My festive spiced cranberry and orange vodka makes the perfect warming drink for Christmas. Beautifully balanced with winter fruit and aromatic spices, it’s a great way to impress your guests on cosy nights in. Equally good made with gin, rather than vodka.
A Winter Brainwave
A few years on, I have refined and perfected the recipe for this lovely winter treat. This spiced cranberry and orange vodka uses cranberries, oranges and warming winter flavours of cinnamon, cloves and a hint of star anise. It makes a lovely winter digestif, perfect for sipping by the fire and a great alternative to the more traditional sloe gin. It is also good in festive cocktails. I think it would make a very welcome gift too.
Why you will love this Christmas vodka recipe
- This cranberry vodka is delicious – bright red and full of seasonal spice.
- It is so easy to make. Simply whack all the ingredients into a bottle, shake and leave for a week to 10 days, it is ready far faster than a drink like sloe gin.
- Christmas vodka makes an excellent present. Decant into a pretty bottle and add a ribbon and a label. Everyone loves homemade presents.
- It is adaptable – use fresh or frozen cranberries, vary the spices, use gin or vodka.
How to Make Christmas Spiced Cranberry and Orange Vodka
Step one – Gather your ingredients. Pick over the cranberries to remove any stray bits of stalk.
Step two – Either prick the cranberries with a fork, or freeze them to break the skins.
Step three – Take a clean glass screw-top or preserving jar with a wide neck to take the spices. Put in all the dry ingredients. It’s much easier to use a wide-necked jar than a bottle.
Step four – Top up with vodka (or gin) and seal tightly. Give the jar a good shake to dissolve the sugar. Store the bottle in a cool dark place where you can get to it easily.
Step five – Shake the bottle daily for the first week or so, until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
Step six – Separate the vodka from the fruit by pouring the drink through a muslin-lined sieve. Discard the fruit, and decant the vodka into a clean bottle. It’s easier to pour cleanly from a bottle than a jar. Enjoy!
Hints & Tips for Cranberry Vodka
- You don’t need to use premium vodka or gin to make this drink. A supermarket own brand is fine, as long as it is palatable. (We find that some of the budget options aren’t!)
- You can either prick all the cranberries with a fork, or freeze them to split the skins as they defrost.
- If you prefer a drier drink, use less sugar. Remember you can always add extra, but not take it out.
- Ideally leave to infuse for 6 weeks before straining and bottling. However, it is very drinkable after 10 days.
- Once bottled, leave for a week or so. Your vodka will become smoother with time.
- Mix up the spices to make it your way. Add more, or less, or try something different.
- Add some flakes of edible gold leaf when you bottle it for that extra touch of luxury.
- If you run out of time to make this as a present, make a presentation bottle and add a label saying when it will be ready. It will go a deep crimson withing 36 hours, so it will look fabulous, even if it is not ready to drink when you hand it over.
- Save the cranberries to make a spiked cranberry sauce – strictly for the grownups!
How to Serve Cranberry Vodka
- Serve it straight up, either at room temperature or chilled.
- Use is for a vodka and tonic with a difference. It’s best to use a traditional tonic rather than one with extra flavourings here.
- Make a cranberry royale with champagne, prosecco or cava.
- Invent your own cocktail! Tell us about your creation in the comments below.
If you like this recipe, why not try making my bramble whisky?
My festive spiced cranberry and orange vodka makes the perfect warming drink for Christmas. Beautifully balanced with winter fruit and aromatic spices, it's a great way to impress your guests on cosy nights in. Equally good made with gin, rather than vodka.
- 200 g cranberries
- zest of 1 orange wide strips
- 2 cm cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 2 segments of a star anise
- 150 g sugar
- 450 ml vodka
Prick the cranberries with a fork or freeze them so the skins break.
Place the cranberries, sugar, spices and orange zest in a wide-necked preserving jar.
Top up with a reasonable (but not premium) vodka or dry London gin,
Seal and give a good shake every day until the sugar has dissolved.
Leave for at least six weeks if you can (although it is more than drinkable after 10 days); the longer the better, as the drink will become smoother with time.
Strain and bottle. Again, the drink will become smoother if you can leave it for a few weeks.
- This recipe is 3 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion.
Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted in December 2011, but was rewritten and republished with new photos, step by step instructions and hints & tips in November 2019.