Cocktail Party Recipes with Simply Cranberry

by Pamela

cocktail party recipes, cranberry cocktails, cocktails with cranberry juice, summer cocktails

It’s party time! I know that I’ve said it a thousand times–you don’t need an excuse to celebrate, but I really mean it.

A couple of weeks ago we threw an impromptu cocktail party with a few of our friends. No big occasion, no theme, just a bunch of friends getting together to catch up and have a few summer cocktails to celebrate the weekend and our friendship.

The menu consisted of plates of little bites and cocktails with Simply CranberryCocktail. The focus of the evening was on friends.

The idea for the party came about when Simply CranberryCocktail asked me if I wanted to throw a party and include their new beverage in the festivities. As soon as they said Simply Cranberry Cocktail and party I knew I was going to throw a cocktail party where all of the drinks were cranberry cocktails.

With things finally warming up around here and since we were having the party outside, I thought it would be appropriate to make up summer cocktails to keep everyone refreshed and looking forward to those relaxing summer nights and weekends that will be coming soon.

I really like Simply CranberryCocktail, because it’s very similar to the rest of the Simply beverages. Their juices and drinks are gently pasteurized and contain no added preservatives. That means they’ve been refrigerated since they were blended and not sitting on a shelf for months at a time. Also their 100% juices contain no added sugar.

The food was purposely kept simple. We had plates of cheese and charcuterie; some crackers and bread for smearing with things like cheese salsa, artichoke dip and baba ganoush; and bowls of munchies like these glazed nuts.

When throwing a cocktail party, you need to have some food on hand…people are going to be hungry, and you wouldn’t be a very good host/hostess if all you could offer them was a box of cereal. Plus, with all of that imbibing, you need to have some food to help slow down the affects of the alcohol.

When throwing any kind of party, it’s so important that you try to keep things as simple as possible. You want to have fun at the party too, and it’s not a lot of fun if you need to keep running back and forth to the kitchen or bar to make new drinks or to keep re-heating food.

When we throw a party we make sure that the food tastes just as good at room temperature as it does hot or cold. We also make cocktail party recipes that are able to be made up in large batches. We keep pre-made pitchers of the cocktails in the refrigerator and bring them out if/when a pitcher runs dry. If there are multiple cocktails we try to have one cocktail recipe that is special, meaning it needs to be made up fresh when someone wants one, and has some kind of ‘WOW’ factor to it.

I decided that we would have five different cranberry cocktails for this party. The 59 ounce bottles allowed me plenty of juice to really have some fun by offering up new cocktail party recipes along with some familiar cranberry cocktail favorites.

When it was all said and done, everyone really enjoyed both the old and the new cocktails, but there was one clear favorite among the group.

Since Simply CranberryCocktail isn’t made from concentrate, it has a fresher cranberry flavor which allowed me to serve these cranberry cocktails and not have to worry about the cranberry tasting too tart or too sweet. So without further adieu, here are the cocktails that we served at our party.

Summer-Cocktails-with-Cranberry-and-Orange-Juice Madras Drink Recipe

The old summer cocktail classic: The Madras. This classic cocktail recipe combines tart Simply Cranberry Cocktail with sweet orange juice, throw in some vodka and you’ve got a pretty fuschia colored vodka cranberry cocktail recipe that’s a real crowd pleaser. Plus, the combination of the two juices has such a delicious and refreshing flavor, you could leave out the vodka and have a great mocktail for the designated drivers (or for any kids that may have arrived with their parents).


Recipe: The Madras Cocktail


  • 1 1/2 Ounces Vodka
  • 4 Ounces Cranberry Juice Cocktail
  • 1 Ounce Orange Juice


  1. Pour all ingredients into an ice filled glass.
  2. Insert straw and give everything a gentle stir.
  3. Garnish with an orange wheel.
  4. Serve

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: USA (General)


Summer-Cocktails-The-Chinese-Cocktail The Chinese Cocktail

A new one, for our group anyway: The Chinese Cocktail. This flavorful cocktail gets its bright red color from cranberry syrup. The original recipe for this drink calls for grenadine (which is concentrated and sweetened pomegranate juice). I made a reduction of Simply Cranberry Cocktail to change up the flavor of this dark rum based drink and I think improved the flavor of an already magically flavored cocktail.


