I simply adore sparkling cocktails. They’re so fun, and something about them feels so Gossip Girl glam to me. That is why this simple sparkling vodka cranberry cocktail is going to be a must-have for our next holiday gathering.
The best part about this cranberry vodka drink is that it’s so easy to make. Though you do need to plan a bit, that’s true to all fun recipes.
This vodka cocktail only has four ingredients. I say, keep them on hand year-round for that special Monday or celebratory Friday!
Now a note about this recipe: I recommend the use of freshly squeezed lime!
However, it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of lime juice on hand. If you’re fresh out of limes, this can be your go-to alternative. Don’t let the lack of fresh limes keep you from a yummy cocktail.
It’s the best, but I had a shopping mishap recently. I accidentally bought sweetened lime juice. This is not the end of the world. Yes, it will change the taste of this vodka cranberry drink, but that isn’t always bad in this case.
It’s good to experiment with flavors. Don’t be shy about mixing it up!
Ingredients in sparkling vodka cranberry cocktail
Citrus-flavored vodka - I’ve had this cocktail with plain vodka and with citrus vodka. The citrus flavor really does add to it.
Cranberry juice - Be sure to get cranberry juice labeled 100% juice and NOT cranberry juice cocktail. If you make this drink with a cranberry juice cocktail, it will be way too sweet.
Lime juice - I strongly recommend that you buy fresh limes and squeeze them for the best flavor here. Sure it’s a bit more work, but it’s ultimately fun and festive.
Sparkling water - Ensure to buy plain sparkling water or club soda. You don’t want to add another dimension of flavor to this recipe so read that label carefully.
Is cranberry juice and cranberry juice cocktail the same thing?
No, cranberry juice is not the same thing as a cranberry juice cocktail.
It’s a bit confusing, honestly, but it’s essential to know the difference. The crucial difference lies in the cocktail variety which has added sugars, and that is often high-fructose corn syrup.
If it says 100% juice, it’s either pure cranberry juice or additional juices such as apple. That means it’s sweetened naturally by fruit and, as a result, its taste will be less sweet.
Tips on using a cocktail shaker
- Suppose your shaker isn’t insulated, use a hand towel to hold the shaker. The metal ones are beautiful but crazy cold on the hands rather quickly.
- Be sure to hold the top and the bottom of the shaker. If you only hold one end of it, it will come apart mid shake. You don’t want that mess.
- Add the ice before you add the liquids.
- Don’t overfill the shaker. Only fill it halfway with ice and then put it in the liquid. You want to give the ingredients room to move around so that everything mixes and gets cold.
Make a non-alcohol version of this cocktail
If you want to make a virgin version of this cocktail, there are a couple of things that you could do. You could use white grape juice in place of the vodka. Another option is to replace the vodka with ginger ale.
Try making up your version of this cocktail by switching out the vodka with orange juice or another flavor of the juice. Be creative and have fun.
Tools to gather
Things happen fast when making this drink. Still, it only requires four ingredients.
Cocktail shaker - I prefer to use insulated cocktail shakers, but any kind will do.
Martini glasses - You could serve this drink in several different kinds of glasses, but I just think that martini glasses are fun.
Lime - Cut the lime into round slices for garnish.
Sugared cranberries - These are purely optional but they are a lot of fun. This is how to make them at home.
- 4 oz. citrus-flavored vodka, chilled
- 6 oz. 100% cranberry juice, chilled
- 3 T. fresh lime juice
- 4 oz. cold sparkling water
- Fill a cocktail shaker ½ full of ice cubes.
- Add all of the ingredients.
- Shake to combine for about 45 seconds
- Strain into cocktail glasses.
- Garnish with a lime wedge and sugar-coated cranberries.
The bottom line
Sparkling cocktails are so festive no matter the time of year. However, a sparkling cranberry cocktail does say winter holiday time to me.
They’re the perfect Christmas cocktails, too. They sure are bubbly, red, and just fun to drink!