Mistletoe Martini 

This Mistletoe Martini is a perfect festive drink with orange juice, lime juice, and maple syrup flavored with chilled cranberry tea. This recipe is a unique Christmas cocktail. It’s refreshing, sweet, fruity, slightly tart, and low-proof (without heavy liqueurs).

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Doesn’t this drink give you all the Christmas vibes a drink can offer? It’s the season for festive drinks—a time to show off your cocktail shaker skills and gorgeous glasses. While I love a good cocktail or mocktail recipe, one thing they always seem to have in common: they are either sweet or very creamy. A recent creamy recipe is this Toasted Almond Drink. 

If you are looking for a subtly sweet, fruity, light cocktail without cream or many liqueurs, this Mistletoe Martini recipe is for you. 

This recipe is an easy drink with fruit juices, a bit of vodka, and maple syrup. It is served in a cooled glass and is an excellent drink to serve during the festive weeks ahead, such as at Christmas or holiday parties. 

Why you will need to make this cocktail:

  • It’s a refreshing low-proof cocktail without heavy cream and many sweeteners.
  • The base is simple; a cold cranberry tea balanced and sweetened with orange juice and maple syrup.
  •  A little bit of vodka is the only liqueur used to give this cocktail a kick.
  •  Served in a festive glass, it’s the perfect red cocktail to serve for Christmas.
  •  This cocktail drink can be made ahead and in a larger batch.
  •  No store-bought syrups or flavors are needed for this drink.

WHAT IS A MISLETOE MARTINI?

The explanation for naming this cocktail a Mistletoe Martini is the color combination of green (the garnish) and red (the drink), which resembles mistletoe, and the cranberry flavor.

But there are many different recipes, garnish options, and serving options named Mistletoe Drink or Mistletoe Martini. Most are light red or red with a berry and a green accent.

This recipe is as mistletoe as it can get, with a dark red color, cranberries, and a small rosemary twig as a garnish.

THE PERFECT LOW-PROOF DRINK

What sets this drink apart from other festive beverages is that it’s not overly sweet or heavy (with cream), but it’s also lower in proof (low in alcohol content) than a typical martini. Most of the rich liqueur is replaced by cranberry tea. Cranberry tea is perfect for a cocktail because it’s tart and easy to balance with other flavors. Resulting in a tart, refreshing, and slightly sweet low-proof drink.

HOW TO MAKE A MISTLETOE MARTINI (STEP-BY-STEP WITH PHOTOS)

This recipe is a simple drink with as many natural flavors as possible. I wanted to use something other than store-bought syrups to sweeten and balance this drink. Keeping it simple and fresh is key. An unrefined sugar syrup (such as maple syrup) is perfect for this recipe. See the recipe card below for the exact recipe.

Step 1.
To a cocktail shaker or large glass, add ice cubes (about 1/2).

A top view of a cocktail shaker on a round marble backdrop filled with ice cubes next to a few cranberries a rosemary twig and a lime zest curl.

Step 2.
Add the vodka, orange juice, chilled (strong) cranberry tea, maple syrup, and lime juice to the cocktail shaker.

Step 3.
Close the cocktail shaker (or glass jar) and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.

Step 4.
Place a few ice cubes in a serving glass and stir them around in the glass to cool it. Remove the ice cubes from the glass.

A coupe cocktail glass on a white marble cutting board in front of a white tiled backdrop filled with ice cubes and a hand holding the stem of the glass.

Step 5.
Place a small fine mesh strainer over the glass and pour in the cocktail. The strainer will remove any juice pulp.

A coupe cocktail glass on a white marble cutting board in front of a white tiled backdrop with a small fines mash strainer onthe glasd and a silver colored cocktail shaker pouring in a red drink in the glass.

Step 6.
Garnish the drink with fresh cranberries, a small twig of rosemary, and a lime wedge or a curled lime zest. 

Close up of a coupe cocktail glass with a red drink decorated with a small rosemary twig a cranberry and a lime zest curl with a second glass filled with a red drink in the background.

HOW TO SERVE THIS DRINK

This drink can be served in many festive ways. On its own, this cocktail is a delicious cocktail for parties. 

But serving it with food is always a good idea. Savory small snacks or finger food are an excellent option to serve this drink. Savory small snacks such as Asparagus with Puff Pastry are a delicious option. But a simple trial mix with nuts is a good option too. 

Toast and crackers are an excellent way to serve this drink; this crunchy Sweet Potato Toast recipe is a must-try. Another option is simple crackers with Beet Hummus.

For dinner, I recommend serving this drink with a Vegan Wellington or a Whole Roasted Cauliflower.

A coupe cocktail glass with a red drink decorated with a small rosemary twig a cranberry and a lime zest curl in front of a white tiled backdrop and a second glass filled with a red drink in the background.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS

This recipe can be found with many variations and options. Here are a few suggestions:

Liqueur

This recipe calls for a bit of vodka, but you can add it to (or replace the vodka with) elderflower liqueur, cherry brandy, raspberry liqueur (“framboise”), or domaine de canton/ginger liquor. Strong liqueurs are usually vegan, but you should double-check this if you are using a substitution.

