Homemade Cranberry syrup

By Timo Torner / Last updated on May 6, 2024

If cranberry season always is over too quickly for your liking, why not make this excellent and homemade, long-lasting cranberry syrup. This fruity syrup is great in cocktails and other mixed drinks.
Homemade cranberry simple syrup

Of all homemade syrup recipes, this cranberry syrup is one of our favorites for the festive season.

Cranberries and cranberry syrup are a fundamental part of mixology in the winter season, especially around the holidays. At this time, the red berries are a staple in bars.

What is simple syrup?

If you've made syrups before, you may know that you can make them with different sugar-to-water ratios. Simple syrup, in general, means that the ratio of sugar to water is 1:1. 

On the other hand, rich syrup calls for two parts sugar per one part water. This version is, of course, sweeter and adds a richer mouthfeel to cocktails. -Just like Gomme syrup does, as well.

The term xx simple syrup is also often used to describe homemade flavored syrups made from fruits or berries. It suggests that the consistency and sugar content of the respective recipe is similar to a regular sugar simple syrup.

Why you will love this cranberry syrup

A fresh cranberry is one of the more tart berries. In fact, it has a similar natural ratio of sugar to acidity as lemons.

In our homemade cranberry syrup, this tartness is balanced perfectly and adds a rich cranberry flavor to any drink.

Fresh cranberries in bowl and on spoon

This sweetener is truly easy to make and lasts for over a month in the fridge. If you add a bit of Vodka, it can even last multiple months without turning bad.

Especially during the holidays, you can use it as a substitute for regular simple syrup in many cocktail recipes to create a festive twist.

Our current favorite with this homemade cranberry syrup is the Christmas Old Fashioned. It is based on Rye Whiskey, and this syrup turns the classic Old Fashioned into the perfect cozy Christmas drink.

How to make cranberry simple syrup

For making cranberry syrup, you only need three ingredients:

  • water
  • sugar
  • cranberries

The process of making this syrup is easy. 

First, you have to combine all three ingredients into a saucepan and bring them to a boil.

Once the mix starts to cook, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. When the berries burst and the syrup thickens, the consistency is just right, and you can remove it from the heat.

Then you strain the mix into a bowl. Ideally, you use a mesh sieve and a spoon or spatula to make sure to extract as much juice from the berries as possible.

Cocktail made with homemade cranberry syrup

If you want, you can add Vodka at this step and give the mix a good stir. The addition of alcohol makes the syrup last longer, and it won't change the taste of the syrup.

Don't add the Vodka while the syrup is still on the stove. The alcohol will boil out, but that's what you need to preserve your syrup.

Once the syrup has cooled down, bottle it and store it in the fridge until you need it.

How to store it

Always store syrup in the fridge. Otherwise, it might go bad within days. It is best to keep them bottled in an airtight container.

Depending on the consistency of your syrup, you can also opt for storing it in a mason jar. Sometimes syrup has a tendency to thicken quite a bit and turn almost into a gel at a low temperature. Then it can be hard to use it from a bottle.

So check the consistency of the syrup once it's cool and decide on the best container. Just make sure you can seal it airtight.

Variations on the recipe

If plain cranberry taste isn't complex enough for you, there are some ways to spice up the recipe of our cranberry syrup.

  • Add cinnamon and cloves: Adding some other typical Christmas spices can make this syrup more fragrant.
  • Add vanilla: The combination of cranberry and vanilla is sensational. With just one vanilla bean, you get a nice, spicy twist to the recipe and bring a rich vanilla note into it.
Christmas Rum Sour cocktail

More Christmas recipes

Besides a homemade cranberry syrup, there are other syrup and cocktail recipes you should try during the holiday season. Check out these perfect festive treats:

DIY Cranberry syrup recipe - cranberries in saucepan

Homemade Cranberry syrup

This homemade cranberry syrup is an excellent ingredient in Christmas cocktails and mocktails.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Shaking time10 minutes
resting: 2 hours
Course: Syrup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberries, Cranberry syrup
Calories: 145kcal
Cost: $7.60


  • 1 saucepan


  • 1 cup Fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1.5 oz Vodka - (optional)


  • Put all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Once the mix starts to boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • If the cranberries burst and the syrup thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat and strain it into a bowl.
  • Optionally add Vodka and stir the syrup before letting it cool down.
  • Pour it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge until using it.


Serving: 1ozCalories: 145kcalCarbohydrates: 36.95gSodium: 0.03mgPotassium: 0.03mgSugar: 36.76g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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