Cranberry Orange Aperitif
Cranberry Orange Syrup:
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • ½-3/4 cup granulated sugar (see recipe notes)
  • zest of 1 orange
Per (3 oz) cocktail:
  • 1½ - 2 oz. lillet blanc
  • 1 oz. cranberry orange syrup
  • 2-3 dashes angostura bitters
  • ice
  • Orange twist and sugared cranberries for garnish (see recipe notes for instructions)
  • Optional: club soda for topping off
  1. For the cranberry orange syrup:
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, water, orange juice, sugar, and orange zest. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have started breaking down (about 15 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat, let cool, then strain into a clean bottle or jar. Syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to a couple of weeks.
  4. For the cocktail:
  5. Pour the lillet and cranberry orange syrup over ice. Add the bitters, and shake or stir to combine. Strain out the ice, and garnish with a twist of orange, and sugared cranberries (see recipe notes for instructions). Ingredients can be doubled, tripled, etc., and stirred together, then poured into individual glasses to serve a crowd. (Can be served as is in a shooter glass, or poured into a bigger glass and topped off with club soda for a lighter drink.)
1. For the sugared cranberries: rinse 2 cups of fresh cranberries, and set aside to drain. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water. Heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Let the syrup cool completely, then pour over the cranberries. In a shallow dish, place another ½-1 cup sugar. Drain the syrup from the cranberries (syrup can be reserved for future cocktails), then roll the cranberries in the sugar in batches (if the sugar becomes clumpy, replace it with fresh sugar). Spread the cranberries in an even layer on a baking sheet, and let the sugar harden for 3-4 hours. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
2. For those who aren't a fan of booze, the cranberry orange syrup can be mixed with ginger ale, or lemon lime soda for a refreshing non-alcoholic alternative.
3. Feel free to adjust the sugar in the syrup to your liking. ½ cup makes a fairly tart syrup, which gets balanced out nicely by the sweetness of the lillet. For a sweeter syrup, increase the sugar by ¼ cup, or to taste.
Recipe by Will Cook For Friends at