The perfect Christmas cocktail for the holiday season, this 4 ingredient cranberry gin cocktail is an easy recipe for entertaining or simply for creating your own holiday cheer.
Festive cocktails for holiday parties and Christmas dinner can be over the top. Many include rich liqueurs, egg yolks, egg white, heavy cream, or festive spices.
This drink has none of those ingredients. Simple and delicious, this cranberry gin cocktail is a great choice for the holidays but with only 4 ingredients, it's also an easy choice.
Orange bitters impart citrus flavor while taking the place of more tart mixers like lime juice, fresh lemon juice, or other citrus juices. The rosemary simple syrup gives this refreshing drink an unexpected twist and pairs perfectly with herbaceous gin.
The flavor of juniper berries in the gin pairs well with rosemary and pure cranberry juice to create a drink that's not too sweet. Serve this Christmas gin cocktail at your next holiday party!
Ingredients like cinnamon stick, star anise, and even ginger beer are common in festive gin cocktails, but they tend to overwhelm the other ingredients in your drink.
By leaving out those spicy ingredients this delicious cocktail is a great sip for the gin lover in your life because you can actually taste the gin!
- Cranberry juice - Use your favorite 100% cranberry juice brand. Skip the cranberry juice cocktail that's mostly sugar or the cranberry blends with other flavors in them.
- Gin - I love New Holland Knickerbocker in this cocktail because it's flavors blend well with the rosemary. Choose your favorite gin for this cocktail.
- Rosemary simple syrup - This syrup takes only three ingredients and five minutes to make. It's a quick syrup to make at home, just be sure to give it time to cool completely before using.
- Orange bitters - Orange bitters help keep the sweetness in check and add a little orange flavor to this cocktail.
How to Make a Cranberry Gin Cocktail
Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake it up and strain into a glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and/or some frozen cranberries
Make Your Own Rosemary Simple Syrup
- Make your rosemary syrup in advance. When you’re making homemade simple syrup, it needs time to cool. Using warm syrup will cause the ice to melt too fast when you shake up your drink, leading to a watered down cocktail.
- Use 100% juice! Be sure to choose pure cranberry juice instead of cranberry juice cocktail, which is mostly sugar. Using anything besides 100% cranberry juice will change the flavor of your drink and make it overly sweet.
- Since you’re pouring it over ice, choose a rocks glass or brandy snifter for serving this drink.
Looking for more Christmas Cocktail Recipes?
Holiday entertaining can be stressful! Make it easier on yourself with some quick and delicious holiday drink recipes! Cranberry Mimosas are easy to make for a crowd and perfect for a holiday brunch or luncheon. Or make an easy batch of Rudolph's Tipsy Punch.
Want to serve something non-alcoholic? Try my Pomegranate Christmas Punch!
FAQs and Substitutions
If you don't have rosemary on hand, you can substitute simple syrup or honey syrup.
Choose a gin with lots of herb flavor in it. I love Knickerbocker Gin by New Holland Distillery here in West Michigan. Tanqueray or Bombay Gin are also juniper-forward and would be delicious in this cocktail. If you're new to gin, try Beefeater gin or Aviation gin.
Frozen cranberries, fresh cranberries, a big sprig of rosemary, and/or a twist of orange peel are all fun garnishes to give this drink a festive finish. (And even though they're green and festive, skip the slice of lime or mint leaves. The flavors will clash with the rosemary and overwhelm the drink.)
What to serve with Cranberry Gin Cocktails
A bright cranberry cocktail needs a savory snack. For the holidays, I love serving snack and appetizers that I can make well ahead of time. These Savory Spiced Nuts are made in the slow cooker giving you time to do other things. Or try my BBQ Oyster Crackers which are a little sweet, a little spicy, and highly addictive.