda / Ginger Ale - a simple cocktail with the vodka mixed with the drink of your choice. Great for a large group as you can combine a large amount of the cranberry vodka with a large bottle of soda that you prefer. That little fizz addition delights taste buds and makes it fun festive drink for the holidays.
We typically use Ocean Spray as it is widely available, but we've also used store brands with no issue.
Any middle of the line vodka should work, no need for top shelf. Nothing fancy is required. You just want to make sure your proof is 80 or above to verify you don't grow any germs in your mixture!
Yes! A simple syrup made with fresh or frozen cranberries will work great. In fact, I am sharing one shortly! You will need to make 1.75 cups of the simple syrup to the 2 cups of vodka. Also, I suggest straining to get the bulk of the seeds and cranberry flesh out.
Yes you can, but granulated works great. You pay more for the smaller crystals of "super fine" sugar and they both end up getting dissolved into the liquid.
Yes! The sky is the limit my friends. Think of all those fruit blend juices out there and get creative!
For sure you need an airtight glass container. I also suggest keeping it in the refrigerator so it's nicely chilled and discourages anything from growing.
Your bottle of vodka should last 1 to 2 months. Always check if the smell has gone off, it's cloudy, or heaven forbid- anything is growing. Eek!
🍾 Best ways to gift homemade vodka:
One of the best parts of this fun drink concoction is how easy it is to gift to friends and neighbors! These little glass bottles with a funnel are my favorite!
They are easy to wrap a thin ribbon or twine around. In this case I used wired greenery garland and a small ornament. Be sure to print out the ultimate cocktail recipe list above to gift along side the bottles!
Be sure to see my entire front porch Christmas decor for 2021 to see how I greeted my guests with the drink and mini bottles!
🥃 Other cocktail recipes that you might enjoy:
Still want more ideas? Look at this fantastic post of vanilla vodka cocktail recipes!
Homemade Cranberry Vodka Recipe
- 1.5 cups cranberry juice cocktail
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 2 cups vodka
- In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, pour in the cranberry juice cocktail.
- Add in the sugar, and whisk.
- Continue whisking. The sugar will eventually dissolve.
- Bring mixture to a boil. Once at a boil, lower heat to medium.
- Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the liquid starts to thicken and has the consistency of syrup. Remove from heat and allow to cool, about 30-40 minutes.
- Measure out 2 cups of vodka from the bottle. Place in a large bowl with a spout (to make it easier to pour into the bottle- or have a funnel handy).
- Add in the cranberry syrup. Whisk well to blend.
- Transfer to large air tight glass bottle or smaller glass bottles that are also air tight.