Cranberry tea

Instead of strongly brewed and chilled cranberry tea, you can also use store-bought cranberry juice. Those juices are not so strong and, generally, sweeter. So you might then want to use less or omit the sweetener in this recipe.

Sweetness

This recipe is sweetened with maple syrup, and the amount is perfect for this recipe with strongly brewed cranberry tea. This is a good amount to balance out the tartness of the cranberry. But depending on how strong your tea is, you may want to use more or less sweetener. There is no right or wrong amount of sweetness for this cocktail. If you like your drink sweetener, feel free to use more syrup.

Fruit

The fruity base of this cocktail recipe makes this such a good low-proof cocktail. This recipe is made with lime juice and orange juice, but lemon juice is also a good option. Other fruit juices to use in this recipe instead of orange juice are pineapple juice or apple juice. 

Serving

The garnish of this cocktail is what makes it stand out. A simple cranberry in the drink changes the drink’s look and adds a nice pop in the mouth. A combination of fresh rosemary, cranberry, and lime is beautiful. But you can also garnish this cocktail with other red fruits such as raspberries or a cherry. Add a bit of green to your garnish with a fresh herb or a lime wedge to keep the Christmas theme alive (red and green).

After a lot of tweaking, the below recipe is my favorite. The flavors are fresh and simple while still making it taste and look like a festive Christmas drink. The flavors are well-balanced, without too much sweetness, tartness, or acidity.

A coupe cocktail glass with a red drink decorated with a small rosemary twig a cranberry and a lime zest curl on a white marble backdrop in front of another glass with a red drink.

FINAL TIPS

The most authentic and natural cocktail is when you use strongly brewed and chilled cranberry tea. And by strong, I mean really strong. You can make a batch the night before and let it cool and brew overnight. 

This cocktail should taste sweet and slightly tart, with a rich cranberry flavor and a hint of citrus. When using more sweetness, try to avoid dominating all the other flavors. The sweetener is primarily an ingredient to counteract any bitterness. But again, there is no right or wrong, so feel free to play around with the amount of sweetness. 

The garnish is what makes this recipe pop. A rosemary twig and a cranberry make this drink a pure joy to serve. 

This recipe is perfect for making ahead in a bigger batch for parties. Keep it cooled in the fridge and serve or let your guests pour themselves a drink.

Are you looking for more festive drinks?

Give this Toasted Almond Drink a try for a creamy festive drink; this Piña Colada Mocktail or Pornstar Martini Mocktail are also crowd-pleasers and alcohol-free. 

Are you going to make this easy low-proof Mistletoe Martini? I would love to know! Let me know in the comment section what you think of my recipe. And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @thegreencreator.

Close up of a coupe cocktail glass with a red drink decorated with a small rosemary twig a cranberry and a lime zest curl with a second glass filled with a red drink in the background with th text misletoe martini in bold on top.
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A coupe cocktail glass with a red drink decorated with a small rosemary twig a cranberry and a lime zest curl on a white marble backdrop in front of another glass with a red drink.

Mistletoe Martini 

  • Author: Bianca
  • Total Time: 5
  • Category: drinks, cocktail
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Mistletoe Martini is a perfect festive drink and a unique Christmas cocktail. It’s refreshing, sweet, fruity, slightly tart, and low-proof (without heavy liqueurs).


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 oz (4 tablespoons) vodka
  • 2 oz (4 tablespoons) orange juice
  • 3 oz (6 tablespoons) chilled cranberry tea (strong)
  • 3/4 oz (1 ½ tablespoons) lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave syrup

Instructions

  1. Brew a cup of cranberry tea. The tea should be strong and chilled. An option is to make the cranberry tea the night before and let it cool and brew in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, use store-bought cranberry juice (see notes).
  2. Cool a serving glass with ice cubes. Place a few ice cubes in a serving glass and swish them around in the glass to cool it. Remove the ice cubes from the glass.
    You can also keep a serving glass in the fridge to serve the cocktail in a cooled glass.
  3. Fill a cocktail shaker  about halfway with ice cubes.
  4. Add the vodka, orange juice, chilled (strong) cranberry tea, maple syrup, and lime juice to the cocktail shaker.
  5. Close the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.
  6. Place a small fine mesh strainer over the serving glass and pour in the cocktail. The strainer will remove any juice pulp.
  7. Garnish the drink with fresh cranberry, a small twig of rosemary, and a lime wedge or a curled lime twist. 


Notes

Cocktail shaker
You can use any jar with a secure lid instead of a cocktail shaker. It’s important to strain the drink, so make sure to use a small fine mesh strainer to pour it.

Cranberry tea
The most authentic and natural cocktail is when you use strongly brewed and chilled cranberry tea. And by strong, I mean really strong. You can make a batch the night before and let it cool and brew overnight. Instead of strongly brewed and chilled cranberry tea, you can also use store-bought cranberry juice. This will be less strong and, generally, sweeter. So you might want to use less or omit the sweetener in this recipe.

Sweetness
This recipe is sweetened with maple syrup. The amount is perfect to balance out the tartness of the cranberry tea. But depending on your tea’s strength, you may want to use more or less sweetener. There is no right or wrong amount of sweetness for this drink. If you like your drink sweetener, feel free to use more syrup.

Keywords: drink, festive, Christmas, martini, misletoe martini


 

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