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Cranberry Cocktails Beyond the Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan cocktail is an underrated drink perfect for late fall and early winter, but you have company when it comes to compelling cranberry cocktails. It’s not the only cocktail show in town for the height of cranberry season — there are many crafty ways to utilize this tart red fruit. Cranberries are electric and not many ingredients possess quite the punch that they pack. They’re also high in antioxidants and impart a ton of color to your beverage, lighting up the glass.

Here are a few to try.

Our Spritz

“Our Spritz is a more mature spritz offering, with added layers to give the refreshing cocktail more depth than the average Aperol Spritz,” says NR owner and bar director Shigefumi Kabashima. At the bar, they even grate frozen plum on the top for a bit of sweetness.

bottle of liquor and aperol sitting next to a martini glass on a mirrored serving tray.
Zenith Richards

(Created by NR, NYC)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz Cocchi amaro
  • 2-3 oz pure 100% cranberry juice
  • sparkling wine
  • soda
  • frozen plum for garnish

Method:

  1. Build all ingredients in a Martini glass and grate frozen plum over the top for garnish.

Cranberry Cooler

Combining rum with the kick of citrus and syrup that blends red fruit all-stars cranberry and pomegranate, this drink goes out of its way to be delicious.

Cranberry Cooler cocktail sitting next to a bottle of rum both sitting in a serving tray.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Don Papa Rum
  • .5 oz spiced cranberry-pomegranate honey syrup*
  • 1 oz grapefruit juice
  • .25 oz lemon juice

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients with ice and shake vigorously.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass over crushed ice.
  3. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and mint sprig.

*Cranberry-Pomegranate Honey Syrup: Combine 1 cup cranberry juice, 1 cup pomegranate juice, 2 cups honey, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp ginger powder, and 1 tsp cloves in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer while stirring before removing from heat. Allow to cool and strain.

Napa Cranberry 75

A spin on the classic French 75, this autumnal number brings out the best of some sparkling wine and a splash of good gin.

Cranberry 75 cocktail garnished with rosemary sprigs and cranberries sitting next to a place setting.
Katie Stryjewski

Ingredients:

  • 4 parts Mumm Napa Brut Prestige
  • 1 part gin
  • .5 part lemon juice
  • .5 part cranberry syrup*
  • Cranberries and sprig of rosemary for garnish
Method:
  1. Combine gin, lemon juice, and cranberry syrup in a champagne flute.
  2. Top with the Brut Prestige.
  3. Drop in several cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.
*Cranberry Syrup: Combine ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water in a saucepan and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add ½ cup cranberries and simmer for one more minute. Cover and remove from heat. After 10 minutes, muddle the cranberries and let sit another 20 minutes. Fine strain and cool before using.

Thanksgiving Gin and Soda

With this drink, the cranberries just add to the lovely bouquet of garnishes on hand. After all, you don’t need to do much else to a quality combo of gin and soda.

Thanksgiving Gin and Soda cocktail in a wine glass next to a pumpkin and vase of flowers.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Nolet’s Silver Gin
  • Soda
  • Frozen cranberries
  • Dehydrated orange wheel
  • Anise, cinnamon stick
  • Sprig of juniper
  • Cloves
  • Juniper berries

Method:

  1. Pour gin over ice, top with soda water, and garnish.

Cranberry Orange Maple

Turns out, orange, maple syrup, and tequila all do well together. The combo gets even better with the addition of punchy cranberry compote.

Cranberry Orange Maple cocktails sitting next to Jose Cuervo 1800 bottle.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz 1800 Reposado Tequila
  • .25 oz maple syrup
  • 1 bar spoon cranberry compote
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Orange oil
  • Anise pod and orange peel for garnish

Method:

  1. Press orange peel in maple syrup in the bottom of a rocks glass.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir with a large ice cube.
  3. Garnish with an orange twist and star anise pod.

Cava and Cran

This celebratory drink tempers the slight spiciness of rye whiskey with the effervescence of sparkling wine and the tart and sweet element the syrup brings forth.

bar setting of two Cava and Cranberry cocktails in champagne flutes next to a bottle of rye and cava on ice.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Sagamore Rye
  • 3 oz Cava (or other sparkling wine)
  • .5 oz lime juice
  • .75 oz spiced cranberry syrup*

Method:

  1. Add rye, lime juice, and spiced cranberry syrup to a champagne flute.
  2. Swirl the glass to mix.
  3. Tilt glass and gently pour in Cava.
  4. Garnish with lime and cranberry.

*Spiced Cranberry Syrup: Mix equal parts water, sugar, and fresh cranberries in a pot. Cook down, stir, and strain.

Hemingway Revolution

If you know how to drink absinthe, then you know it loves company, especially in the form of fruit-forward notes. This Hemingway-inspired drink throws berries and cassis at the spirit, along with some cranberry juice for good measure.

martini glass full of the Hemingway Revolution cocktail next to a bottle of absinthe and ice sitting on a table.
Raoul Beltrame

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Grande Absente
  • 1 oz raspberry liqueur
  • .5 oz strawberry liqueur
  • .5 oz Crème de cassis
  • 1 dash cranberry juice

Method:

  1. Shake all ingredients with ice, strain, and serve in a Martini glass with sugar rim.

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Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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