This cozy Cranberry Daiquiri recipe is a delightfully festive rum cranberry cocktail perfect for fall and winter holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve, and all the days in between. The homemade cinnamon and orange-infused cranberry syrup makes all the difference!
The classic daiquiri was invented in Cuba in the early 1900s. It's a hand-shaken concoction featuring simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and white rum. Over the years, the classic has yielded various flavored renditions including strawberry and banana daiquiris, and has even taken a slushy, frozen form.
This exquisitely crafted cranberry daiquiri features an orange and cinnamon-infused cranberry syrup in place of the traditional simple syrup. Meanwhile, its lovely red hue and tart cranberry flavor makes it ideal for a variety of fall and winter gatherings.
- Rum: Although traditional daiquiris feature light rum, this cranberry daiquiri uses dark rum. You could also try this with spiced rum, which is typically a dark rum with additional warm spices added to flavor it.
- Lime Juice: Use freshly squeezed lime juice, not the bottled stuff.
- Cranberries: Fresh cranberries are typically available in the weeks leading up to and through Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Orange Zest: Use a vegetable peeler to remove 2 wide strips of zest from an orange, avoiding the white pith beneath.
- Cinnamon: Use a cinnamon stick as opposed to ground cinnamon, which will negatively impact the clarity of the cranberry syrup.
How to make it
The first step to making this cranberry daiquiri recipe is to make the cranberry syrup. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.
Next, add the strips of orange zest and a cinnamon stick, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and add fresh cranberries. Once the first cranberry audibly pops, remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly remove 18 intact cranberries and set the aside. These poached cranberries will become your garnish.
Return the saucepan to the heat and continue to simmer until all the cranberries have popped. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes.
Carefully strain the mixture through a sieve, carefully pressing on the solids. Return the poached cranberries to the syrup and cool completely.
To make each cranberry daiquiri combine dark rum, lime juice, and cranberry syrup in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously and then strain into a cocktail or martini glass, garnishing with 3 of the poached cranberries.
Repeat with more rum, lime juice, and cranberry syrup to make additional cranberry daiquiris.
Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe (in a printable recipe card) including ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.
Expert tips and FAQs
- The cranberry syrup will keep for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
- I've made this cranberry daiquiri with different brands of rum over the years and the color can vary significantly. Use your favorite brand, however if you want a super red drink, you'll want a dark rum that's less aged/not as dark or opt for a more subtle-tasting light rum, which is clear and won't impact the color of the drink.
- For the garnish, although the cranberries are lightly poached in the simple syrup, they are still quite tart. Don't assume they will taste sweet or candied if you eat the garnish.
Yes you can, however dark rum generally has a bolder flavor whereas light rum is more subtle.
Yes, however it will take a bit longer for the cranberries to start popping. You'll simply need to adjust the amount of time required to make the syrup.
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Cranberry Syrup (Enough for 6 Cocktails):
- ⅔ cup water
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 wide strips orange zest
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 ¼ cups (4 ounces) fresh cranberries
Cranberry Daiquiri (Per Cocktail):
- 2 ounces dark rum
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 ounce cranberry syrup
- Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is clear.
- Add orange zest strips and cinnamon stick and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and add cranberries. Once the first cranberry pops, briefly remove the saucepan from the heat, and remove 18 intact cranberries to a small dish. These poached cranberries will garnish your drinks. Set them aside, and return the saucepan to the heat. Continue to simmer until the remaining cranberries pop.
- Remove the cranberry syrup from the heat and let the mixture steep in the saucepan for 30 minutes. Pass the mixture through a strainer, pressing very gently on the solids with back of a spoon. You'll have about 6 to 7 ounces of clear, reddish syrup. Return the poached cranberries to the strained syrup and cool completely before making the daiquiris.
- For each cranberry daiquiri, add the rum, lime juice, and cranberry syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and then strain into a cocktail/martini glass. Garnish with 3 of the poached cranberries. Repeat to make additional cranberry daiquiris.
- Leftover cranberry syrup and poached cranberries will keep for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove 2 wide strips of zest from an orange, avoiding the white pith beneath.
- Dark rum generally has a bolder flavor whereas light rum is more subtle. You may substitute light rum if that's all you have, but the flavor will be a bit different. You could also try this with spiced rum, which is typically a dark rum with additional warm spices added to flavor it.
- Any brand of dark rum will do, but may affect the color of the finished cocktail depending on how dark they are.
- Adapted from Gramercy Tavern in New York City.
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*