Vixen Cranberry Cocktail

Vixen Cranberry Cocktail
Lara Ferroni
  • Yield: 12-16 servings

During the holiday season, poor-quality cranberry juice too often ruins an otherwise excellent cocktail, so Ryan Goodspeed set out to make his own. It’s a breeze to put together, dazzles with tartness, and entices with a wintery perfume of fresh rosemary. Bitter Aperol and a touch of simple syrup and lemon tie the satin bow on this festive recipe.


Rosemary-Infused Cranberry Juice:
4 (12-ounce) bags frozen cranberries
8cups water
10 sprigs fresh rosemary
Simple Syrup:
1cup water
1cup granulated sugar
3cups vodka
1 1/2cups rosmary-infused cranberry juice
1cup Aperol
1/2cup simple syrup
1/4cup fresh lemon juice
Ice cubes
2cups soda water (optional)
Fresh cranberries (garnish)
Lemon wheels (garnish)


Note: The recipes for the rosemary-infused cranberry juice and simple syrup will make more than what is needed for the cocktail. Save the excess to use in additional cocktails this season!

For Rosemary-Infused Cranberry Juice (Yield: 8 cups):

  1. Combine the cranberries with 4 cups of the water in a large pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently so as not to burn the fruit. When the cranberries soften and become mushy, add the remaining 4 cups water and the rosemary. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from the heat, and let cool for 15 minutes. Strain the juice into a clean glass bottle, discarding the berries and rosemary. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

 For the Simple Syrup (Yield: 1 1/2 cups):

  1. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring slowly, until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a clean glass bottle, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

For the Cocktail:

  1. Combine the vodka, cranberry juice, Aperol, simple syrup, and lemon juice in a large pitcher and refrigerate until well chilled. Pour over ice cubes into a punch bowl and stir. Add the soda water, if desired. Float fresh cranberries and lemon wheels as garnishes.

TIP: Aperol—a bittersweet Italian aperitif flavored with orange, rhubarb, gentian, and cinchona bark—is closely related to another jewel-toned mixer, Campari. And though the two share similarities in color and ingredients, Aperol is a tad sweeter, and comes in at about half the alcohol content.

Excerpted from Cocktails for the Holidays, © 2014 by The Editors of imbibe Magazine. Reproduced by permission of Chronicle Books.