This Cranberry Holiday Cocktail with Vodka is Christmas in a glass. Serve it cold or heated as a winter warmer.
Impress your Christmas party guests with this festive cocktail. It’s made with vodka, but if you want to leave it out, it tastes just as good.
Why This Recipe Works
- The orange slices provide a zingy freshness that pairs well with the tangy cranberry juice.
- Grenadine delivers rich color and extra sweetness.
- Cinnamon sticks, star anise, and juniper berries give the cocktail a spiced aroma and flavor, perfect for the holidays.
I’ve been testing out a variety of drinks to serve, and this is the one my husband and I liked best. It’s a lovely Christmas drink that can be served cold or warm, and I hope you enjoy it.
- Vodka – You can use regular, Citron, or orange-flavored vodka. For alcohol-free options, try sparkling water, flavored seltzer water, or ginger ale.
- Cranberry Juice: Use a cranberry juice cocktail for a less bitter option. If you prefer a cocktail with a bit of bitterness, use 100% cranberry juice.
- Fruit: Feel free to experiment with this recipe and find your favorite fruit combo. Some great options are apples, oranges, cranberries, pomegranates, pears, or anything else in season.
- Cinnamon Sticks: You can use whole cinnamon sticks or mix in 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
- Star Anise: A little goes a long way. If you aren’t a fan of star anise, you can substitute whole allspice or a few cloves for it.
- Juniper Berries can be found in most supermarkets or online. If you can’t find them, you can substitute them with peppercorns such as red, pink, black, green, or white peppercorns.
- Herbs: I used Lemon balm, which is a lemony mint, but you can use mint, thyme, or for a festive look, rosemary makes an excellent presentation.
Step By Step Instructions
Add the cranberry juice, juniper berries, cinnamon sticks, star anise, half of the orange slices, and 1 cup of fresh cranberries in a medium-high saucepan.
Turn the heat to medium and high and simmer for 10 minutes. The cranberries may start to burst – this is normal and won’t affect anything.
Strain the liquid through a fine strainer, and if serving hot, return to the pot over low heat, or if serving cold, strain it into a large pitcher.
Add the vodka to the mixture.
Followed by orange juice and grenadine.
Give it a good mix. If serving warm, ladle into mugs.
If serving cold, chill for 1 to 2 hours and stir before serving. Serve over ice in a glass garnished with the remaining oranges slices, a cinnamon stick, and herbs.
More Cranberry Recipes
Christmas time is the only time of year you can get fresh cranberries where I live, so when I see them in the supermarket, I can’t wait to get them home to try new recipes. Here are some from years gone by.
- Brie Bites
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Holiday Sangria
- Cranberry Christmas Cake
- Cranberry & Orange Scones
- Cranberry Brie Onion Tarts
Did you make this?
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Let’s Make Cranberry Holiday Cocktail with Vodka
- 6 cups cranberry juice
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 1 orange sliced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries plus more for garnish
- 1 cup vodka plus more as needed
- 1½ cups fresh squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup grenadine or simple syrup, optional
- mint or rosemary for garnish
- In a medium saucepan, add the cranberry juice, Juniper Berries, a cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, half of the orange slices, and 1 cup of fresh cranberries.
- Turn the heat to medium, high and simmer for 10 minutes. The cranberries may start to burst – this is normal.
To Serve Cold:
- Add the cranberry mixture to a 2-quart pitcher, through a fine strainer, discard the fruit and spices, and set the juice mixture aside until cooled.
- Pour in the vodka, orange juice, and grenadine, and give it a good mix.
- Chill for 1 to 2 hours and stir before serving. Serve over ice in a glass garnished with the remaining oranges slices, a cinnamon stick, and herbs.
To Serve Warm:
- Strain the warm mixture through a fine strainer into a large bowl and return to the pot over low heat. Pour in the vodka, orange juice, and grenadine, and give it a good mix.
- Ladel into mugs garnished with fruit, spices and herbs. Serve warm.
Erren’s Kitchen is written and produced for informational intentions only. We are not certified nutritionists, and the nutritional information found on this site has not been assessed or authorized by a nutritionist or the FDA. The nutritional information found in our recipes is offered as an estimate and should not be considered a guarantee or fact. The estimated data is provided as a courtesy and calculated through a third-party online nutritional calculator, spoonacular API. Although we do our best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered rough estimates. Many factors, such as brands or products purchased and the nutritional fluctuations that naturally occur in fresh produce, can alter the effectiveness of the nutritional information in any recipe. Furthermore, various online calculators provide different results depending on their particular algorithms and nutrition fact sources. To obtain the most precise nutritional information in a provided recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the exact ingredients you are using when preparing the recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
Update Notes: Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted in 2020. It was republished with new photos, tips, and ingredient notes in 2023.