This cranberry juice and orange vodka cocktail turns everything we love about cranberry sauce into a refreshing drink to enjoy at the holidays. Take a new spin on the Cape Cod with Thanksgiving on the Cape!
Thanksgiving on the Cape Cocktail with Cranberry Juice and Orange Vodka
My holiday gatherings aren’t complete without a festive drink! We are definitely a wine and beer kind of family, but I think it’s fun to kick things off with a delicious cocktail that can be enjoyed with appetizers.
The classic Thanksgiving flavor pairing — orange and cranberry — come together in a new and elevated spin on the Cape Cod (aka vodka cranberry). Orange flavored vodka, orange liqueur and cranberry juice are shaken together and strained into a pretty glass rimmed with orange-cinnamon sugar.
Mix some up in a pitcher for larger gatherings or make a mocktail version for kiddos and those who would rather not imbibe!
Ingredients for a Cranberry Orange Vodka Cocktail
Gather your ingredients…
- orange flavored vodka
- orange liqueur (like triple sec or Cointreau)
- fresh oranges
- rosemary sprigs (optional, if you have cocktail picks)
- cranberry juice (look for juice sweetened by other fruit juices, not added sugars)
- granulated sugar
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Orange Cinnamon Sugar Rim
If you’d like to rim your glasses with this lovely scented sugar, simply combine a 1/2 cup of sugar with the zest of one orange and a few taps of the cinnamon shaker. You can also rub a cinnamon stick over your microplane for a super fresh cinnamon scent.
You can make this a day or two in advance and store it in an air tight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. It makes more than you’ll need for a few cocktails, but you can use the leftovers for your holiday baking or to sprinkle on toast or pancakes!
How to Mix a Thanksgiving on the Cape (+ Alcohol Free Substitutions)
- Dip the rim of your glass in simple syrup, then in the orange cinnamon sugar.
- Add ice to a cocktail shaker and pour in 1 ounce of orange vodka, 1/2 ounce of orange liqueur and 3 ounces of cranberry juice. Shake it up and strain into the cocktail glass.
- Garnish with fresh cranberries, orange peel, a cinnamon stick, a sprig of rosemary or whatever puts you in the festive spirit.
For an alcohol-free version, substitute the vodka and orange liqueur with orange juice, sparkling orange beverage (like San Pellegrino Aranciata) or orange-flavored sparkling water for a less sweet version. If you use anything bubbly, stir the ingredients together instead of shaking them!
Helpful Tips for Creating a Cranberry Orange Vodka Cocktail
Start off Cold
- Chill your liquors in the fridge or freezer; store juice in the fridge
- Chill your cocktail glasses as well — either pop them in the fridge for a bit, or fill with ice water and dump before you pour your cocktails
- Freeze a few cranberries to drop into the glass to help keep your drink cold.
- Rosemary sprigs, with the bottom leaves stripped off, make great garnish spears. If the rosemary is young and bendy, spear cranberries with a toothpick first to make it easier to thread the rosemary. You can also use a cocktail pick instead, or simply drop cranberries into the glass.
- Use a vegetable peeler or a citrus zester with a channel knife to create citrus curls or twists. Natural oils from the citrus add extra flavor to your drinks.
- Dip the rim of your glass in simple syrup to help the orange cinnamon sugar stick to the glass.
- You don’t need much, so for a quick batch, combine 1/4 cup each of sugar and water in a microwave safe bowl. Zap it in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until the sugar has dissolved. Allow it to cool before using.
- Store leftover syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.
Big Batch Conversion
Use these measurements to make a pitcher of four cocktails:
- 1/2 cup orange vodka
- 1/4 cup orange liqueur
- 3/4 cup cranberry juice
Enjoy Thanksgiving on the Cape with cheese + charcuterie or any holiday hors d’oeuvres. Sip slow and enjoy responsibly!
Raise a Glass with These Other Festive Cocktails…
- Cranberry-Lime Natale Sparkler
- Winter Sunset on the Seine
- Apricot-Basil Sangria
- Plum + Lime Whiskey Smash
- Good Tidings Grapefruit Pomegranate Cocktail
- Big Batch Frozen Pink Cadillac Margarita
Thanksgiving on the Cape: A Cranberry + Orange Vodka Cocktail
- microplane grater or zester
- vegetable peeler
- cocktail shaker
Orange Cinnamon Sugar*
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- zest of one orange scrub and dry the orange before zesting
- ground cinnamon a few taps of the shaker, to taste
- 1 oz orange flavored vodka
- ½ oz orange liqueur like triple sec or Cointreau
- 3 oz cranberry juice
- fresh cranberries, orange peel, rosemary sprigs for garnish
- simple syrup see note
- Dip the rim of your cocktail glass in simple syrup, then in the orange cinnamon sugar.
- Add ice to a cocktail shaker, then add vodka, orange liqueur and cranberry juice. Cap it and shake to combine and chill. Strain into your glass.
- Garnish with cranberries, orange peel, rosemary or whatever you like.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only.
This recipe is part of Sip + Sanity’s 2021 Thanksgiving Menu that includes recipes for brunch, cocktail hour and the main event. Check it out for make-ahead tips and the timeline!