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Cranberry Cider Mocktail (Naturally Sweetened!)

Cranberry Cider Mocktail – This naturally-sweetened fall mocktail recipe is perfect for your holiday table or holiday parties! Make just one or two glasses, or a whole pitcher to enjoy! (Paleo + Vegan)

Front view of a Cranberry Cider Mocktail on a marble and wood coaster on a white background

“Are we having sparkle drink?”

This is one of my favorite questions from Milo and Sophie. No one can remember exactly who started calling anything with bubbles “sparkle drink,” but it’s one of those family “isms” that made it into our regular vocabulary years ago, and I don’t think I can ever go back. (Kind of like Simon Holland‘s daughter calling it “Farmer John” cheese instead of Parmesan.”)

None of the four of us like soda (too much fizz!), but we all LOVE to have something special to drink around the holidays. For the last several years, we’ve included some sort of “sparkle drink” every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Sometimes, it’s Cranberry Limeade, sometimes it’s Citrus Pomegranate Mocktails, and this year, our go-to is Cranberry Cider Mocktails.

This Cranberry Cider Mocktail is the best kind of sparkly drink. It’s naturally sweetened, family-friendly (no alcohol!), has speckled little hints of fall, and just enough bubbles to feel special. Plus, you can make it by the cup for individual servings or by the pitcher for a family.

Here’s all you need to get started on this fall mocktail recipe…

Front view of a Cranberry Cider Mocktail with a pitcher of Cranberry Cider Mocktail in the background.

HERE’S WHAT GOES INTO OUR CRANBERRY CIDER MOCKTAIL RECIPE:

  • A SIMPLE CRANBERRY SYRUP/SAUCE. The base of the cranberry cider mocktail recipe starts with a simple cranberry sauce where you’d typically add a flavored syrup. Since cranberries have natural pectin that will thicken this up, it really ends up more like a sauce than a syrup, but once you’ve blended it with the cider, it goes right in! You’ll use simple ingredients like fresh or frozen cranberries, orange juice, honey or agave (or sugar, if you like), and a little cinnamon. It really highlights the cranberry flavor and makes this cider mocktail special!
  • APPLE CIDER. To play up the fall vibes, I add apple cider along with the cranberry. Cranberry and apple are a LOVELY pairing together, and the little notes of tangy cider, cranberries, and cinnamon make this the perfect fall mocktail.
  • SPARKLING WATER. To top things off with a little sparkle, I finish the mocktail with a little sparkling water. I like that this keeps the cranberry cider mocktails from being too sweet, and adds just enough bubbles to feel fun and festive.
  • ICE + GARNISHES! Then, you’ll just add some ice and pretty garnishes to make it fun. You can mix and match all sorts of things. Keep scrolling down for some of our favorites!

Overhead view of a Cranberry Cider Mocktail garnished with orange wedges and cranberries on a marble and wood coaster on a white background

MAKE IT PRETTY–A FEW STYLING TIPS & TRICKS FOR YOUR CRANBERRY CIDER MOCKTAILS:

One of my favorite parts of making a mocktail recipe is the pretty garnishes. They can make each glass feel special and unique!

FLAVORED OR DECORATED ICE CUBES. To keep cranberry cider mocktails cool AND make them look pretty, you can add pretty ice cubes–like ice cubes with orange peel, cranberries, edible flowers, or small sprigs of rosemary frozen inside. Either looks lovely! (Of course, regular ice works perfectly well!)

SUGARED RIMS. Another classic way to dress up a cider mocktail is by doing a sugar rim. Run a lemon or orange slice around the rim of the glass (or dip it in lemon or orange juice), then dip it into a little sugar. (See this video for a visual!) Note that this option is not paleo-approved.

ORANGE SLICES OR ORANGE PEEL. Fresh and easy, orange slices or carefully cut orange peel looks gorgeous and plays up the citrus notes in your cranberry mocktail. I LOVE adding them here!

  • Note: Orange peel with pith (the white part) can go bitter with time, so it’s best not to add the orange slices or peel until close to serving time!

FRESH OR FROZEN CRANBERRIES. Another easy finish is just adding some fresh or frozen cranberries to the glasses or pitcher. Frozen cranberries will thaw, but can also help keep the drink cold in the meantime!

SPRIGS OF ROSEMARY. It’s a bit unconventional, but if you add a tiny little sprig of fresh rosemary to your glass before serving, it adds the LOVELIEST note to the drink!

