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
This does look so refreshing! Your photos are amazing. I can tell I would have to fore-go the straw because I might end up guzzling this and not be able to stand up! I bet it does down smooth :) Have a wonderful 4th! Pinning!
Hi Tricia, it truly is a refreshing drink! Perfect for hot, summer days and nights. Thanks for the comment, and I hope you have a happy 4th, too.
Wow... So pretty and delish. Cheers to you for great images and a refreshing cocktail. Happy 4th of July!
How on earth did you photograph this drink so PERFECTLY?!?!?!?! I am baffled. Maybe I am drunk? lol
What a perfect drink for the holiday. Just wish I was drinking it in Cape Cod! The best part of this is you can use lo cal cranberry juice and call it a diet drink! Let the fireworks begin!
These are so fun and look perfect for a hot summer day! Love the shape of those glasses too.
This is a good cocktail to serve on the 4th!
Happy 4th of July
Hi Denise, thanks for those kind comments! Have a Happy 4th!
Hi GIGi, :-) Thanks for the comment!
Hi Abbe, yup, diet all the way. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Chris, aren't those glasses fun? We love their shape too! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Raymund, we're looking forward to having this on the 4th! Thanks for the comment.
You and the Mrs. make me laugh. Great photo. Happy 4th.
Finally I cocktail that I know and that I imbibe regularly. :) I need to get me some of those glasses. You make this cocktail look so much fancier than mine. Love this cocktail John and, you're right - perfect for the first week of July! Happy 4th!!
Ha, ha with the satin knee pants story! This sounds like a great drink for the 4th or any time really! Plus it's my fave color! Happy 4th to you and yours, John!
I love cocktails that are slightly tart! I don't like sweet ones. Your cocktails ROCK!! You're becoming my "go to" source for cocktail ideas!!
Mmmm - middle of winter here - John - but this looks so cheery that I think I could easily go one!
Hi Madonna, we love writing those endings. ;-) Happy 4th, and thanks for the comment.
Hi MJ, those are cool glasses, aren't they? Happy 4th, and thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, our founding fathers dressed funny. :D Isn't the color of this nice? Thanks for the comment, and Happy 4th!
Hi Nagi, we've done some good cocktails over the years. Many more to come. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Rachel, one of these will remind you of spring! ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Cheers! This looks fab, John. Cin cin!
Hi Adri, it's really, really good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
I've always loved this cocktail! The gorgeous red color with the green lime makes for such a stunning presentation. Happy 4th to you and Mrs. KR!
Just looking at this brings me right back to New England. What a happy drink to serve on the 4th of July.
Hi Liz, isn't this a great drink? Love its flavor! Thanks for the comment, and Happy 4th!
Hi Maureen, this definitely is a New England classic! But good anywhere in the world. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
These cocktail look gorgeous! I hope that you have a great 4th of July holiday!
PS. Thanks for your comment about my green tea chiffon cake. Due to your comment, I have clarified my point saying that it is just my preference to follow the original recipe from the book. I have not tried JOC's recipe and hers might be good too :D Cheers!
Hi Zoe, I'll bet both of those recipes are good! ;-) And this really is a great looking drink, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
You've outdone it again with beautiful shots of this cocktail! Happy 4th!!
Hi Kiran, this is a really fun drink both to photograph and drink. ;-) Happy 4th, and thanks for the comment.
WAWHOOooo.... 4th of July celebrations, such fun! I worked at a Summer camp a decade ago, never experienced a party like that before. One of the kids fathers owned a firework factory, so we were all spoilt with a special display. #magic
This cocktail sure is pretty. And as always, your photos are gorgeous. Taking your recipe out to the bar now. This will be on the menu next week.
Cheers from a very cold Aussie. Happy weekend to you and yours.
Hi Anna, fireworks on the 4th are fun, aren't they? We always enjoy them! And one of these, of course. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
OK John, we need some more aahhhemmm "research" for the Bay Breeze and Madras....
Happy 4th!!! and a round of Cape Codder's for everyone!
Hi Armymum, I probably should have nailed down those recipes! But there's always another post. ;-) Happy 4th, and thanks for the comment.
Beautful! I want one! That will be just perfect for the 4th. Thanks for sharing. :)
I prefer to imbibe and this looks fabulous. Have a great holiday John.
This seems similar to a cosmo, but a little bigger - always a good thing :) Happy 4th!
Hi Pat, isn't it pretty? And awfully tasty. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lea Ann, imbibing certainly works for us. ;-) Happy 4th, and thanks for the comment.
Hi Laura, quite similar, but loads more volume. Which I agree is a good thing! Happy 4th, and thanks for the comment.
Happy 4t of July! The cocktail looks delicious! It's so beautiful! Thank you for sharing!
Hi Marcela, it really is pretty, isn't it? Happy 4th, and thanks for the comment.
Now that's a big -- and beautiful -- quencher I can really get into during this heatwave we are having now. ;)
OMG, one of my all time favorites! I can't tell you how many of these i have drunk over the years. Probably not as many as I will drink in the future. Great holiday cocktail.
Hi Carolyn, this is the perfect antidote to a heatwave. Two might be better. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Karen, isn't this a terrific drink? Really refreshing, tons of flavor. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Happy 4th of July! What a pretty colour. I love the look of this cocktail and I think vodka and cranberry with a touch of sparkle is a fantastic celebratory drink. Enjoy your celebrations xx
Hi Charlie, the color is great, isn't it? So vibrant! Thanks for the comment.
Hi John, this drink is perfect for the 4th, love the color and I bet it goes down very smooth. Fireworks are a big deal on the coast here, our first year we thought the firework show was on the beach until the real show started, the ones on the beach were the illegal ones, Who knew?