Recipe: The Chinese Cocktail


  • 1 1/2 Ounces Dark Rum
  • 1 Teaspoon Triple Sec (I used homemade triple sec)
  • 1 Teaspoon Maraschino Cherry Liqueur
  • 1 Tablespoon Cranberry Syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 Dash Bitters
  • Sparkling Water


  1. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and stir well.
  2. Pour mixture into a tall, ice filled glass.
  3. Top with sparkling water.
  4. Add a straw.
  5. Serve

Quick notes

To make cranberry syrup:

Pour 2 cups Cranberry Juice Cocktail into a small saucepan.

Cook over medium high heat until juice is reduced to 1/4 cup.

Remove from heat and pour into a heat resistant container to cool.

Preparation time: 7 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet tags: Gluten free

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: USA (General)


Fresh-Fruit-Margarita-Recipe Fresh Fruit Margarita

Another old summer classic cocktail: The Margarita. Instead of mixing the traditional tequila, lime and sour mix this libation uses fresh lime juice, orange juice and Simply Cranberry Cocktail. Don’t let the light pink color fool you. This delicate looking cocktail still packs a bit of a punch, but it tastes a lot fresher with the addition of the juices.


Recipe: Cranberry Margarita


  • 2 Ounces Tequila
  • Juice from 1 Lime
  • Juice from 1 Medium Orange
  • 3 Tablespoons Cranberry Juice Cocktail
  • 1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar


  1. Pour all ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake until your hand goes numb from the cold.
  3. Pour into an ice filled glass.
  4. Garnish with an orange or like wheel.
  5. Serve.

Quick notes

I don’t salt the rim for this margarita.

Preparation time: 7 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: USA (General)



Sake-Cosmopolitan-Cocktail The Sake Cosmopolitan

Summer cocktails don’t get more familiar than this one: The Cosmo. But this isn’t one of those ordinary Carrie Bradshaw cranberry cocktails. Nope, this is a cranberry sake cosmo. This frothy pink drink tastes as good as it looks. Using the sake instead of the usual vodka gives this familiar drink a whole new flavor.


Recipe: The Sake Cosmopolitan


  • 1/2 Ounce Sake
  • 1/2 Ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 Ounce Cranberry Juice Cocktail
  • 1/2 Ounce Fresh Lime Juice


  1. Pour all of the ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker.
  2. Cover and shake until your hand goes numb. (Yes, this is a hazard of throwing cocktail parties – numb hands.)
  3. Strain into a martini glass.
  4. Garnish with a lime peel.
  5. Serve.

Quick notes

Use a better sake when making this cocktail. A better sake is one that is served chilled, not hot.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

Champaigne-Drink-Recipes-Sgroppino Cranberry Sgroppino

A classic Italian dessert/cocktail: Sgroppino. This Italian specialty is made with lemon sorbet, vodka, limoncello and prosecco. I thought it would be fun to mix things up a bit and substitute cranberry sorbet for the lemon. I made the sorbet from the Simply Cranberry Cocktail and then added the rest of the ingredients.


Recipe: Cranberry Sgroppino


Cranberry Sorbet

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cranberry Juice Cocktail
  • 2 Tablespoons Vodka
  • Lime Juice to Taste


  • 1 Pint Cranberry Sorbet
  • 4 Tablespoons Vodka
  • Prosecco


Cranberry Sorbet

  1. Pour the water and sugar into a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium high heat and cook until all of the sugar is dissolved. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Stir in the cranberry juice cocktail and vodka.
  5. Put this in the refrigerator to chill.
  6. Once chilled, pour into you ice cream maker and process according to direction for your machine.
  7. When done, put into a covered container and freeze for at least 4 hours before making sgroppino.


  1. Spoon all of the sorbet into a large bowl.
  2. Pour the vodka into that bowl.
  3. Pour in 1/2 cup Prosecco.
  4. Gently whisk all of these together. If you think the sgroppino is too thick, add 2 more tablespoons of Prosecco to the mixture.
  5. When whisking, start by gently mashing the whisk up and down. Once some of it has melted, you can start to slowly stir the mixture.
  6. Spoon or pour the sgroppino into glasses.
  7. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Quick notes

I’d put this cranberry sgroppino up against a lemon sgroppino any day of the week. It’s equally tart and refreshing.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: Italian


This was the special cocktail that was made up each time someone wanted one. I can tell you that THIS was the crowd favorite. Thankfully, everyone thought the making of this drink was so cool that people started making their own.

