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Your Vodka Cranberry, Updated Farm-to-Bar Style

Your Vodka Cranberry, Updated Farm-to-Bar Style

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It’s safe to say that the "farm-to-table" mentality has permeated almost every aspect of the food world; chefs are consistently spotted at farmers’ markets, and seasonal rotating menus are almost expected from the best restaurants in the country.

The same goes for high-end cocktail bars. named the farm-to-glass movement as a top trend in 2013, as mixologists have emerged as farmers’ market customers and rooftop farmers. At the same time, bartenders have become improvisers of sorts, using the day’s seasonal produce and the customer’s taste preferences to whip up cocktails on the fly.

This "farm-to-bar" trend is spreading across the country; Brian Felley and the team behind BIG in San Francisco (which opened last April) will whip up improvised cocktails based on a customer’s flavor preference. In Boulder, Colo., Riffs Urban Fare recreates classics with a local spin, serving up seasonal cocktails with the idea of farm-to-table mixology. And in New York, just-opened The LCL Bar & Kitchen at the Westin takes the idea mainstream, with produce-infused cocktails from Andres Santillana of The Darby. Not to mention Blue Hill New York, which has been serving farm-to-glass tipples since its inception.

We spoke to Felley, Santillana, and Blue Hill New York's Katie Bell to see how farmers’ market produce can make it into our poor man’s cocktails at home. Their tips? Start with buying local base spirits: "To use the term farm-to-table mixology, you have to know where your base spirit is from," Sarah Moore, Riffs Urban Fare general manager, tells us over the phone. "Starting with something that you get locally is the best way to start."

Then go to the farmers’ market to see what strikes your fancy. "One of the beauties of using ingredients from farmers' market is that fresh is always best," Santillana says. "Keep the drinks very, very simple; you can take a Rickey and incorporate a berry into that, or any kind of lavish garnish." And just because there’s snow on the ground in some parts of the country doesn’t mean farmers’ markets are bare; experiment with lesser-known citruses like kumquats, or flash-freeze produce from the fall to save into winter.

Click through our slideshow to see how you can use this winter's produce to riff on your favorite cocktails at home, from vodka cranberries to gin and tonics, with bonus recipes from Felley’s team at BIG.

12 Best Cranberry Cocktail Recipes

Cranberry juice makes brilliant and tasty drinks! Here all the best cranberry cocktail recipes, from Cosmos to Madras to the laid-back Sea Breeze.

Looking for stunning and refreshing cocktail recipes? Grab a bottle of cranberry juice! This bright red juice makes some of the best mixed drinks out there. They’re vibrant in color and sweet tart in flavor. There’s everything from the sophisticated bright pink Cosmopolitan cocktail, to the laid-back Sea Breeze, to the no-frills Vodka Cranberry. Here’s a list of our very favorite cranberry cocktail recipes! But first: a few notes on the type of cranberry juice to use!

Sweet and Sour Cocktail

We were kicking around some ideas for a cocktail we could make to celebrate National Vodka Day on October 4th, when we were approached by the folks at Smirnoff to try out their new product, Smirnoff Sourced Cranberry Apple Vodka.

This post contains sponsored content brought to you by Smirnoff. We received free products to review, but all opinions presented here are 100% our own. This post contains affiliate links for products that we think you as readers might find useful, and we make commission off of these! For more details about our affiliates, click our Disclosure and Contacts Page.

How to make this infused vodka

Step one

Gather the cranberries, vodka and a jar.

Step two

Place ¾ of the cranberries in a food processor and roughly pulse them.

Step three

Scrape chopped cranberries and whole cranberries in a large jar (A)

Step four

Pour vodka over the cranberries in the jar (B)

Step five

Once the vodka and cranberries are in the jar, you can already start to see the color leaching into the vodka (C)

Step six

Use a long wooden spoon to stir the cranberries and vodka or cap the jar and give it a little shake. You can see that stirring the vodka causes more color from the cranberries to infuse it

Step seven

Cap the jar and place it on a shelf somewhere. Some people store it in a cool dark place like a pantry, but I don&rsquot think it&rsquos necessary. I just kept the jar on our dining room table, to remind me to give it a stir

Step eight

Stir the cranberry infused vodka every day for a week

The following photo was taken after a week. Look at how vibrant the color is!

