Cranberry Gin (A Homemade Red Christmas Gin, perfect Christmas Gift!)

A Christmas Cranberry Gin recipe. Deep red, a touch sweet, a hint of bitter, this is the most delicious Christmas Gin there is! So easy to make! (Total time does not include the 1 month of infusion time.)
Red Christmas gin in a glass

Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to be getting your Cranberry Gin going! Now that we’re done with the Sloe Gin. And before January, when you can get started on Rhubarb Gin with the forced rhubarb that’ll start appearing.

I’ve started seeing fresh cranberries these last couple of weeks, so this is the perfect time to get your Cranberry Gin started, if you don’t happen to have some in the freezer from last Christmas!

Making your cranberry gin now will give you just over a month of steeping, perfect for serving during the holidays, and more importantly, it’ll make a super Christmas gift!

I know that many of you have been following all the alcohol infusions I’ve been making this past year or so. By now, you should all be pros at it (if you weren’t before), and there probably isn’t anything left for me to teach you!

So what shall we talk about then?

I’m kidding! I shall still talk you through the whole process and perhaps discuss the odd point or two, as usual.

Gin being poured on cranberries
Gin being poured on cranberries

Cranberry Gin Recipe

Initially, for this post, I was tempted to make a fancy schmancy cranberry gin with all the trimmings. I thought about adding more flavours to the gin with perhaps some apple, citrus and rosemary.

But in the end, I decided to strip it right down to just the cranberries and the gin. The only allowance I made was to add a vanilla pod to it. Because I so enjoyed the flavour the 2 other times I used it in the Raspberry Gin and Strawberry and Rhubarb Vodka. And I’m glad I did.

So this is what you need to make Cranberry Gin:

  1. Frozen Cranberries (more on why we freeze, below)
  2. White Sugar
  3. Gin
  4. Vanilla Pod

Only 4 ingredients, the way I make it. Crazy, right? You can always add a little citrus peel to it, or even slices of lemon and/or lime. Just remember, less is more.

Cranberry Gin
Ring for gin!

How to make Cranberry Gin?

Just close your eyes, it’s that easy! All we do:

  1. Soak the frozen cranberries in the gin
  2. Add sugar
  3. Leave to steep for a minimum 4 weeks
  4. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, with or without muslin. Using a muslin will give you a crystal clear drink.
Red Christmas gin in a glass
What an amazing colour! Right?

What does Cranberry Gin taste like?

It’s fruity, and not only a touch sweet, but also, with a definite hit of cranberry bitter. The vanilla adds just the merest hint of mellow creaminess to it, barely discernible.

Cranberries, as you, know, are naturally bittersweet. The first time I made Cranberry Gin, I went with my usual 400g (14oz) of sugar. The resulting drink was a bit sickly sweet, and this is from someone who likes her drinks sweet!

Therefore, the next time I made it, I halved the amount of sugar, which turned out to be just right. If you don’t like sweet drinks, you could start out with just 100g (3.5oz) sugar. Then add more before straining. You will be tasting your gin in the last week to ensure that it has enough sugar.

Our Christmas Gin Ingredients

Good Quality Gin

Get the best gin you can afford to make your cranberry gin. That goes for all your homemade infused liqueurs. Cheap gin will give you cheap tasting cranberry gin.

That doesn’t mean that you have to pay top dollar, do a little research to see what’s good in your price range. Like wine you plan to cook with, get something that you will enjoy drinking on its own and doesn’t taste like rubbish. I’m happy to use a good quality London Dry Gin.

Dark picture frozen cranberries on gold
frozen cranberries

Cranberries for your Gin

As mentioned above, fresh cranberries are beginning to appear around now. If you can find frozen ones, even better, as we will be freezing them overnight before using. I had the foresight last year to freeze 3 bags of cranberries, after being caught out.

I needed some in October for a menu I was making, and couldn’t find any. Not even frozen ones. Learnt my lesson, and will always have them in the freezer from now on!

Why Freeze the Cranberries?

Freezing the cranberries will soften and even split the skin. This allows the gin to seep into the fruit and for the flavour to leach out of the fruit. The alternative is to prick the cranberries before using. Every. Single. One.

Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

How long will Cranberry Gin Keep?

The strained gin will keep for up to a year, during which, the taste will improve. I’m not sure it noticeably improves after 2-3 months, but many claim infused liqueurs do. There is only one way to find out – make lots and lots of it! And get back to me!

Red Gin Cocktails

You can serve your cranberry gin in so many different ways, just like a regular, non infused gin, or rhubarb gin.

One of my favourite ways to drink it is neat, in little shot or sherry glasses, as an apéritif.

Other ways to enjoy your Cranberry Gin:

Cranberry Gin and Tonic

Seems easy enough, doesn’t it?

  • 1 or 2 measures of our Red Christmas Gin
  • top with as much or as little tonic as you like (usually just a measure for me)
  • add a slice of lemon

I would experiment with different tonic waters. One of my favourite tonic waters with Cranberry Gin is Lamb & Watt’s Basil Tonic Water.