This party was a lot of fun. One of the the things everyone said was how much they liked the idea that all of the cocktails were based on a common flavor ingredient. I’ll admit that I was a bit worried about doing that, but each of the cocktails with cranberry juice had such a different flavor that no one got bored, and they’re all bugging me about what the next cocktail party idea is going to be.

Now I’ve got something for you. You could win $100 Visa gift card.

What is your favorite way to make a party or get-together in your home more festive? Tell me about it in the comment for a chance to win a $100 gift card!


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“Simply Cranberry” is a trademark of Simply Orange Juice Company.

Relationship Advice

When throwing a party there are a few more things to think about beyond the food and drink…the people. The people you invite are friends and/or family, and you want to make sure everyone has a good time.

One of the crucial parts to successful party throwing is to make sure you invite a good mix of people. That means inviting people you find interesting to begin with. If someone bores you to tears, they’re probably going to do that to other people too…not good people to invite to your party.

You want to invite people who have different (but not extremely different) backgrounds from one another. This will keep conversations interesting and keep people engaged with one another.

This is not the time to have your overly opinionated friends or family over. Between the strong opinions and alcohol you could be looking at some pretty heated arguments and the loss of friendships if things get out of hand.

A party is also not the time to have people over if you’ve been having a bad time with them. You might think that you could bury the hatchet easier with a large group of people around. Don’t take that chance. It really could go either way, but you want to err to the conservative side.

So get your core group of friends together and then invite a few other people into the mix and have yourself a party. No reason necessary.

Welcome to My Man's Belly! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the site or if there's a recipe you'd like to see here. Have a great day.


Mari June 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm

We play festive music and put up décor that creates an ambiance.

runningmatey at hotmail dot com

Erica Best June 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

I love having bring a dish party it help everyone feel like that are a part of it and it keep me from having to cook everything and every love to show of by bring the best dish.

Debra F June 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I do like entertaining and my favorite thing is to do theme parties. I customize my food, drinks and decorations/decor around a theme and everyone really enjoys it….I just try not to get too hokey!

ewhatley June 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm

We have a theme for every event and encourage guests to dress accordingly.

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious May 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm

So if I had one cocktail of each on this post, that wouldn’t make me an alcoholic right?

And I agree with Lana – you should totally do an e-book on cocktails!

When I throw parties, I make them festive by making the prettiest desserts possible, and using the nicest China pattern I have on hand, unless the party gets too big. Then I’ll just use paper plates.

Michelle @womenwwin May 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm
Michelle @womenwwin May 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Fruit on sticks makes ANY party more fun! 🙂

Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly May 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm

To set the mood for a festive party it’s all about music for me, so I play with my playlists a bit before and create a special one for each party!

LP @dishclips May 14, 2012 at 10:15 pm

The drinks look fantastic. Great ideas for a future party. I also love your advice in the end.

Wendy Sue Fellers May 11, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Conversation cards are a great way for people to get to know each other. Put a fun question on each card and people have to talk about their life then.

Liz May 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Love these shots, and the site’s new look. Can we get together for cocktail afternoon again soon?


Pamela May 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Thanks Liz! Afternoon cocktails would be PERFECT!!!! Just let me know when. 🙂

Karen May 11, 2012 at 6:31 am

Cocktails are always the best way to make a party more festive. Its fun finding just the right recipe to serve at the party and even better when the cocktail is a hit with the guests.

business review May 10, 2012 at 2:01 am

Don’t let the fear of flavor boredom impact your next gathering. Serve cranberry in a way that everyone will enjoy: cocktails! The fruit makes a great beverage base—and while everyone is used to it in Cosmos (snooze), it can spice up a number of other exciting drinks at a holiday party.

katie May 10, 2012 at 12:26 am

That Madras looks delicious! The cocktails look beautiful!

Allison at Decadent Philistines Save the World May 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm
Allison at Decadent Philistines Save the World May 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm
Allison at Decadent Philistines Save the World May 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Ironically, I was just looking at my vat of limoncello we made last year and wondering what the French toast to do with it other than just sip away (that’s a lot of sipping). Your idea for the Sgroppino is FANTASTIC – totally using that. Except I have no idea how to pronounce it. 🙂
The madras looks pretty tasty, too! 🙂

Lana May 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I don’t know what cocktail I would choose! The played-with Sgroppino can be a dessert ( I need to eliminate, to make room:)
Seriously, these are some great drinks! Are you going to do an e-book on cocktails? It would be fun!

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