Vodka Cranberry (Cape Codder): Easy 2-Ingredient Cocktail

The Vodka Cranberry, also known as a Cape Cod or Cape Codder, is a classic cocktail made from vodka and cranberry juice. It is typically served in a highball glass, garnished with a lime wedge. The drink offers a balanced flavor profile, with the tartness of cranberry juice complementing the smoothness of vodka. Preparation is simple: mix the vodka and cranberry juice over ice, then stir. This versatile cocktail is suitable for various occasions and pairs well with light appetizers and seafood dishes. Popular variations include the Sea Breeze and Madras.

Crafting the perfect Vodka Cranberry made easy >>>

Flavor Profile

The flavor profile of a Vodka Cranberry cocktail consists of the crispness of vodka, the tart and sweet notes of cranberry juice, and an optional citrus finish from a lime wedge. The cocktail is both smooth and approachable, making it suitable for novices and seasoned drinkers alike.

  • Flavor Profile: A multifaceted blend of tart, sweet, and alcoholic flavors.
  • Tasting Notes: Vodka provides crispness, cranberry juice adds tart and sweet notes, and lime offers a citrus finish.
  • Drinkability: The cocktail’s balanced flavors contribute to its wide-ranging appeal.


The ingredients for crafting a Vodka Cranberry include 1 oz (30 ml) of vodka, 3 oz (90 ml) of cranberry juice, a lime wedge for garnish and added flavor, and approximately one cup (240 ml) of ice for stirring.

  • Vodka: 1 oz (30 ml) is the standard measure. A premium brand is recommended for the best results.
  • Cranberry Juice: 3 oz (90 ml) is ideal, and it should be 100% juice to avoid excess sugar.
  • Lime Wedge: An optional but recommended addition for visual appeal and a citrusy note.
  • Ice: About one cup (240 ml) to cool the drink to the desired temperature.
  • Sweetener: Optionally, customize sweetness with simple syrup, cranberry liqueur, honey or any other sweetener of choice.
  • Lime juice: Optional, to taste, as a sweet-tart flavor balancer.

Customizing Sweetness

There are several ways to enhance the sweetness to suit your personal taste without compromising the essence of the cocktail.

  • Syrup: The easiest way to increase sweetness is by adding a dash of syrup, such as simple syrup, maple syrup or cranberry syrup. Start with a 1/2 ounce and adjust to your liking.
  • Flavored Liqueur: Using a fruit-flavored liqueur like peach schnapps or triple sec can sweeten the drink and add a new layer of flavor.
  • Agave or Honey: For a more natural approach, a splash of agave nectar or honey can do the trick.
  • Sweetened Cranberry Juice: Opt for a cranberry juice cocktail that has added sugars.

Feel free to experiment with these options until you find your perfect level of sweetness.

Substitute Ingredients

If you need to modify the traditional recipe, several viable alternatives exist. Gin or tequila can replace vodka, while pomegranate or cherry juice can be used in lieu of cranberry juice. These alternatives should maintain the general flavor essence of the original cocktail.

  • Vodka Alternatives: Gin or tequila are the most commonly used substitutes.
  • Cranberry Juice Alternatives: Pomegranate juice or cherry juice for a unique flavor twist.


The financial outlay for a Vodka Cranberry varies based on the setting. In a bar, the cost generally ranges from $8 to $14. Alternatively, the cost per serving for a homemade version can be as low as $2, depending on ingredient quality.

  • Bar Cost: Expect to pay between $8 and $14, depending on the location and spirits used.
  • Home-Made Cost: As low as $2 per serving if mid-range ingredients are used.

Tools & Equipment

To prepare a Vodka Cranberry, you will need a bar spoon and a mixing glass for stirring, a highball glass for serving, and a jigger for measuring. If you do not have a mixing glass, any regular glass can double as a mixing glass. The same goes for the bar spoon; any long spoon or stirring stick will do the stirring job. And a jigger can be replaced by a shot glass, measuring cups or spoons.

  • Mixing Glass: To stir the liquid ingredients with ice.
  • Bar Spoon: For stirring.
  • Jigger: To measure the liquids accurately.
  • Highball Glass: The traditional serving glass for a Vodka Cranberry.

Step-By-Step Directions

Creating a Vodka Cranberry involves a straightforward procedure. Fill a highball glass with ice, pour in your vodka, followed by cranberry juice. Stir to blend, then garnish with a lime wedge. Voilà, your Vodka Cranberry is ready for enjoyment!

Here are the steps to guide you to cocktail perfection.

1. Preparation: Arrange vodka, cranberry juice, lime wedge, and ice. Keep a highball glass, jigger, and cocktail shaker handy.

2. Chill Glass: Fill the highball glass with ice to pre-chill it. (This step is optional but recommended.)

3. Measure Vodka: Use a jigger to pour 1 oz (30 ml) of vodka over the ice in the glass.

4. Add Cranberry Juice: Pour in 3 oz (90 ml) of cranberry juice. Add in any other optional ingredients, such as sweetener or lime juice.

5. Stir: Use a stirring stick to mix the ingredients gently.

6. Garnish: Add a lime wedge on the rim or in the drink.

7. Taste: Sip and adjust the flavor, if needed, by adding more juice or lime.

8. Serve: Enjoy your cocktail immediately for the best taste experience.

Stir or Shake

The Vodka Cranberry is traditionally stirred rather than shaken to maintain its clarity and avoid over-dilution. Stirring preserves the cocktail’s integrity.

  • Stir: Recommended for a clear, well-balanced drink.
  • Shake: Generally not advised due to the risk of over-dilution.