Step nine

Cover a sieve with some cheesecloth and pour the contents of the jar into the sieve.

Step ten

Toss the cranberries and cheesecloth, then pour the cranberry infused vodka into a large bottle or a few jars.

What are you going to do with the cranberry infused vodka when you make it? Keep it for yourself or gift it? Both are great ideas.

The other cocktail infusions

And as always, may all your dishes/drinks be delish!

If you&rsquove tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I&rsquod love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Your Vodka Cranberry, Updated Farm-to-Bar Style - Recipes

Some vodka-lovers would sooner skip the martini and enjoy the vodka neat. If so, consider one of the cranberry-infused vodkas from Finlandia, Matrioshka, Smirnoff, Stolichnaya or 267.

Finlandia Cranberry Vodka Matrioshka Cranberry Vodka Smirnoff Cranberry Twist Vodka Stoli Cranberi Vodka 267 Cranberry Infusion Vodka

But, you can have the fun of infusing your own. Generally when making infused vodka, the flavors should blend for four weeks or longer, but this recipe lets you do it in just 3 days.

Then, you can enjoy cranberry vodka straight up, on the rocks, or use it as a base for Cranberry Martinis the traditional way: just a tad of vermouth.

Cranberry Vodka Martini

How do you make it?

3 1/2 ounces cranberry infused vodka

A cranberry vodka martini is best served chilled and strained. To make the premier yet simple cranberry vodka martini, mix three and a half ounces cranberry-infused vodka and half an ounce cranberry juice. Shake gently and strain into a chilled martini glass. You can garnish with an orange to offset the tartness. Serving the crantini with a sugar-rimmed glass is always a hit with the ladies.

How would you describe its taste?

I would describe a cranberry vodka martini as slightly tart, but very refreshing.

When is it best to drink?

A cranberry vodka martini is great after, or during, a hot Florida day. Here in the Sarasota area, just about any day is great for a crantini.

Who drinks it?

At the Banana Factory, women tend to enjoy these flavored vodka drinks -- like cranberry vodka -- more than men.

Cranberry Vodka Spritzer

We&rsquore already more than halfway through October, so I definitely think it&rsquos time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. For the most part, I make the same meal every year, but I do like to mix it up from time to time and try a different side dish or tweak a favorite dish to update it, like this Panko Parmesan Topped Green Bean Casserole. I also always like to come up with a signature cocktail to serve.

I think it&rsquos fun to have a special cocktail to serve your guests on Thanksgiving, it just helps to set a festive tone. This cranberry vodka spritzer is the perfect drink for that.

It&rsquos really fresh tasting and the color is stunning! It&rsquos also perfect because it tastes just as great without the vodka, so teetotalers and kids can have a festive drink as well.

This cocktail starts with fresh cranberries which are combined with a touch of honey, a little bit of water and then blended into a puree. To make the cocktail, you just stir together a couple tablespoons of the puree with vodka and sparkling water. It&rsquos so easy, yet so festive!

The recipe as written will make about 6 cocktails, but you could easily puree enough cranberries for a crowd. For each 1 1/2 cups of cranberries that you add, add 2 more tablespoons of honey and 1/4 cup of water.

Cape Codder

The Cape Codder (or Cape Cod) is another name for the popular Vodka Cranberry, and it gets its name from the East Coast town in Massachusetts, which is known for growing cranberries. A simple mix of vodka and cranberry juice, poured tall in a glass and garnished with a lime wedge, it’s one of the easier-to-make cocktails you’ll come across. You don’t even have to shake it, strain it or employ any bar tools to make the Cape Codder.

