The holidays are always a cause for celebration, and nothing gets me in the Christmas mood during the winter months as much as a beverage with my favorite pine-scented spirit. This ruby red Winter Holiday Gin & Tonic Cranberry Cocktail is a glass full of good tidings, perfect for all your get-togethers!!
About This Recipe
When it comes to holiday cocktails, a classic Gin & Tonic is a steadfast and true choice. I’ve jazzed up your grandpa’s G&T with the festive addition of cranberry and pomegranate juices for a gorgeous and seasonal variation on the old favorite. My friends, this is a very merry Christmas classic cocktail indeed!
Enjoy this cocktail with a slice of chocolate ganache tart, eggnog spice cake or a piece of luxurious honey vanilla bean caramel!
Gin: For this Christmas themed adult beverage, I highly suggest you reach for a bottle of London Dry gin, which has the most pronounced juniper flavor out of all gin types.
Juniper berries are used to infuse all gins (in fact, gin sold in the US must have a discernable juniper flavor!), and their woodsy, pine-tree, peppery flavor is what gives gin its signature taste. In this cranberry gin easy cocktail, that extra bit of evergreen flavor really seals the frosty deal.
Pure Cranberry Juice & Pomegranate Juice: Unsweetened cranberry juice and pomegranate juice are both in season over the winter holidays, and their sweet-tart flavor profiles add both depth and lovely color to these otherwise simple cocktails. The final addition of tonic water gives these gin cranberry drinks a bit of bittersweet bubbly sophistication.
Tonic Water: While tonic water may look the same as seltzer, the two are vastly different. Tonic water is primarily flavored with a compound called quinine, which is extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree. Gin and tonics actually became super popular in the 19th century because of quinine, which is actually an effective treatment against malaria. Who knew? Not a tonic fan? You could always substitute club soda or soda water to make an alternative cocktail recipe. For a ginger flavored twist, ginger ale and ginger beer are options as well, could make for a fun holiday twist!
Oh, and another fun fact? Tonic water will actually glow under black lights!
The other flavor profiles of tonic water - namely light sweetness and a bit of citrus - are a perfect pairing for gin, cranberry and pomegranate in this refreshing holiday cocktail. So go on and treat your-elf to one of these tasty cranberry gin cocktails this holiday season topped with a sprig of rosemary, stat!
How to Make
This simple cranberry gin cocktail is as easy as 1-2-3! Here’s how you do it:
- Add cranberry juice, pomegranate juice and gin into a cocktail shaker.
- Add ice and shake for 30 seconds.
- Pour into a chilled cocktail glasses with ice cubes and top off with tonic water and garnish with a few fresh cranberries or pomegranate arils and/or a rosemary sprig before enjoying under the Christmas tree. Cheers!
Tips & Tricks
Making this pomegranate cranberry gin and tonic recipe is about as easy as it gets in the handcrafted cocktail world. That said, I have a few tips to share before you make some for your next Christmas party:
- Shake vigorously. The act of shaking a cocktail isn’t just for show - it actually serves to aerate the cocktail while simultaneously giving it texture from small shards of ice.
- Don’t forget your garnish. To make a holiday cocktail feel extra special, make sure you go the extra mile with your details. Fresh or sugared cranberries, pomegranate arils, and fresh or sugared sprigs of rosemary all contribute to the festive vibes.
- Batch ahead for large parties. Rather than playing bartender all night, I suggest you batch together the pomegranate, cranberry and gin ahead of time. Set up a serve-yourself cocktail bar with a pitcher of the mix, a shaker and an ice bucket with a small instructional card. Set the tonic and garnishes to the side so your guests can feel like pro mixologists.
While I love the woodsy, pine-y flavor of gin, I know it’s not for everyone. For a less complex flavor profile in these cranberry cocktails, try using neutral flavored vodka instead.
Among other things that 2020 brought with it was a huge surge in non-alcoholic spirits, a great way to include an alternative twist to the recipe. Feel free to swap in your favorite gin-adjacent for a sober-friendly mocktail.
Sure! I suggest using a squeeze of the cranberry simple syrup that is left over after making sugared cranberries. For more info on infusing simple syrups with flavors, check out my guide here!
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If you made this recipe for my Winter Holiday Cranberry Gin Cocktail to ring in the new year or at Christmas dinner, please be sure to rate and review it below! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest - for more festive cocktail recipes sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter!
Holiday Gin & Tonic
- Glass for serving
- 1 oz Cranberry Juice
- 1 oz Pomegranate Juice
- 3 oz Gin
- 4 oz Tonic Water
- Cranberries, to garnish
- Add cranberry juice, pomegranate juice and gin into a shaker1 oz Cranberry Juice, 1 oz Pomegranate Juice, 3 oz Gin
- Add ice and shake for 30 secondsIce
- Pour into a chilled glass with ice and top off with tonic water, garnishing with a few cranberries before enjoying!4 oz Tonic Water, Cranberries
- Can I use something else in place of the gin? While I love the woodsy, pine-y flavor of gin, I know it’s not for everyone. For a less complex flavor profile, try using neutral flavored vodka instead.
- Can I make a virgin Winter Holiday Cranberry Gin Cocktail? Among other things that 2020 brought with, it was a huge surge in non-alcoholic spirits. Feel free to swap in your favorite gin-adjacent for a sober-friendly mocktail.
- Can I make this a little sweeter? Sure! I suggest using a squeeze of the cranberry syrup that is left over after making sugared cranberries. For more info on infusing simple syrups with flavors, check out my guide here!
Mary Helen O’Hare
Refreshing, tasty and festive. Love it with the pomegranate arils.
Is the cranberry juice unsweetened or sweetened cranberry juice cocktail?
I used unsweetened cranberry juice for this recipe, but a sweetened version I imagine would taste nice as well!