Holiday cheer: it comes in many forms, but my current favorite is this cranberry gin shaker! It’s a little tart, a little sweet, and very drinkable.
Ingredients in my cranberry gin shaker
- elderflower liqueur
- homemade cranberry simple syrup (recipe below)
- fresh lemon juice
- optional candied cranberries for garnish
How to make cranberry simple syrup
Do not be intimidated by homemade simple syrup. It’s a combination of water and sugar that is dissolved together on a stove top. You can leave it as is — unflavored, but sweet — or add additional ingredients to flavor the syrup.
For this cocktail, I added frozen cranberries (fresh would be fine as well!). The cranberries steep in the simple syrup and create a sweet addition perfect for Christmas cocktails and holiday party entertaining!
Combine 1 cup water + ¾ cup granulated sugar in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved, then lower heat to medium-low, add ½ cup frozen cranberries, then cook for 5 minutes.
Which leads me to…
Once the cranberries have steeped in the simple syrup for 5 minutes, they’ve served their purpose. But that doesn’t mean they should get tossed! Oh no, we’re turning them into candied cranberries with this easy recipe.
Place 1 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer a few of the cooked cranberries into sugar, then toss to evenly coat. Place sugar coated cranberries on a drying rack to harden. Repeat with remaining cranberries until they’re all coated.
Candied cranberries are the perfect garnish for this Christmas gin cocktail. Nothing beats that pop of color and the sweet, tart garnish at the bottom of your drink!
Is this a gin fizz cocktail?
No! A gin fizz generally consists of gin, fresh lemon juice, some sort of sweetener (simple syrup!), and is topped with carbonated water. This is kind of like that, but without the added bubbles.
This easy holiday cocktail is one that I come back to again and again and again. Sometimes in the same night! If you’ve got any mint lying around (we also do!), add 1 or 2 leaves to the top of each finished drink — it creates a lovely red and green color palette, but also works off of the sugar in the drink beautifully.
I hope you and your loved ones enjoy this cranberry gin cocktail as much as we do. Every time I make this, there is much rejoicing and much holiday cheer.
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More cocktail recipes to try!
- Campari Gin Fizz + Campari Gin Sour
- French 75
- Cucumber Martini
- Pomegranate Gin And Tonic
- Paper Plane Cocktail
Cranberry Gin Shaker Recipe
For cranberry simple syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 ¾ cups sugar divided
- ½ cup frozen cranberries
For the cocktail
- 4 oz gin
- 4 oz elderflower liquor (such as Saint Germain)
- 4 oz cranberry simple syrup
- 4 oz fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- fresh mint leaves (for garnish)
To make cranberry simple syrup
- Combine water and 3/4 cup sugar in a medium sauce pan set over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves, then lower heat to medium-low and add cranberries. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place remaining 1 cup sugar in a small bowl. Use a slotted spoon to carefully transfer a few cranberries at a time from the sauce pan and place in sugar. Swirl until evenly coated, then transfer to a cooling rack to harden. Repeat with remaining cranberries, then set simple syrup aside,
To make cocktail
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, then add gin, elderflower liquor, cranberry simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice. Shake for about 30 seconds, then divide evenly into coupe glasses. Garnish with fresh mint and candied cranberries.