There’s no bad time for a cranberry cocktail, but there’s something about the holidays that basically begs for the beautiful deep rich color of cranberries and a little festive cocktail to celebrate with friends and family.
This Cranberry Ginger Cocktail is easy to make and customize with just a few simple ingredients. Once you have ginger simple syrup on hand, it comes together in less than 5 minutes and can be served on the rocks over ice in a lowball glass, or straight up in a fun coupe-style glass. Make just one for yourself or scale it up to serve your guests.
What You’ll Need
There are just a few simple ingredients for this cocktail, and they are super customizable for what you have on hand – and your preferences!
- Gin: a distilled spirit that has a distinct flavor most notably like pine due to its main ingredient of juniper berries. There are many varieties of gin, and depending on the specific type and brand of gin you use, it will influence the final flavor of this cocktail.
- Cranberry Juice: such a beautiful color with a balance of tart and sweet. I recommend using 100% cranberry juice, not what’s referred to as cranberry cocktail. More on this in a moment.
- Ginger Syrup: homemade simple syrup that is infused with ginger root – it’s spicy and herbal and absolutely delicious!
- Orange Juice: a squeeze of fresh orange juice adds a little sweetness and punchy addition to the cocktail. If you prefer a more spirit-forward cocktail, I would recommend leaving it out.
- Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer, or Club Soda: this recipe was tested with all three…and all three were great for their own reasons. Ginger ale is a little sweeter, ginger beer is a little spicier, and club soda adds a neutral fizzy element, letting the other ingredients shine through. Thus, I’m recommending you choose which you prefer. Club soda *might* be my favorite, but I wouldn’t say no to any combination.
Which kind of gin should I use?
As I mentioned, the type of gin you use will influence the flavor of the cocktail – whether it’s drier, more herb and botanical forward, fruitier, sweeter…these distinctions will come through.
Dry gins will be less piney and more approachable for the everyday cocktail drinker, which is what I recommend in this recipe. The overall flavor of gin is a mixture of citrus and spice, with yes, that slight pine flavor (which makes it so perfect for the holiday season!).
I find Prarie Organic Gin – made locally here in the Midwest- has a lovely flavor in this cocktail (not sponsored, just a fan!). However, there are so many options out there, ask your liquor store for a recommendation based on your preferences if you need more help.
The bottom line comes down to this: if you have a favorite gin, use it! The Spruce Eats has a whole lot of information about each type of gin if you’re interested in additional information.
What is the difference between cranberry juice and cranberry cocktail?
Well, there’s cranberry juice, 100% cranberry juice, and cranberry cocktail. If you just pick up ‘cranberry juice’ it’s likely a mix of cranberry and other juices. Cranberry juice cocktail is made with just cranberry juice, however, it has added sugar to add to the sweetness.
100% cranberry juice is just that: cranberry with no added sugars or additional juices. It is quite tart on its own, however, because this cocktail has simple syrup and additional mix-ins, it’s the best choice because it creates the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
If you do prefer sweeter cocktails, feel free to use a cranberry cocktail, just note that it will be, well, sweeter!
How to Make a Cranberry Ginger Cocktail
My friends, we have ourselves an easy-to-make cocktail right on our hands. One that you can mix and enjoy in less than 5 minutes (as long as you have that syrup made) and you can mix in batches or one at a time.
You can either stir the ingredients over ice (TBH this is my lazy method because I don’t have to get the shaker out…ha!) or shake them in a shaker with ice to get them a little frothy (which if you’re looking to go the extra step, this is delicious).
Before you start the cocktail, you will need to make homemade ginger syrup. Let it cool before using in the cocktail, so it doesn’t warm the drink or melt the ice.
Whether in a jar or shaker, add ice and then pour in the gin, ginger simple syrup, cranberry juice, and orange juice. If shaking, shake it up, then strain it into a glass and top with ginger beer, ginger ale, or club soda. You don’t want to shake it with the carbonated beverages, because it will likely “explode”.
If you’re stirring, go ahead and add in the fizzy beverage before straining into your glass.
Pour it into a lowball glass over ice, or into a coupe-style glass without ice – whichever you prefer.
Garnish with fresh rosemary and sugared cranberries, or even candied ginger, for a festive cocktail look. Then, enjoy (responsibly!).
Can I make this cocktail with vodka?
Sure, you can substitute the gin with vodka if you prefer. Similar to a cranberry vodka cocktail, but with ginger! Do note it will have a different flavor profile (because, vodka).
Can I make this cocktail in batches?
Absolutely! It will just depend on how large your shaker is. I can make two cocktails at once. Anything larger you may want to mix in a pitcher with ice and pour it into individual glasses to serve a group. The recipe is written for one cocktail, but you can click the x2 or x3 button to increase the serving size.
More Festive Cocktails to Enjoy
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Get the Recipe Cranberry Ginger Cocktail
- Prepare the ginger syrup if you don't already have it on hand (see notes below or the other post for more information).
- Fill a large jar or cocktail shaker about halfway full with ice. Add gin, cranberry juice, ginger simple syrup, and orange juice. If shaking the cocktail, do so now, then pour and add the club soda, ginger ale, or ginger beer. Otherwise, add one of those now, then stir the drink until combined.
- Strain into either a lowball glass filled with ice or a coupe-style glass, served straight up (without ice).
- Garnish with sugar coated cranberries, a sprig of rosemary, or orange zest as desired.
- Ginger Simple Syrup: Bring 1 cup water, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 2-3 inches of ginger root, sliced, to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain and cool before using in a cocktail.