MIX IT UP! TRY ONE OF THESE YUMMY VARIATIONS.

Close up Front view of a Cranberry Cider Mocktail on a marble and wood coaster on a white background

FAQ + TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE BEST CRANBERRY CIDER MOCKTAIL:

CAN I MAKE THIS MOCKTAIL IN ADVANCE? HOW LONG WILL IT STAY FRESH IN THE FRIDGE? The cranberry sauce will easily keep a week in the refrigerator. You can also mix up the cranberry sauce + apple cider up to several days in advance, then just top it off with the sparkling water before serving. (If you add the sparkling water in advance, it’ll go flat.)

CAN I USE SODA INSTEAD OF SPARKLING WATER? You technically can. Just know it will be sweeter and more bubbly. If that’s your jam, go for it! Ginger ale is a good one with these flavors.

CAN I USE SPARKLING APPLE CIDER INSTEAD? Sure! If you’d like, you can use sparkling cider instead of traditional. It’ll add more fizz to the drink (which can be great, if you love it!).

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER CRANBERRY SAUCE. If you’re only making a few glasses of this cranberry cider mocktail and you have leftover cranberry sauce, there are LOTS of delicious ways to enjoy it. Smear it on toast like jam (delicious!), dollop over vanilla ice cream, add it to a berry smoothie, swirl into a bowl of warm oatmeal, or make fruit-on-the-bottom chia pudding or yogurt!

Front view of two Cranberry Cider Mocktails garnished with ice, orange wedges and fresh cranberries on marble and wood coasters

LOVE THIS FALL MOCKTAIL? YOU MIGHT ALSO LOVE…

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Front view of a Cranberry Cider Mocktail with a pitcher of Cranberry Cider Mocktail in the background.

Cranberry Cider Mocktail (Non-Alcoholic)


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: About 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 glass or 1 pitcher 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Cranberry Cider Mocktail – This naturally-sweetened fall mocktail recipe is perfect for your holiday table or holiday parties! Make just one or two glasses, or a whole pitcher to enjoy! (Paleo + Vegan)


Ingredients

Scale

FOR THE CRANBERRY SYRUP/SAUCE:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (good-quality or freshly squeezed)
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave (can sub sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • tiny pinch salt (1/16th tsp.)

FOR ONE MOCKTAIL:

  • 1 oz. (2 Tbsp.) cranberry syrup
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup) apple cider
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup) sparkling water
  • Your favorite garnishes–ice, orange slices, cranberries, rosemary sprigs, etc.

FOR ONE PITCHER (ABOUT 5 CUPS):

  • 1 cup cranberry syrup (this is the entire batch)
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • Your favorite garnishes–ice, orange slices, cranberries, rosemary sprigs, etc.

Instructions

FOR THE CRANBERRY SYRUP/SAUCE:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, orange juice, honey/agave, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring regularly for 10-12 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and the mixture has thickened somewhat. (I use the back of a spoon or spatula to help the berries along as they cook.)
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve so the cranberry sauce is smooth. Discard the leftover solids or set aside to use in a different way. You should have about 1 cup of cranberry sauce remaining.
  4. Chill sauce until you’re ready to use. (Cranberry sauce will stay fresh in the refrigerator up to 1 week, or in the freezer up to 2 months.)

FOR ONE GLASS:

  1. Add cranberry syrup and apple cider to a glass. Stir with a straw or drink stirrer until combined. (It should be pretty smooth–almost like a freckled lemonade with small bits of berry)
  2. Top off the glass with 2 oz. sparkling water.
  3. Garnish with ice, orange slices, cranberries, rosemary, etc. as desired.

FOR A PITCHER (ABOUT 5 CUPS):

  1. Add cranberry syrup and apple cider to a pitcher. Stir with a spoon or drink stirrer until combined. (It should be pretty smooth–almost like a freckled lemonade with small bits of berry)
  2. Top off the pitcher with 2 cups sparkling water.
  3. Garnish with ice, orange slices, cranberries, rosemary, etc. as desired before serving.

Notes

*IF MAKING IN ADVANCE: you can combine the cranberry sauce and cider well in advance (up to several days), but don’t add the sparkling water until right before serving to preserve the bubbles.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cranberry cider mocktail, non alcoholic cranberry cider drink, cranberry mocktail, cider mocktail, fall mocktail

 

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