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This Cranberry Orange Cocktail is made with cinnamon-infused cranberry juice and orange juice for a fresh, flavorful cocktail that's perfect for the holiday season.
What would the holidays be without a festive cocktail? This cranberry orange cocktail is a delicious way to use fresh cranberries, plus you're getting a little vitamin C in thanks to the orange juice 😉 It's perfect for New Year's eve, or any sort of holiday celebration, really.
What I love most about this drink is that it's easy to customize to your liking! It can be made using tequila or vodka and it's just as good. This cranberry cocktail is right up there with my cinnamon tequila sour in terms of favorite holiday drinks.
- Sweetened with a cinnamon-infused cranberry simple syrup
- Made with orange juice, so it's a little fruity
- Can be made with your choice of either vodka or tequila
- Fresh cranberries - I love using fresh cranberries in this recipe
- Sugar - A must-have for all simple syrup. You can reduce the sugar a bit if you prefer, but I wouldn't omit it.
- Cinnamon - Balances out the tartness of the cranberries and orange juice, and makes the drink taste a little more winter-y.
- Orange juice - Freshly squeezed or store-bought.
- Alcohol - Preferably tequila or vodka (I haven't tested it with other types of alcohol, but you're more than welcome to!). You could also do 1 ounce vodka/tequila and one ounce of orange liqueur if you prefer.
Step 1: Make the simple syrup. Add the cranberries, water, sugar, and cinnamon to a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer on low for about 10 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break down the cranberries.
Pour the cranberry mixture through a fine mesh strainer; discard the whole cranberries. Let the syrup cool to room temperature before using it.
Step 2: Combine ingredients. Once you're ready to serve this drink, add 2 tablespoons of the cranberry syrup, along with the orange juice and 2 oz. of alcohol to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
Step 3: Strain and enjoy. Strain the drink from the shaker into a cocktail glass and drink up!
Tips and FAQs
- If you don't want the drink to be super sweet, cut the simple syrup and orange juice in half, then top your glass with club soda or seltzer instead (or heck, even a little champagne, though that won't cut down on the sugar but it will be delicious).
- Want to make this even more festive? Line your cocktail glass with a bit of sugar before pouring in the drink.
- Always do a taste test to see if you want to add more alcohol/juice to your drink. This is how I make my cocktails, but you may want yours to be a bit stronger or sweeter.
- Have extra cranberries leftover? Whip up these cranberry chai thumbprint cookies to serve at your next Christmas party.
Can I use frozen cranberries instead?
Yep! Follow the exact same instructions, though you may need to add a little more water because frozen cranberries will create a thicker mixture than fresh.
Do I have to use a cocktail shaker?
Technically no. A cocktail shaker makes it easy to evenly combine all of the drink ingredients. But, if you don't own one, simply pour everything into a large bowl and whisk it really quickly with a hand whisk and that should do the trick.
Could this be a mocktail instead?
Yes! This cranberry orange cocktail is SO delicious sans alcohol -- simply follow the recipe as written, but instead of tequila or vodka, top your glass off with club soda or seltzer.
How should leftover simple syrup be stored?
Store leftover cranberry syrup in a sealed jar the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
More holiday recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Cranberry Orange Cocktail
for one cocktail:
- 2 tablespoon cranberry syrup or more to taste
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 oz. tequila OR vodka (see notes for alternatives)
- club soda to top it off
- Start by making the cranberry syrup: combine cranberries, water, sugar, and cinnamon together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes, using a spoon to help break the cranberries down.
- Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer; discard the cranberries. Wait for the cranberry syrup to come to room temperature before using it.
- For the cocktail: pour syrup, orange juice and tequila/vodka, along with some ice, into a cocktail shaker and shake, shake, shake! Pour into a cocktail glass, top it off with club soda and enjoy!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in December 2018. It was updated with new text in December 2021.