This Cranberry and Orange Juice Mocktail is not only a delicious alcohol-free drink, but it's super easy and quick to make anytime. The tartness of the cranberry and orange juice are countered by adding a touch of maple syrup, giving this drink a little warmth of flavor. It's the perfect mix of fancy and easy to make, and great for when the weather starts to turn chilly.
I love this mocktail especially, because my 9-year-old son came up with the recipe! He helped me develop and make this beautiful and delicious drink, and the best part is that he can actually have one. I love including my kids in the kitchen, and mocktails can be as much fun to design and create as cocktails.
It's also the perfect mocktail for holiday get togethers, and a great way to help kids, moms-to-be, and anyone who just isn't into alcohol feel like they're part of the celebration.
There are just a few ingredients in this drink. If you can, I highly recommend juicing an orange yourself, rather than buying a carton of orange juice. (You'll want a fresh one for the garnish anyway!) But, anything you have available will work.
Here's what you'll need:
- Cranberry juice (preferably 100% cranberry juice)
- Fresh orange or orange juice
- Maple syrup
- Fresh cranberries and an orange wheel (optional - for garnish)
Here are a few ways you can substitute if you don't have all of the ingredients on hand:
- Cranberry juice - if you can't find 100% cranberry juice, you can use Cranberry Cocktail, which is just the juice with extra water and sugar. You can also use Pomegranate juice. If you use either of these, you can omit the maple syrup, since it will already be pretty sweet. Or, just add a quarter ounce of fresh lime juice per drink to make things a little more tart, and keep in the maple syrup.
- Orange juice - if you don't have orange juice, you can use half the amount of lime juice in its place, plus a little more seltzer.
- Maple syrup - honey is a great substitute for maple syrup. You can also just use regular simple syrup, or try out this Caramel Syrup recipe.
Giving the visitor ideas on how they can change this recipe to better suit their dinner guests, or their cultural cuisine, is a great way to increase the chances they make the recipe
- Sugared Rim - run a cut orange around the rim of your serving glass, and dip the glass into coarse-grained sugar so it sticks to the rim. This gives a super festive, snowy look to the drink (and tastes great too).
- Coconut version - switch out the orange juice for half the amount of lime juice, and add in a half ounce of coconut cream to the drink. This will give a great coconut flavor to contrast with the cranberry and lime, a light color and a creamy texture.
- Sparkling Apple Cider version - simply switch out the seltzer for sparkling apple cider. This adds some extra sweetness as well.
You don't need anything fancy for this recipe, mostly just a measuring cup and serving glasses. I used a cocktail pick for the garnish, but you could also use a toothpick to keep everything in place.
Although there's no need to dilute this drink like you would need to do with a cocktail, I still suggest you shake it up with ice. Just don't shake it quite as long as you would for a drink with alcohol. Not only does shaking mix everything really well and aerates it, it also gets the mixture nice and cold.
To make this drink, start out by juicing your orange. Add the juice to a cocktail shaker, and then measure and add the cranberry juice.
Next, measure and add in the maple syrup. At this point, you may want to give it a quick stir with a spoon and taste it. If it's too sour, add a little more maple syrup. If it's too sweet, add another splash of cranberry juice.
Then, add ice to your shaker, and shake the drink about 10-15 times. Shake less than you normally would for a cocktail, because we don't want to dilute it too much (and you want to leave room for the bubbles!).
Next, strain it into your serving glass that is filled with fresh ice. Pour the seltzer over the top of the drink to fill the glass. Finally, add your garnish and serve immediately.
To make the garnish: cut a round orange slice and then make a slit from the edge to the center of the slice. Add one cranberry to a cocktail pick, then thread the orange slice on as well. Add another cranberry, twist the top of the orange slice, separating the slice where the slit was, and thread the other side onto the pick. Finally, add on the third cranberry and rest the pick on top of the glass.
While you can use any type of orange to make juice for this mocktail, I actually used a Cara Cara orange. It's a little bit sweeter than other varieties, and has a pinkish color inside. (Plus it has some great antioxidant benefits!) Other great orange types to use are the Valencia orange or the Navel orange. A Blood orange would also work really well, and it always makes a stunning garnish!
Cranberry and Orange Juice Mocktail
- Prepare your garnish by adding cranberries and an orange wheel to a cocktail pick. Set aside while you make the drink.
- Add your orange juice to a cocktail shaker.
- Add in the cranberry juice and maple syrup.
- Add ice and shake everything about 10-15 times to combine.
- Strain the mixture into your serving glass filled with fresh ice.
- Top the drink with seltzer.
- Add your prepared garnish to the glass and serve immediately.