I love cape codders! That little touch of lime is what does it for me. Your photos are absolutely brilliant!!!!!!
Hi Cheri, sounds like you have outstanding fireworks viewing opportunities. ;-) And yes, this does go down very smooth! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pamela, definitely need the lime, IMO. Thanks for that very kind comment.
Wow that is a gorgeous cocktail and I wish I was in Cape Cod....but I am doing good at the family cottage right now too ;-) Thank you so much for mentioning Canada day too! And happy Independence Day to you. Serious questions though: those ice cubes loo to perfect to be real?????
Hi Evelyne, I like pretty ice cubes, so those are acrylic (just because they look so terrific; plus, they don't float). The cheap ones. The ones you see in magazine ads? Handmade, $20 to $50 apiece. Really! Anyway, this is a wonderful drink! Thanks for the comment.
Happy 4th John and Mrs. "Kitchenriff"! So bright and vibrant and a great way to celebrate. Refreshing! I love those little trapped bubbles in your ice cubes such a beautiful way to get those awesome shots!!! Cheers! Gambei!
What a lovely cocktail - definitely perfect for celebrating the 4th of July! I always enjoy cranberry juice, so this is one I would definitely like!
Hi Bam, isn't the color of this great? And I do like those bubbles! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amy, cranberry juice is good all by itself, and so nice in drinks! Thanks for the comment.
Oh, this is such a beautiful, sparkly drink. I wish I had seen this for Canada Day! This will go well anytime though and so colourful and summery.
Your photos are always stunning! Happy Independence Day!
Hi Robin, although this is a fun drink for summer holidays, it really does go well any time it's warm outside. So plenty of opportunity to sample it! Thanks for the comment.
I love the gorgeous color. I used to drink these in my younger days pre-kids. I'd forgotten all about it. With the heat wave here in Seattle, this is the perfect drink!
Hi Kristi, this is perfect for a heatwave! Very refreshing. And, of course, it tastes good! Thanks for the comment.
Yay! A non alcoholic version :)
Beautiful colour and photos as always, John. Hope you had a good 4th.
This (or some low rent version of it) was probably the first cocktail I ever had. GREG
A gorgeous drink. And thanks for the shoutout to Canada Day! Hope your July 4th festivities were terrific.
Hi Nazneen, about time, right? ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Greg, I'll bet this was a first cocktail for a lot of people! It's a fun one to come back to. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Beth, Canada Day doesn't get enough love in the US. :-( Thanks for the comment.
Always adore your photographs phal!!!
Hi Dedy, thanks so much for that kind comment!
Gorgeous & delicious!
Love the name of this, sounds delicious too!
Hi Pam, it is! ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Caroline, it really is a delish drink! Thanks for the comment.
Thank you for thinking about me and sending your prayers as well. It has been a really rough time the whole month of June. I was in the hospital. I have had a bad case of Cellulitis on my leg. It has been so painful and it really takes so long to heal. The only way I would get some relief was laying down in the bed. This didn't help my Lupus and MS as it was stressing me out so much. I have a nurse that comes 2 times a week to check my leg and my vitals. Thank God for pain killers, I am at least able to get up without crying from the pain. The doctors can't figure out where or how I got this problem. I have not been on FB and have not posted anything to my blog as it has been hard to sit at my PC. Hopefully I will be back to blogging on Friday... Hope all is well with you and your families and you had a wonderful July 4th. I am sorry that I have not been able to get back to you sooner and read all of your posts. This drink is perfect for a hot summers day, love the color.
Be well....Dottie x
Hi Dottie, poor you! You've really been suffering, and I feel for you. Happy to hear that you're doing better, but wow, what you've been through! Will be glad to see you posting again, but don't rush it -- get your strength back. One of these will probably help. :D So glad to hear from you again.
It was 90 here today so I could really use one of these! Love it!
Hi Ashley, hot here, too! So one of these would be perfect.;-) Thanks for the comment.
This cocktail sounds like it was made for me. I love cranberry juice. It sounds like it would be yummy with the vodka. Also I love the color of the cocktail. I hope you had a great 4th of July!
Hi Dawn, the color of this is really fun, isn't it? Love its flavor, too! Thanks for the comment.
Even if it's raining here, I wouldn't mind this drink.
Hi Lux, this is a good drink rain or shine! ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi, John....This WAS delicious! We enjoyed this refreshing cocktail on a very hot day. Thanks :)
Hi Pat, glad you enjoyed this! We love it during the summer. Or any time of the year. ;-)
Hi John, this cape codder cocktail look so tempting... great for our current heatwave.
Love the beautiful colour,as usual your photography is very impressive.
Have a nice day, regards.
Hi Amelia, this is so perfect for hot weather! Although lately our weather has been in the 60s -- very weird! Thanks for the comment.
I'd love to be handed one of those at a party. And cranberry is the only juice I can drink and the lime juice isn't enough to be a problem so it makes a perfect cocktail for me.
Hi Suzanne, glad you can drink cranberry juice! Such a good flavor. And this cocktail is really nice -- hope you get a chance to try it. Thanks for the comment.
I love cranberry juice- I could swig down a whole bottle- without the alcohol of course!
Hi Fran, cranberry juice is good stuff, isn't it So flavorful. With or without the booze! Thanks for the comment.
Dang, I almost missed this one. I love because it's ultra simple. The color red makes a fab drink. And I love cranberry flavor. NOW where is the picture of you in the satin knee pants???????
Hi Carol, Lol! Those 18th century guys really did dress funny, didn't they? :-) Thanks for the comment.
One of my favorite cocktails! Fantastic pics!
Hi Marcelle, we really like this too! Thanks for the comment.
Post a Comment