When building the drink, you can use your preferred vodka, but there’s no need to choose one that’s too fancy or expensive. Any good, middle-of-the-road vodka will do, especially when paired with the sweet-tart flavor of cranberry juice. And the lime wedge isn’t just there for looks—it can be squeezed into the cocktail for a welcome dose of fresh citrus.

The Cape Codder is one of a series of drinks featuring vodka and cranberry juice and named for nautical or coastal themes. The Sea Breeze, for example, combines vodka, cranberry and grapefruit juice, while the Bay Breeze is vodka, cranberry and pineapple juice. Each of these simple cocktails is tasty and refreshing, whether you’re hanging out with the Kennedys aboard a yacht or drinking with your friends on the patio.


The legendary Cosmopolitan is a simple cocktail with a big history. It reached its height of popularity in the 1990s, when the HBO show “Sex and the City” was at its peak. The pink-hued, Martini-style drink was a favorite of the characters on the show. It made its debut during the second season and became a series regular after that.

For a good decade, the Cosmopolitan may have been the most popular cocktail in America, and bartenders couldn’t work a shift without making dozens of them for thirsty patrons. Naturally, its ubiquity spurred countless riffs, from the White Cosmo (St-Germain in place of Cointreau) to versions featuring gin. While the drink isn’t as popular today as it was in its heyday, the classic recipe is still very much alive.

According to bartending legend and author Gary Regan, the original Cosmopolitan was created in 1985 by Miami bartender Cheryl Cook while working at a South Beach bar called the Strand. Eager to invent a new cocktail for the Martini glass, Cook riffed on the classic Kamikaze by using a newly introduced citrus-flavored vodka, plus a splash of cranberry juice.

There’s some debate about who created the original Cosmopolitan. Many believe, like Regan, that it was first mixed by Cook. Others believe that Dale DeGroff concocted it at New York City’s Rainbow Room, or that Toby Cecchini first devised a Cosmo in 1988 during his tenure at New York’s Odeon. However, all agree that Cecchini popularized the vodka-and-cranberry ’Tini. His version of the drink called for 2 ounces of Absolut Citron vodka, an ounce of Cointreau, an ounce of Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail and an ounce of fresh lime juice, with a lemon twist.

The Cosmo was a product of its time. In the late-1980s and early-’90s, vodka was king, but flavored vodka was just finding an audience. When Absolut released its first flavored vodka, the lemony Citron, bartenders had a new toy to work with. Cecchini used it in the Cosmo alongside Ocean Spray, and the vodka-and-cranberry duo is still the preferred pair at most bars today. You, of course, can use whichever citrus-flavored vodka and cranberry juice you like. Just remember: Don’t drown your drink in cranberry. Other cocktails like the Sea Breeze call for a heavier measure of cranberry, but here the juice is meant to be only an accent, adding a touch of tartness and color.

Spiked Cranberry Lemonade

For those of you that follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen an Instagram story, or caught a Facebook Live recently, where I’ve been sharing all about the “Fixer Upper” I purchased with my boyfriend Kurt!

We did all of the demo ourselves and then spent the last month sitting around waiting for permits to be approved by the city of San Diego. Magically this week, it happened! The permits were approved and that means the remodel can begin. This definitely called for an impromptu celebration!

I grabbed a bottle of Tropicana Lemonade and made a super simple cocktail. Simple, but so delicious and definitely going in my happy hour regular rotation!

Tropicana Lemonade has no artificial flavors or sweeteners, it’s perfectly refreshing and it’s great served with a splash of cranberry juice and a dash of vodka!

  • 3 oz Tropicana Lemonade
  • 1 oz cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • Ice
  • Rosemary Sprigs – Optional Garnish

Add lemonade, cranberry juice, vodka and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with fresh lemon wedges and rosemary sprigs.

I love the addition of rosemary as a garnish. It adds a hint of rosemary flavor to the cocktail and makes for a beautiful presentation, while still keeping the cocktail super simple!

Tropicana Premium Lemonades and Drinks are perfect for sipping on by themselves or mixing into simple cocktails for impromptu celebrations any time of the year!


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