How to Make a Vodka Cranberry That’ll Rival a Bartender’s

You've probably ordered one before, but do you really know what's in a vodka cranberry? Learn how to make this iconic cocktail and pick up a few tips here.

Bright, tart and incredibly refreshing, the vodka cranberry has been a go-to bar order for decades. The straightforward cocktail was actually invented by the Ocean Spray agricultural cooperative almost 90 years ago, though it originally went by a different name.

Kellyanne Dignan, their spokesperson, told USA Today’s 10Best, “According to our archives, we first marketed cranberry juice, vodka and lime as a cocktail called the Red Devil in the 1940s.” Since then, the cocktail has been known as a Cape Codder, Rangoon Ruby, Bog-Fog and more, but it’s most enduring, and colloquial, name is the vodka cranberry.

Regardless of what you call it, Taste of Home’s Test Kitchen has an authentic recipe for a vodka cranberry that will make you feel like you could open your own bar. Keep reading for the simple how-to, plus some tips from behind the bar.

Give your entire dinner a retro feel with these vintage recipes from the 1940s.

How to Make a Vodka Cranberry

Grab your favorite glass and mix yourself this refreshing cocktail. It’s made with 100% cranberry juice, for a fresh, tart flavor. If you prefer something sweeter, feel free to substitute with cranberry juice cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup ice cubes
  • 1-1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • Lime wedge

Instructions

Step 1: Mix

To a highball glass, like this set from Red Rocks, add your ice, vodka and cranberry juice and stir with a cocktail spoon.

Step 2: Garnish

Gently attach your lime wedge to the edge of the glass. When you’re ready to enjoy, squeeze the lime into the drink and get sipping!

Want more vodka inspiration? These are the vodka cocktails we have on rotation.

Do you shake a vodka cranberry?

Not traditionally. However, this cocktail can be easily made up. Just add the ice, vodka and cranberry juice to a shaker and shake until the barrel gets nice and cold, about 20 seconds. Strain into a martini or coupe glass and serve with a twist of lime peel.

How much alcohol is in a vodka cranberry?

An ounce and a half, or a standard shot, is used for this recipe. There are no standard proportions for a vodka cranberry, so you can increase or decrease the amount of cranberry juice depending on how forward you’d like the vodka to be.

Serving Ideas for a Vodka Cranberry

Take this simple cocktail to the next level with these slight changes.

  • Serve it the Cape Cod way with a few whole or muddled fresh cranberries. These honeyed cranberries would be a gorgeous garnish!
  • Feel like you’re in the Big Apple by turning your drink into a Cosmopolitan. Simply add 1-1/2 ounces of Triple Sec, shake in a cocktail shaker, then strain into a martini glass. Serve with a twist of lime peel.
  • Go salty! Make a Salty Dog by swapping in grapefruit juice for the cranberry and serving in a salt-rimmed highball glass.

Now that you’ve mastered a vodka cranberry, take on these other easy cocktail recipes you can memorize.

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Caroline Stanko
As an Associate Digital Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.