For a Vodka Cranberry, the ice serves multiple purposes: it chills the drink, provides a certain level of dilution, and enhances the cocktail’s overall presentation. Approximately one cup of ice is recommended.

  • Ice: About one cup for optimal chilling and dilution.
  • Chilling: Stirring the cocktail with ice is essential for enhancing the cocktail’s flavor. Also, it is recommended that you chill the glass before serving.
  • Dilution: A small amount is beneficial but avoid overdoing it.


Vodka Cranberry is best consumed immediately. However, when sealed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator, the cocktail can retain its flavors for up to 48 hours. This makes it convenient for prepping in advance or saving any leftovers.

  • Airtight Container: Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent oxidation and flavor loss.
  • Refrigeration: Store the cocktail in the coolest part of your fridge.
  • Stir Before Serving: Before serving, give the stored cocktail a good stir to mix any settled ingredients.


Scaling a Vodka Cranberry cocktail for a group gathering is not only feasible but also highly efficient. By premixing the ingredients, you save both time and effort when it’s time to party. When scaling a Vodka Cranberry for group enjoyment, maintain the ratio of 1 oz of vodka to 3 oz of cranberry juice per serving. Calculations should be based on the number of anticipated servings.

  • Ratio: Base measurements on the total number of servings needed. Maintain a 1:3 ratio of vodka to cranberry juice.
  • Premix: Combine vodka and cranberry juice in a large jug or container according to your guest count.
  • Storage: You can store this premixed cocktail in the fridge for up to 48 hours in an airtight container.
  • Party Time: When you’re ready to serve, simply stir the premixed cocktail well and pour it over ice in individual glasses. Add garnishes as desired.


Common mistakes in preparing a Vodka Cranberry include over-dilution and using low-quality ingredients. To remedy these issues, use fresh, quality ingredients and be mindful of the ice-to-liquid ratio.

  • Over-Dilution: Avoid using too much ice or shaking the cocktail.
  • Low-Quality Ingredients: Opt for premium vodka and 100% cranberry juice for the best experience.



Choosing the right glass and garnish can make or break your Vodka Cranberry experience. While a highball glass is the traditional choice, stemless wine glasses or even mason jars can offer a contemporary twist.

  • Classic Glassware: Highball or Collins glass
  • Alternative Glassware: Stemless wine glass, mason jar


Elevate your Vodka Cranberry with the right garnish:

  • Classic Garnish: Lime wedge
  • Creative Garnish: Fresh cranberries, mint leaves, or a citrus peel spiral


There’s a universe of cocktails closely related to the Vodka Cranberry, each with its unique spin. Here are some popular variations you might enjoy:

  • Sea Breeze: Vodka, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice
  • Bay Breeze: Vodka, cranberry juice, pineapple juice
  • Madras: Vodka, cranberry juice, orange juice
  • Woo Woo: Vodka, cranberry juice, peach liqueur
  • Cranberry Martini (Crantini): Vodka, cranberry juice, cranberry syrup, orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
  • Rose Kennedy (VSS or Vodka-Soda-Splash): Vodka, sparkling water, only a splash of cranberry juice
  • Cosmopolitan: Vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
  • Rum & Cranberry: White rum, lime juice and orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
  • St Germain Cocktail: Vodka, cranberry juice and elderflower liqueur
  • Sex on the Beach: Vodka, cranberry juice, orange juice and peach liqueur

Or you can make any of these other super-easy 2-ingredient cocktails.


Create your own Vodka Cranberry riff – your Vodka Cranberry doesn’t have to be textbook; you can personalize it with various ingredient tweaks.

  • Classic Variations: Use flavored vodka like vanilla or citrus. Add lime juice for additional citrusy kick.
  • Mixers: Top up with sparkling water for a lighter cocktail and extra fizz.
  • Creative Variations: Infuse the cranberry juice with herbs like rosemary or spices like cinnamon.



When does a Vodka Cranberry shine?

A Vodka Cranberry is versatile, fitting for casual get-togethers, summer BBQs, and even more formal events like weddings.

In winter, it is popular due to the cranberry element; and in summer, it is widely served for its refreshing properties.

Food Pairings

What goes well with a Vodka Cranberry?

This cocktail pairs wonderfully with light appetizers like cheese platters or seafood, as well as salty or spicy main courses.

Vodka Cranberry Cape Cod Cocktail

Vodka-Cranberry Cocktail [Cape Cod / Cape Codder]

The Vodka Cranberry, also known as a Cape Cod or Cape Codder, is a classic, easy-to-make cocktail featuring vodka and cranberry juice, served in a highball glass and garnished with a lime wedge; its tart and smooth flavor profile makes it a versatile choice for various occasions.
Total Time 3 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 Measuring jigger
  • 1 Highball glass
  • 1 Mixing glass (optional, for stirring)
  • 1 Spoon or stirring stick (for stirring)


  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 3 oz Cranberry juice
  • 1 tbsp Sweetener (syrup, liqueur or other) (optional)
  • 1 wedge Lime wheel/wedge (optional, for garnish)
  • 1 cup Ice (for stirring and serving)


  • Ice the Glass: Place a handful of ice cubes into your highball glass to chill it.
  • Measure the Ingredients: Using a jigger, measure the liquid ingredients.
  • Stir: Using a spoon or stick, gently stir the mixture in the glass. Mix the ingredients adequately without causing over-dilution.
  • Garnish: Place a lime wedge on the rim of the glass or drop it into the drink for a citrusy kick.


Calories: 159kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 25mgPotassium: 79mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 39IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Calories: 159kcal
Cost: $3
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail
Keyword: cocktail, cranberry
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