This vodka cranberry cocktail is a fresh and sparkling cocktail made with vodka and cranberry of course, in addition to some festive Champagne or Prosecco! It also has a jolly good tangerine vanilla bean syrup to sweeten the deal to perfection.
It is a sweet, tart, and juicy cocktail with a dash of fresh sparkling wine. And if you like this drink, I'm sure you will also love the ginger pear bellini, grapefruit mimosa, and this sparkling plum drink.
Why you'll love this recipe
I think this is the perfect vodka cranberry for the Holidays because it is
- mostly tart but a little sweet
- easy to make
- but sounds and looks fancy
- you can garnish with sugared cranberries
So to make this cocktail you don't need that many things, but remember that this is a festive cocktail, so we are splurging on a real vanilla bean and Champagne or Prosecco.
- Cranberry juice - a perfectly tart base for the drink
- Vodka - a mostly flavorless alcohol to not overpower the other delicate flavors
- Champagne - or Prosecco, for a fresh and sparkling mouthfeel + it's the New Year's!
- Tangerines - or clementines/oranges for a fresh citrus addition.
- Vanilla bean - spice it up with some warm vanilla bean. You can use vanilla bean paste in a pinch.
- Sugar and water - to make a simple syrup for the tangerines.
- Sugared cranberries - to garnish. Although the sparkles in the Champagne melt the sugar off. Looks good for a short while though!
To make this recipe you'll first have to make the tangerine vanilla bean syrup. Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, add the seeds and the beans to a small saucepan.
To the same saucepan, add the zest of 1 and juice of 2 tangerines (or clementines or 1 orange). Also, add the sugar and water.
On medium heat, let it come to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes before you let it cool completely.
Once the tangerine vanilla bean syrup has cooled, you can continue with the cranberry vodka cocktail:
Pour cranberry juice, vodka, and tangerine vanilla bean syrup into your serving glasses. Stir to combine. Top the glasses with Champagne or Prosecco.
If you don't want to use sparkling wine, you can use sparkling water or seltzer.
Either way, enjoy!
The vanilla bean syrup can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks in a clean jar.
If you want to make the cocktails in advance, you can do everything apart from the sparkling Prosecco or Champagne. That should be freshly poured to enjoy the sparkles.
Sugared cranberries can also be made well in advance, just do not store them in the refrigerator, but in a cool and dry place.
Why is a vodka cranberry called a Cape Cod?
A vodka cranberry is sometimes referred to as a Cape Cod or Cape Codder. The name is derived from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a peninsula on the East coast of the US, which is famous for cultivating cranberries.
Vodka cranberry ratio
Some say 3:1, some say 4:1. I say, taste as you go. Do you like it? Perfect.
The whole point is to find something you enjoy drinking. Whether it's a 'real' cranberry vodka cocktail, or 'real' gin fizz doesn't really matter if you ask me. The ratios can be to your own liking.
Of course, there are still some rules for you to call it a cranberry vodka, a whiskey sour, old-fashioned, etc. For example, a vodka cranberry needs to contain both cranberry and vodka. Other than that, it's fine.
1) Low-calorie cranberry vodka: Cranberry vodka is often the choice of cocktail for people watching their calorie intake. And if you feel like you want a low-calorie sparkling vodka cranberry cocktail, this is what I would do:
Instead of the Prosecco or Champagne, use sparkling water. For the sugar in the tangerine syrup, use another sweetener.
Monk fruit sweetener can work, although it runs the risk of crystalizing once it cools. I've heard a pinch of xantham gum in the syrup can prevent this, although I have not tried it.
Allulose monk fruit is best suited for simple syrups as it doesn't crystallize just as easily. Use 1:1 ratio of monk fruit to water, but taste as you go before you add it to your cocktail.
2) Other juices: if you want other juices that complement the tangerine vanilla bean syrup, I would go for pomegranate, grape, or plum juice. The same ratio as for the cranberry juice. Easy substitute!
3) Other sparklings (yes now it's a word): you can use any sparkling beverages you want. All we want is a slight fizz to the drink. My favorites include of course Champagne and Prosecco, sparkling water, or seltzer.
How would you drink it?
Did you like this recipe? Here are more sparkling cocktails I think you’d love:
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.
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