Make a fabulous Christmas champagne cocktail during the holiday season by adding orange and cranberry juice! It's a really easy, no-fuss cocktail that comes together in a few minutes and tastes absolutely fantastic on Christmas or new year's eve.
This cocktail is inspired by the classic poinsettia drink, made with orange liqueur, cranberry juice and champagne. You could also consider it a cranberry mimosa with a festive twist. It's a classic cocktail that you prepare in a champagne flute (no cocktail shaker needed). Perfect for busy holiday parties.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Orange liqueur, also known as triple sec (e.g., Cointreau, Grand Marnier) adds subtle bitter orange flavors that intensify the flavor of the orange juice. I recommend investing in a good quality liquor here. You can leave it out if you want a lighter cocktail.
- Pure cranberry juice adds Christmas magic to your glass. It's slightly acidic and pairs incredibly well with the other ingredients. It's really important to use unsweetened cranberry juice made from 100% cranberries (also labeled as cranberry concentrate) to prevent this cocktail from being overly sweet. You can substitute it with pure pomegranate juice.
- Fresh orange juice naturally sweetens the drink and balances out the acidity of the champagne and cranberry juice. You can also use freshly squeezed blood orange juice.
- Champagne adds lightness and bubbles to the drink.
- Rosemary sprigs make a beautiful garnish that remind me of a Christmas tree. It's only there for decoration purposes and can be left out.
Which champagne to choose
A bottle of mid-range champagne or sparkling wine, such as Cava or Prosecco is the best choice. You don't want to use high-quality champagne as the other ingredients would impact its flavor and complexity. Lower budget sparkling wines work great for the same reason.
You can go for relatively dry champagne, also known as "brut" or "semi-brut" since the other ingredients are relatively sweet.
- Chill the champagne and the cranberry juice ahead of time as this cocktail is made without ice.
- If you forgot to chill the bottles, place them in the freezer 30 minutes prior to serving.
- Make your own cranberry juice if time allows. You can make it up to 5 days ahead of time following this recipe. Don't sweeten it for this cocktail.
- Strain the orange juice to remove the pulp.
- Substitute freshly pressed orange juice with bottled orange juice if you don't have time to juice oranges when your guests are there. I do recommend choosing a higher quality juice.
- Make it for a crowd by mixing the orange liqueur, cranberry and orange juice in a large pitcher and place it in the refrigerator. Once it's time to serve, line up the flutes and fill them ⅔ to the top. Then, top them off with champagne.
- If you prefer sweeter cocktails, you can always add 1 tablespoon (½ ounce) of simple syrup (made from equal parts of water and sugar) to each flute.
STEP 1: Add the orange liqueur to the different champagne flutes.
STEP 2: Pour in the orange and cranberry juice. Give it a stir with a cocktail spoon or a long teaspoon.
STEP 3: Pop the bottle of champagne and fill the flutes to the top. You'll need about 2 ounces (60 ml) per glass.
STEP 4: Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, some fresh cranberries and orange slices for a real Christmas cocktail.
Frequently asked questions
Dry champagnes (often labeled as brut or semi-brut) are great for cocktails as they contain very little residual sugar. They therefore mix well with fruit juices and syrups.
Leave out the orange liqueur and substitute the champagne with Sprite or ginger ale for a non-alcoholic version.
One orange provides a little more than 4 tablespoons of juice, which equals ¼ cup or 2 fluid ounces.
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Christmas Champagne Cocktail
- ½ ounce (15 ml) orange liqueur 1 tablespoon
- 1.5 ounces (45 ml) fresh orange juice 3 tablespoons
- 1 ounce (30 ml) 100% pure cranberry juice 2 tablespoons
- 2 ounces (60 ml) champagne
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 3-4 cranberries
- 1-2 orange slices
- Chill the champagne and the cranberry juice ahead of time. Place them in the freezer 30 minutes prior to serving if you forgot to refrigerate them.
- Juice the oranges (1 orange provides a little more than 2 ounces of juice). Optionally strain the juice to remove the pulp.
- Add the orange liqueur, orange juice and cranberry juice to a champagne flute. Give it a stir.
- Top it off with champagne (or the sparkling wine of your choice).
- Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, fresh cranberries and orange slices.
- Choose a bottle of mid-range "brut" or "semi-brut" champagne or sparkling wine, such as Cava or Prosecco.
- You can substitute freshly pressed orange juice with bottled orange juice if you don't have time to juice oranges when your guests are there. I do recommend choosing a higher quality juice, preferably made of 100% fruit for this cocktail.
- To make this cocktail for a crowd, mix the orange liqueur, cranberry and orange juice in a large pitcher and place it in the refrigerator. Once it's time to serve, line up the flutes and fill them ⅔ to the top. Then, top them off with champagne.
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