Red cocktail in balloon glass
Cranberry fizz in a balloon glass

Cranberry Fizz

With anything that fizzes! Prosecco is always great. As is champagne. Soda water – not so much!

  • 1 or 2 measures of Cranberry Gin
  • top with as much or as little prosecco as you like (I like lots!)
  • add a slice of lemon/lime and a herb like rosemary, mint or basil.

What to do with the gin soaked cranberries?

  • Make a gin flavoured cranberry sauce for Christmas!
  • Have it with ice cream, make a layered sundae with it
  • Have it with pancakes

Sterilising Jars and Bottles for our Christmas Gin

  1. Turn the oven on to a cool 130˚C/250˚F/Gas Mark ½.
  2. Wash the jars, bottles and lids in hot soapy water.
  3. Place the jars, bottles and lids upside down in the oven and leave them to dry, with the door closed for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn the oven off and leave the jars, bottles and lids in there, bringing them out only when you are ready to fill. Be careful, as they’ll be hot.

More Alcohol Infusions on LinsFood

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

Red Christmas gin in a glass

Christmas Cranberry Gin (A Red Christmas Gin)

A Christmas Cranberry Gin recipe. Deep red, a touch sweet, a hint of bitter, this is the most delicious Christmas Gin there is! So easy to make! (Total time does not include the 1 month of infusion time.)
4.99 from 63 votes
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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: British
Keyword: christmas, drinks, gin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 40 Makes about 1 litre (4 cups/40 shots)
Calories: 40kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor

Ingredients

  • 400 g frozen cranberries
  • 1 litre good quality gin
  • 200 g white sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod halved

Instructions

If the cranberries are not frozen, place them in the freezer overnight, and get your infusion going the next day.

  • Place the cranberries, gin, 100g of the sugar and the vanilla pod into a large, sterilised jar, and give it a good stir.
  • Cover and place in a dark place for a minimum of 1 month. I place mine in a kitchen cupboard. Stir it every other day, or as often as you remember to! About every 2-3 days, I squash some of the cranberries with the back of a spoon, when I'm stirring the mix. You can leave them whole, if you like, especially if you are planning to use the cranberries after.
  • At the end of 3 weeks, taste it, and add more sugar if you think it needs it. Steep it for another week, at least. If you have the patience, go for another month for a deeper flavour.
  • To drink, strain through a sieve or, if you like a crystal clear gin, strain though a double layer of muslin or cheese cloth into a sterilised bottle. Store in a dark cupboard as you would your other drinks.

Notes

Total time does not include the 1-2 months of infusion time.

Nutrition

Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg
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21 thoughts on “Cranberry Gin (A Homemade Red Christmas Gin, perfect Christmas Gift!)”

    1. Hi Maggie, if you can’t get hold of vanilla pods, then I suggest best to leave out the vanilla, as it’s not essential. It just adds a nice hint of cream. Vanilla extract will just lose its strength in the drink.

  1. Harry Golding

    Phew, got it done yesterday! Hopefully that should be ok to serve on Christmas day as a pre dinner drink. Cheers Azlin.

  2. Very well calculated, and I would most definitely appreciate a homemade drink like this as a gift than the commercially available products!

  3. Yvonne Renet

    I just made this x 2! I made your raspberry gin last month and it was so good that I know this is going to be amazing too. I plan to give the second jar away in little bottles. Thank you, Azlin!

  4. Cool, I’m a big fan of your infusions. Done the rhubarb gin and the rhubarb vodka. Damn good. Off to get me some cranberries now!

  5. Neville Lee

    This looks really good. never though to make these things myself. I like the sound of the other drinks you have here too. Thanks, I’m going to try this one. I can definitely get frozen cranberries. Cheers!

  6. Amanda Richards

    Thank you for this, just perfect really. I should be ok to do it this weekend? Not too late?

    1. Hi Amanda, sure, you’ll be find to do it this weekend. You’ll have a good 5 weeks before Christmas. At a push, you can strain if after 2-3 weeks. While it won’t be as deep in flavour or colour, it’ll still be delicious.

  7. Janet Blair

    Oh, you have no idea how happy I am to see this! I’ve been trying to thing of something stylish to give friends at Christmas this year, and this is the perfect thing. Thank you, Lin!

  8. David Mosby

    This is great! I’m in Tesco, looking at the cranberries now. The cranberries don’t look over ripe. Half of them look kind of a light red. Will that work? And just 1 punnet will do?

    1. Hi David, see if they are stocking frozen ones yet. Those would be best, they are always a deep red colour. these early fresh cranberries are never the best. However, if that’s all you can get, that just get them. the flavour will be there, it may not be as deep a red colour, but it will be delicious. You might need a touch more sugar, as they won’t be as sweet.

  9. Monidipa Dutta

    This sounds good but I have a query… Are fresh cranberries needed or can you use the ones you sell now?

    1. Thank you, Moni. The best option is frozen cranberries, as their skins soften and split, allowing for better profusion. Those dried cranberries or packet cranberries sold for snacking won’t work in this. Sp fresh or frozen. If they are fresh, just pop them in the freezer, as I explain above.

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