Libations / Recipes

Clementine Cranberry Cocktail

A few years ago I decided that to be a man I must teach myself to enjoy whiskey. So I started ordering bourbons when I went out. Then it was Irish whiskey. Then Canadian whiskey. And rye. I was totally converted and therefore I am now a man. Manly am I. Hair on my chest and everything.

Which does not explain the incredibly fru fru drink that I am about to talk about. This is the sort of cocktail that I would be unlikely order in a bar because I rarely drink sweet drinks. Also it doesn’t contain whiskey. And did I mention that I’m manly?

St. Louis Food Photographer Jonathan Gayman

I was looking for a recipe for a clementine cocktail and surprise, surprise, most of them were very sweet. There is a lot of love for triple sec on the interwebs these days. After some experimentation I was able to tone down the level of sweetness and create a quite drinkable cocktail. I feel like it should have some fancy schmancy name. A couple that I thought of are The Clementine Number 9 (her shoe size) or Clementine’s Little Sister (makes you forget your pain). Both are terrible references to the song. Less cheesy suggestions welcome.

This cocktail calls for cranberry syrup which is basically a simple syrup infused with cranberries. Cranberry syrup is easy to make, and makes the cocktail look pretty. In truth the visual impact is more important than the flavor since you drizzle it into the bottom of the glass. If shaken into the drink with the other ingredients it would make the sweetness over the top. You could even leave it out if the pretty separation in the liquor doesn’t interest you.

St. Louis Food Photographer Jonathan Gayman

To make the syrup you boil water, sugar and cranberries together in a saucepan until the cranberries burst and the syrup starts to thicken. I have included exact proportions of the ingredients, but there are no hard and fast rules there. More sugar means a sweeter, thicker syrup. Once the sugar has disolved and the cranberries have given up their color and flavor you strain out the syrup and discard the solids. Once it cools a bit, pop it in your fridge and add it to any number of cocktails, drizzle it on pastries or ice cream – the possibilities are endless. I have these nice little squeeze bottlesthat work well for simple syrup.

St. Louis Food Photographer Jonathan Gayman

Clementine Cranberry Cocktail

Adapted from Make Something Happy


1 oz vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
One clementine, juiced
One clementine slice (garnish)
Cranberry soda
Cranberry Syrup (see below)


Pull chilled martini glass from the freezer. Drizzle cranberry syrup to coat the interior of the glass, starting about a third of the way from the bottom. Use syrup sparingly as it is very sweet. Fill a shaker with ice. Add in the vodka, triple sec, Grand Marnier and juice. Shake vigorously, then carefully pour into the glass. Top off the cocktail with cranberry soda to taste. A dry soda is best to cut the sweetness of the other ingredients.

For the cranberry syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and the syrup starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and strain syrup through a fine mesh. Discard the solids. Allow the syrup to cool and refrigerate before using. Be careful, when it is hot the syrup is like molten lava.


  • Ericka
    December 8, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Pretty! Where do you find dry cranberry soda?

    • ShootToCook
      December 9, 2010 at 8:51 pm

      Where else. I got it an Randalls 🙂

  • Home Made Yogurt « Shoot to Cook
    January 5, 2011 at 9:36 am

    […] it in the fridge. This morning I ate the first container of yogurt topped with some granola and the cranberry syrup I made last month along with a cranberry corn muffin from yesterday. Add a cup of coffee and you […]


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