Cape Codder

By Timo Torner / Last updated on April 10, 2024

The Cape Codder is a refreshing Highball cocktail made with Vodka and cranberry juice. A simple, tart, and fruity drink from the 1940s.
Cape Codder cocktail with garnish

The Cape Codder, also called Cape Cod, is a mix of Vodka and cranberry juice with a splash of lime juice. 

It has been an often ordered drink in bars since it was invented in the 1940s. But did you know it was part of an Ocean Spray marketing campaign? 

Ocean Spray is an American agricultural cooperative of growers of cranberries. And when they launched this campaign in 1945, the drink went under the name Red Devil.

It is part of a series of coastal-themed cocktails mixed with Vodka and cranberry. Other members are the Sea Breeze and the Bay Breeze cocktail.

Ingredients of the Cape Codder

To make a perfect Cape Codder, you need Vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and lime and fresh cranberries for garnish. 

It's best to freshly squeeze the lime juice shortly before making the cocktail to get that beautiful, natural acidity. Bottled juices from the supermarket don't usually work in cocktails.

Cape Codder cocktail with cranberries

For cranberry juice, a bottled product is alright. Just make sure it's not made concentrate and not too sweet.

Also, I like Absolut Vodka in mixed drinks, but every brand works as long as it's of decent quality. It doesn't matter what the Vodka is made of. And if you need a gluten-free option, try Tito's.

How to make a Cape Cod Cocktail

The Cape Codder is a popular Highball, and as such, you don’t have to shake it or strain it, nor utilize any bar tools to make the Cape Codder. Traditionally, you simply put all ingredients with ice into a glass and stir.

However, I prefer using my cocktail shaker. After shaking for 10 - 15 seconds, you can strain everything into a glass tall enough to fit plenty of ice and garnish with a lime wedge. 

You can also consider adding a splash of club soda for a fizzy version.

Origin of the Cape Codder Cocktail

Cape Cod gets its name from the East Coast town on a peninsula in Massachusetts known for growing cranberries. It’s believed to have first been made sometime in the early to mid-1940s.

Ocean Spray probably was the creator of the Cape Codder. And it is sure that the drink, initially named Red Devil, was part of an Ocean Spray campaign from 1945. 

Yet, it wasn't until the 1960s that the drink got renamed Cape Codder - or alternatively Cape Cod.

Variations on the recipe

There are many variations of the Cape Codder cocktail. One of the most popular ones is, believe it or not, the Cosmopolitan. -The world-famous Vodka & cranberry Martini that skyrocketed in the 90s. 

And the recipe of the Cosmo also calls for Triple Sec, e.g., Cointreau, and some fresh lime juice.

Cosmopolitan Cocktail

And let's not forget to mention the coastal-themed cocktails Sea Breeze and Bay Breeze. 

The Sea Breeze is made of Vodka, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice instead of lime juice. It gets served in a Highball glass garnished with a lime wheel, too. 

The Bay Breeze cocktail, on the other hand, contains Vodka, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice. And just like the Cape Cod, both these drinks are sweet, fruity, and refreshing.

Serving suggestions

There are many suitable occasions to serve a Cape Codder cocktail. Some splendid examples include BBQs, picnics, and holidays like Christmas and Valentine's day. 

After dinner is also an excellent time for enjoying this drink on the back porch.

If you want to upgrade the garnish, try fresh fruits like strawberries, raspberries, fresh cranberries, or flowers to make the drink even prettier.

Cape Codder cocktail with garnish

Cape Codder

An uncomplicated and fruity Highball cocktail made of Vodka and Cranberry juice.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberries, vodka
Servings: 1
Calories: 179kcal
Cost: $2


  • 1 Jigger
  • 1 Cocktail Shaker
  • 1 Hawthorne Strainer
  • 1 Highball glass


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 3 oz Cranberry juice
  • 0.25 oz Lime juice
  • 1 Lime wedge - (for garnish)
  • 3-5 Fresh cranberries - (for garnish)


  • Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
    2 oz Vodka, 3 oz Cranberry juice, 0.25 oz Lime juice
  • Shake until well-chilled.
  • Strain into an ice-filled Highball glass and garnish with a lime wedge. Additionally, you can garnish your drink with some fresh cranberries skewered on a cocktail pick.
    1 Lime wedge, 3-5 Fresh cranberries


Serving: 5.5ozCalories: 179kcalCarbohydrates: 13.43gProtein: 0.4gSodium: 2.5mgPotassium: 85.25mgSugar: 13.43gVitamin C: 12.7mgCalcium: 9.5mgIron: 0.31mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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