There may not be a more “Mad Men-esque” cocktail than the Cape Codder. While I certainly can’t imagine Don or Roger downing one (or even Betty for that matter), they were not created “organically” by bartenders experimenting behind the bar. They were invented by Ocean Spray. To help sell more cranberry juice. Now tell me that isn’t something Pete would pitch to an upset client in a conference room. They would probably have pitcher of the cocktails ready to go!
I haven’t had a Cape Codder since college. I remember a bar I used to go to sold 32 oz. Cape Codders – I ordered one once and then didn’t drink them again. I just remember it as being way too sweet and instantly headache-inducing.
BUT – I am headed to Cape Cod in less than two weeks and I am so very excited that whipping this up seemed appropriate. It was funny, I grabbed a bottle of cranberry juice in the store today and my husband instantly said “making Cape Codders?” He is from Boston you see, he knows this drink well.
A Cape Codder couldn’t be simpler. Don’t be lazy and just combine Vodka and Cranberry juice, the lime (fresh squeezed) is very important. I used Ocean Spray (c’mon, stick with the brand who invented it) Light Cranberry juice. It has 50 calories per 8 ounces and while the taste is less “full-bodied” (trying to think of a nice way of saying watered down), that helps in this cocktail! I usually cut juice with sparkling water anyway, so I am used to a lighter flavor and that was my main memory of that monster Cape Codder from college – too much of a good thing. So the lighter juice worked well for me in this. I also topped the glass with a splash of soda water… a little sparkle never hurts in a vodka-based cocktail.
- 3 oz Vodka
- 4.5 oz Cranberry juice
- 1/2 fresh lime juice
- splash of soda water (optional)
Combine Vodka, Cranberry and lime juice in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake very vigorously. Strain into a tall glass, top with a splash of soda water and garnish with a lime.