This summer cooler is a breeze to make
July is here, and North America is set to celebrate. Today (July 1st) is Canada Day. And this Saturday, July 4, is Independence Day in the US.
So this is a busy week, full of cookouts and picnics. And to beat the summer heat, we’re all looking for something cool to quench our thirst.
Enter the Cape Codder. Its bright, slightly tart flavor is perfect for those long, hot summer days. And its gorgeous red hue lights up any party. You can even make a nonalcoholic version for those who prefer not to imbibe.
So choose your celebration, and raise a glass.
Recipe: The Cape Codder Cocktail
The Cape Codder (sometimes called the Cape Cod Cocktail) comes in several different versions.
We prefer the recipe used by cocktail historian extraordinaire, David Wondrich. But in the Notes, we discuss some other variations.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves 1.
- 2 ounces vodka
- 3 ounces cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail (see Notes)
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (optional, but highly recommended)
- sparkling water (such as seltzer or club soda; optional)
- garnish of lime slice or wedge (optional)
- Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Add the vodka, cranberry juice, and lime juice (if using). Stir briefly to combine, then top up with sparkling water (if using), and stir again.
- Add straws and garnish with a lime slice or wedge (if using), and serve.
- Any type of tall glass works for this drink. A Collins or highball glass is traditional. We like to use a hurricane glass because it looks so festive.
- Any name-brand vodka should be fine in this cocktail. You don’t need anything too fancy—just avoid the really cheap stuff (you know, the kind that wears nothing but a white label with big black letters saying VODKA).
- Although vodka is traditional in this drink, Wondrich has found a version that uses white rum instead. Sounds worth trying.
- Most supermarkets carry both cranberry juice and “cranberry juice cocktail.” Cranberry juice is almost always sold in sweetened form, so it usually tastes much the same as cranberry juice cocktail. Either one works in this drink.
- Many versions of this drink omit lime juice. That’s a mistake, in our opinion.
- Many versions of this cocktail also omit sparkling water. We go back and forth on that one—so try it with and without, and see which you prefer. If you omit the sparkling water, you may want to increase the amount of cranberry juice a touch.
- If you want to make a nonalcoholic version of this drink, simply omit the vodka. You may want to increase the amount of lime juice to add a bit of extra flavor.
- Some versions of this drink use only an ounce or two of cranberry juice, instead of the 3 ounces we specify. We prefer more juice, but you may feel otherwise.
- In addition to our tall-glass recipe, there’s an “up” version of this drink. To make it: Add 1½ ounces vodka, 1 ounce cranberry juice, ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, and ½ teaspoon sugar to a cocktail shaker that’s half-filled with ice. Shake well, then strain into a cocktail glass.
- We prefer the tall-glass version, but the up variation is interesting. It reminds us a lot of the Cosmo—a drink we’ll be featuring in a couple of weeks.
- How did the Cape Codder Cocktail originate? Wikipedia says it was probably invented by Ocean Spray, an organization that markets cranberry juice. The drink likely dates back to around 1945, although it was called the “Red Devil” then. The “Cape Codder” moniker may have been adopted in the 1960s. But as is the case with most cocktails, we can’t really be all that sure about its origins.
- Several other “cooler” drinks use cranberry juice (and resemble the Cape Codder). Perhaps the best known is the Sea Breeze: That one contains 1½ ounces vodka, 3 to 4 ounces cranberry juice, and 1 to 1½ ounces grapefruit juice.
- There’s also a drink called the Bay Breeze (which contains pineapple juice). Not to mention the Madras (it has OJ).
- Canada Day commemorates the 1867 act that saw Canada become a single entity within the British empire (prior to that, it was three separate colonies).
- In the US, July 4 is celebrated as the day the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain (that happened in 1776).
1776: Men in Wigs
“This drink is a real sparkler,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Very appropriate for the Fourth of July.”
“Yup,” I said. “Makes me feel quite the firebrand.”
“Just like the chaps who signed the Declaration of Independence, eh?” said Mrs K R.
“Sure enough,” I said, stirring another set of drinks. “Give me liberty or give me satin knee pants.”
“Better make this the last round,” said Mrs K R. “We have to stay sober enough to grill burgers—over an open flame.”
Agreed. We leave fireworks to the professionals.
Happy Independence Day, everyone!
You may also enjoy reading about:
Betsy Ross Cocktail
Cubra Libre Cocktail
Gin RIckey Cocktail
Gin and Tonic
Or check out the index for more