This warm spiced cranberry cocktail is easy to make but so tasty, with or without alcohol. A perfect way to get in the festive spirit and warm you through.
Many years ago now I remember one night when I met up with a friend in London we opted to meet in a small Cuban-themed bar/restaurant. It was a cold, windy mid-week night and most sensible people had gone home rather than out for after-work drinks but we hadn’t seen each other in a while so by the bar we perched. I think the barman was looking to make the evening pass by a bit more quickly and he offered to make us some warm cocktails.
We were intrigued and agreed. It turned out to be a good choice as the drinks were both delicious and perfect for the weather. I’m not sure if we were told what was in the various drinks (we had a couple each, all different, which he made after asking us a couple questions about our tastes) and certainly I can’t remember now quite what they were like but they inspired this spiced cranberry cocktail which, if I say so myself, is a pretty fantastic drink. You can have it either alcoholic or non, the alcoholic version just has a bit more of a kick, clearly.
Warm cocktails are such a great idea for cold weather as the warmth really works its way all through you but for whatever reason they don’t seem to have become a trend. Or I guess more accurately, they have gone out of fashion as long before our time they were popular and there are only a few remnants like hot toddys and mulled wine/glogg around to remind us. Maybe it’s pure logistics of warming drinks in a bar but it’s a shame. But you don’t have to miss out at home! And given it’s Christmas, now is the time if ever there was, particularly for a cranberry cocktail.
This is a very easy cocktail/mocktail that you can adapt the alcohol part to taste – I think either rum or gin would work best here (I know they are a bit different but they both pair well), but you could also try it with your favorite spirit if you prefer and see how you like it. I used some of our cranberry gin for an extra bit of seasonal spirit but regular gin would be fine.
It’s amazing how a gently warm and spiced drink can both get you in the festive mood and warm you through to your toes – not that we need warming today, it’s a strangely warm Christmas here this year but we’ll take it. I know there’s enough festive excitement in my toddler for the lot of us, but I’ll be having a glass of this spiced cranberry cocktail to help me get in the spirit.
This drink has warming, seasonal flavors, with or without a little kick.
- 6 fl oz cranberry juice 175ml
- 3 fl oz orange juice 90ml
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 1 slice fresh ginger
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 1/2 fl oz rum 45ml, or gin, optional
Place the cranberry juice, orange juice, cinnamon, cloves and ginger in a small pan and warm gently until it comes to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer a couple minutes.
Remove from the heat, add the honey and rum/gin, if using, stir in and strain the spices off as you serve in a glass.
Note - if you are making a larger batch, you can instead, if you prefer, heat it in a slow cooker over around 2 hours on low using the same proportion of juices but not quite as many spices (so eg 24oz cranberry juice, 12oz orange juice with 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves and 2-3 slices of ginger).
Try these other seasonal drinks:
I’ll be making a pitcher (or three) and taking it over to Angie and friends at Fiesta Friday (with co-hosts Judi, Mollie, Steffi, and Suzanne) as it’s an extra big celebration there today – not only is it Christmas, it’s the 100th Fiesta Friday and the party’s being extended to cover the second birthday. While I’ve not taken part for as long as that, I have for over a year and it’s been a lot of fun, such a friendly group, and so I definitely think they deserve a glass or more of this warm spiced cranberry cocktail to help everyone celebrate. I hope you’ll head on over to see what else everyone has brought, when you get a chance, but first get back to enjoying your day with family, as I will be.
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