Infusing spirits is a fun way to add your own unique twist to cocktails! This Cranberry Infused Vodka is especially great for holiday gifts and cocktails!
So, I'm not a huge cocktail drinker but I have been known to indulge in the occasional martini or two! Craft cocktails are still having their moment in most big cities and I've been hearing a lot about infused spirits lately, so I thought it would be fun to experiment with making my own! When I do drink cocktails they typically involve vodka or tequila, so I decided to make my first go at infusing using vodka to create this Cranberry Infused Vodka. You can use it in all of your holiday cocktails and it also makes a great holiday gift for some lucky friends or family members!
- Vodka: I recommend using a mid-level brand of vodka for infusing. Something you would use to make other vodka cocktails. You want to start with unflavored vodka.
- Cranberries: Fresh cranberries are ideal for this recipe but if you are making the infused vodka at a time of year when they are not available, you can use frozen cranberries.
- Sugar: Plain white or granulated sugar is what you'll need.
- Vanilla bean
- Orange: You will only use some of the peel so the rest of the orange can be used for a different purpose.
How do you make infused vodka?
I always thought making infused vodka was a "big project" that might require special gadgets and lots and lots of time. It turns out it's not really that complicated. You just need some basic ingredients and a bit of time. Speaking of time, don't panic when you look at the total recipe time, the infusing process takes a while - at least 4 days, ideally about a week - so you'll need to plan ahead a little bit to ensure your vodka is ready on time.
Cook the cranberries. The start of this process will sound a little bit like making cranberry sauce - you cook the cranberries with sugar then add a vanilla bean and some orange peel.
Infuse the vodka. Once the cranberries are cooked you'll need a big mason jar or a similar airtight container that will hold 750ml of vodka plus the cranberries. Everything goes in the jar and then it's a matter of patience!
Bottle the mixture. Once the infusing process is complete you'll need a strainer, a funnel and another 750ml bottle. Something like this hermetic bottle from the Container Store works well. Just strain the vodka and use the funnel to pour it into the new bottle. You're ready for cocktails or gift-giving!!
What cocktails can I make with this vodka?
My favorite way to use this vodka is to make Cranberry Martinis. To create this simple holiday martini, rim a martini glass with sugar by dipping the rim of the glass in water and then dipping it in sugar. Next, add 1 ½ ounces of the cranberry-infused vodka to the martini glass and top it with 2-3 ounces of sparkling water. Garnish with a twisted orange peel.
How do you store infused vodka?
You can store the vodka in a hermetic bottle or any container that has an airtight lid and is relatively easy to pour from.
Cranberry Infused Vodka
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ of a vanilla bean
- 2 long strips of orange peel
- 750 ml of good vodka, use your favorite brand
- Cook the cranberries. Place cranberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Infuse the vodka. Add cranberries, vanilla bean and orange peel to a large jar. Pour vodka into a large jar. Seal jar and store in a cool dry spot for 4-7 days.
- Bottle the vodka. Once the vodka is infused, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl or measuring cup. Use a funnel to pour strained vodka into a large, sealable bottle. Vodka will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.
- The bulk of the time for this recipe is the time it takes for the vodka to infuse. The actual hands-on time is less than 15 minutes.
- To create a simple holiday martini, add sugar to the rim of a martini glass. Add 1 ½ ounces of vodka to a martini glass and top with 2-3 ounces of sparkling water. Garnish with a twisted orange peel.
This post was originally published in December 2015. It was updated in December 2022 with some new information and photos. No changes were made to the original recipe.