Try a cranberry gin and tonic for a winter twist on a classic cocktail, bringing together cranberry and lime for a tart dance with bitter tonic water and herbal gin.
Why you’ll love it: This cocktail is tart and refreshing, perfect for any season.
How long it takes: 5 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: just a glass!
Servings: one, but it’s easy to make more
A cranberry gin and tonic is a knock out combination. Not literally, because of course one of these drinks won’t knock you out, but the addition of cranberry to a classic G&T is gilding the lily, in a good sense. With Christmas right around the corner, you’ll want to add this festive beverage to your cocktail menu.
I tend toward cocktails that aren’t cloyingly sweet which is one of the reasons I love a gin and tonic. The addition of tart cranberry juice doesn’t increase the sweetness a bit but adds a whole new dimension of flavor to this holiday cocktail which is fairly low in calories, less than 250 calories for a good-sized drink.
And color! Isn’t this a beautiful cocktail? Brilliant red with dark crimson cranberries, bright green lime wedges, and silvery rosemary leaves — it’s a visual feast. The red and green are perfect for Christmas.
If you love G & Ts, you’re going to want to give this variation a try, and if you’ve never had a gin and tonic, let me introduce you! It may be the beginning of a happy relationship.
As always, drink responsibly!
About this Gin and Tonic
A cranberry gin and tonic is a pretty simple cocktail so it’s important to use quality ingredients. For more basics about selecting the right kind of gin or the best tonic water, check out my classic gin and tonic recipe.
This recipe makes one drink. Gin and tonics taste best mixed individually, not poured into a pitcher or punch bowl. Use a tall highball glass, or large globe glass. If your glasses are smaller, halve the ingredients.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary, if possible. The herbal aroma of rosemary on the rim of the glass really enhances the drink. With each sip, the scent of the rosemary mingles with the flavor of cranberry, lime, and gin. Crush the leaves slightly with your fingertips for the full effect.
Wondering what to serve with this cocktail? This really delightful baked Brie with cranberries and bourbon pecans goes exceptionally well with it and it’s an easy appetizer to make. Another good match is butternut squash crostini with ricotta or tortilla chips and crackers with homemade cranberry salsa (with only two ingredients!).
Use a freshly opened bottle of tonic water. Flat tonic water is sort of gross. Pour the tonic water slowly to retain the maximum amount of fizz. Coldness is key to retaining fizz, as well, so chill all the elements of the cocktail, including the glass if possible, and use plenty of fresh ice.
What You’ll Need
- Cranberry Juice: Look for 100% cranberry juice. Many products labeled cranberry juice are really a blend of juices, with lots of added sugar. They are okay but for the best cranberry flavor, one hundred percent juice is what you need.
- Gin: Use a good quality gin, such as Tanqueray, a London dry gin.
- Tonic: An Indian tonic is preferable, such as Fever Tree. Tonic is a carbonated mixer with quinine which adds a hint of bitterness.
- Lime Slices: an optional garnish that is almost always served with a G&T.
- Fresh Cranberries and a sprig of Fresh Rosemary: optional garnishes that look especially festive for Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re serving this cocktail in the summer, a lime wedge and the rosemary will suffice. Fresh cranberries are a little tricky to find in the off seasons.
Make It Your Own
This is such a simple recipe, it’s difficult to vary it much but here’s a few suggestions.
- If you like a sweeter drink, use a cranberry cocktail juice or add simple syrup.
- If you like a stronger cranberry flavor, increase the amount of cranberry juice added.
- For stronger drinks, use additional gin.
- If you prefer a mocktail, with no alcohol, maybe this isn’t the drink for you; try a Ginger-Cinnamon Apple Cider Mocktail.
- If orange juice is more your thing, try this citrusy orange gin and tonic.
Cranberry gin and tonics are best made individually and served immediately. Make sure all of the ingredients are cold, including the glasses, if possible, and have plenty of fresh ice on hand.
More Holiday Beverages
Raise a glass and toast the holiday season with one of these festive drinks. Try:
- Cranberry Margarita Recipe
- Classic Negroni
- Cherry Martini with Elderflower and Lime
- Red Wine and Cherry Spritzer
- Pomegranate Mojito Recipe
- Sparkling Pomegranate Punch
- Orange Mojito
- Apple Cider Mule
- Apple Cider Mocktail – nonalcoholic drink
- 3 lime slices, divided
- ½ cup cranberries, divided
- 1 ½ ounces gin, chilled
- 1 ½ ounces 100% cranberry juice, chilled
- 3 ounces Indian tonic water, chilled
- Rosemary sprig, for garnish
- Fill a tall glass about ¾ of the way with ice; add 2 lime slices and half of the cranberries.
- Pour in gin and cranberry juice, and slowly top with tonic water.
- Garnish with an additional lime slice, cranberries, place rosemary sprig on rim of glass, and serve with a straw, if desired.
- Use 100% cranberry juice and not cranberry juice cocktail for best flavor.
- Cranberry juice may be increased to 2 ounces for more cranberry flavor, if desired.
- Crush the rosemary lightly with your fingertips and position it on the rim next to the straw so you can smell it while you sip.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.