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Cape Codder Cocktail Recipe

The Cape Codder cocktail is a classic 2-ingredient drink!

Made with vodka and cranberry, it’s a simple libation and a great introductory cocktail. 

Cape codder cocktail served on a glass filled with ice garnished with cranberries on sticks and a slice of lime.
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Cape Cod drink, vodka cranberry, whatever you call it, it’s oh-so-refreshing!

So grab a glass and treat yourself. For happy hour or as an afternoon sipper, it’s great year-round. 

Why Is It Called a Cape Cod Cocktail?

The Cape Cod cocktail is a simple concoction made with vodka and cranberry juice. Add a lime wedge as a garnish, and you get a refreshingly fruity beverage.

The mixed drink first appeared in the New Yorker magazine in the 1960s. Back then, it was called the Red Devil by Ocean Spray. 

Eventually, it became known as the Cape Cod cocktail. It’s rightfully named after the Massachusetts area, famous for its cranberry bogs.

Cape codder cocktails served on glasses filled with ice garnished with a  slice of lime wedge and cranberries on stick.


The Cape Cod cocktail recipe is so easy, anyone can make it. Try it once, and you’ll know it by heart. 

After all, you only need two ingredients. Well, three if you add the garnish!

Here’s what you need:

  • Vodka – Pricey or inexpensive, any brand of vodka will do. Cranberry juice has a strong flavor, so it will mask most of the alcohol taste. I like Tito’s or Smirnoff for this cocktail. 
  • Cranberry Juice – For the sweet, tart, and fruity flavor. Be sure to use 100 percent cranberry juice. I like Ocean Spray, but use your favorite brand. 
  • Lime Wedge (Optional) – For a garnish. The twist of lime enhances the brightness of the drink. It’s not a must, but it is refreshing!
Ice cold cape codder cocktail on a glass filled with ice garnished with a slice of lime wedge and cranberries on stick.

How to make a Cape Codder 

Just like the ingredients, the process is short and sweet. You can make the Cape Codder cocktail in just two simple steps.

You don’t need any fancy bartending equipment either. Just a glass and a spoon.

1. Pour. Pour the vodka and cranberry juice into a glass with ice. Stir.

2. Garnish. Add a lime wedge. Serve and sip!

Cape codder cocktails served on glasses filled with ice garnished with cranberries on stick and a slice of lime wedge.

Vodka Cranberry Variations 

The great thing about 2-ingredient cocktails is they’re easy to customize. So they’re a great starting point for all kinds of variations.

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You can shake things up with different liquors, liqueurs, mix-ins, or garnishes. Really, the sky’s the limit! 

But to keep things easy, here are some variations you should try:

  • Autumn Vodka Cranberry. Add apple cider and apple liqueur to the vodka cranberry mix. 
  • Cranberry Vodka Soda. Just top off the drink with soda water. Some fresh cranberries also make a nice garnish.
  • Ginger Vodka Cranberry. Add a splash of ginger ale or ginger beer to the mix. Candied ginger also works.
  • Cosmopolitan Cocktail. This mixed drink is very similar to the Cape Codder. It calls for vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and triple sec.
  • Sea Breeze. Use all the same ingredients plus grapefruit juice. For a garnish, I like to add a lime wheel.
  • Woo Woo. Despite the funny name, it’s a tasty drink! Make it with vodka, cranberry juice, and peach schnapps.
  • Madras. The Madras cocktail calls for all the same ingredients plus orange juice. Try a lime or an orange wedge for a garnish.
  • Purple Haze. Mix vodka and cranberry juice with blackberry liqueur. For a garnish, add some fresh blackberries and fresh mint.

Cape Codder Cocktail



Prep time





You’ll love this refreshing Cape Codder cocktail! The simple blend of vodka and cranberry juice is accented with a tasty lime wedge as a garnish.


  • Ice cubes

  • 2 ounces vodka

  • 4 ounces cranberry juice

  • Lime wedge, for garnish


  • Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in the vodka and cranberry juice. Stir it well to combine.
  • Garnish it with a lime wedge. Serve it and enjoy!


  • Use large, solid ice cubes that melt slowly to avoid diluting the drink too quickly.
  • Squeeze a fresh lime wedge into the drink to add a nice zest.
Cape Codder Cocktail

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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