How to Make Cranberry Moonshine

Imagine sipping on a drink that perfectly captures the tart, sweet, and festive flavors of cranberries, but with a delightful boozy twist.

That’s what you get with cranberry moonshine—a bright and cheerful concoction that’s perfect for holiday gatherings and celebrations.

Ready to make your own? Let’s dive in! And remember, always enjoy your moonshine responsibly and follow your local laws.

Ingredients and Equipment

List of Ingredients

Before we get started, let’s make sure you have everything you need.

Here’s your shopping list:

  • High-proof alcohol: Everclear or vodka is your best bet. They’ll give your moonshine the kick it needs.
  • Fresh or frozen cranberries: For that authentic cranberry flavor.
  • Cranberry juice: Adds a fresh, fruity base.
  • Sugar: To sweeten things up.
  • Brown sugar: Adds a rich, molasses touch.
  • Water: For making the simple syrup.
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional): To spice things up.
  • Cloves (optional): For a warm, aromatic touch.
  • Orange zest (optional): Adds a bright, citrusy note.
  • Vanilla extract (optional): For a hint of sweetness.

Necessary Equipment

Got your ingredients? Great!

Now, let’s check off the equipment list:

  • Large saucepan: For cooking your simple syrup and mixing ingredients.
  • Mason jars or glass containers: These will be your moonshine’s home while it infuses.
  • Funnel: To make pouring easy and mess-free.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Precision is key!
  • Strainer: To remove any solid bits before serving.
  • Whisk: To mix everything smoothly.
  • Knife and cutting board: For preparing the cranberries.

Preparation Steps

Step 1: Preparing the Cranberries

First things first, let’s get those cranberries ready. If you’re using fresh cranberries, give them a good wash and chop them up a bit.

If you’re using frozen cranberries, let them thaw and then chop them. Think of it like prepping for a delicious cranberry sauce, except this one has a boozy twist!

Step 2: Making the Simple Syrup

Next, we need to make the simple syrup. In a large saucepan, combine equal parts sugar, brown sugar, and water.

Heat the mixture gently over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugars are fully dissolved. It’s like making the base for a sweet, sticky potion that will serve as the backbone of our moonshine.

Combining and Infusing

Step 3: Mixing Ingredients in a Saucepan

Now for the fun part—bringing all the flavors together! Add the chopped cranberries, cranberry juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange zest (if you’re using them) to the simple syrup in the saucepan.

Stir well to combine. This mixture will be simmering away, allowing the cranberries and spices to infuse their flavors into the sweet syrup.

It’s like creating a festive cranberry brew that’s bound to delight your taste buds.

Step 4: Simmering the Mixture

Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Let it cook for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This step is crucial for melding all those wonderful flavors together. Think of it as slow-cooking a delicious stew—the longer it simmers, the better it gets.

Step 5: Cooling and Adding Alcohol

Once your mixture has simmered to perfection, remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

This is important because you don’t want to add alcohol to a hot mixture (unless you’re aiming for a kitchen science experiment!). When it’s cool, pour in your high-proof alcohol and give it a good stir.

The alcohol will infuse with all those delicious flavors, creating a rich, complex moonshine.

Bottling and Storing

Step 6: Transferring to Jars

Now that your cranberry moonshine mixture is ready, it’s time to transfer it to mason jars. Using a funnel, carefully pour the mixture into each jar.

Make sure to leave a bit of space at the top to allow for any expansion during storage. It’s like bottling up a bit of holiday cheer!

Step 7: Sealing and Shaking

Once your jars are filled, seal them tightly with their lids. Give each jar a good shake to make sure everything is well-mixed. It’s like shaking up a snow globe—everything swirls around, creating a beautiful blend of flavors.

Step 8: Infusion Period

Now comes the hard part: waiting. Let your jars sit for at least one week. Store them in a cool, dark place and give them a shake every few days.

This infusion period allows all the flavors to meld together into a harmonious blend. Think of it like letting a fine wine age—the longer it sits, the better it gets.

Final Touches and Serving

Step 9: Tasting and Adjusting

The wait is finally over! It’s time to taste your cranberry moonshine. Open a jar and take a small sip.

How’s the flavor? If it’s not sweet enough or needs a bit more spice, feel free to adjust by adding more sugar or spices. Think of it like tweaking a recipe—you want to get it just right.

Step 10: Straining

If you prefer a smooth drink without any solid bits, strain your moonshine using a fine mesh strainer.

Pour the liquid into a clean container, leaving the cranberry pieces and spices behind. This step is optional but can make your moonshine look and taste smoother. It’s like straining tea leaves for a cleaner brew.

Step 11: Bottling and Storing

Once you’re happy with the flavor and consistency, it’s time to bottle your moonshine. Transfer the liquid into clean, airtight bottles.

Label them if you’re feeling fancy—this can be especially fun if you’re planning to give some away as gifts. Store your bottles in a cool, dark place to keep the flavors fresh.

And remember, the longer it sits, the better it gets. It’s like aging fine wine but with a delicious cranberry twist!

Serving Suggestions

Creative Cocktails

Now that you’ve got your cranberry moonshine ready, let’s talk about how to serve it. You can enjoy it straight, on the rocks, or mix it into some fabulous cocktails.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Cranberry Martini: Shake your moonshine with vodka and a splash of cranberry juice. Serve in a chilled martini glass with a twist of lemon.
  • Spiced Cranberry Old Fashioned: Mix your moonshine with a dash of bitters and a twist of orange peel. Serve over ice with a cinnamon stick garnish.
  • Cranberry Hot Toddy: Add a shot of your moonshine to a mug of hot tea for a warm, boozy treat. Top with a slice of lemon and a clove.

Presentation Tips

When serving your moonshine at parties or gatherings, presentation is key. Consider using festive glasses to match the bright and cheerful spirit of your moonshine.

Add some fun garnishes like a sprig of rosemary or a few fresh cranberries. If you’re gifting the moonshine, decorate the bottles with ribbons or custom labels.

Think of it like setting the stage for a delightful experience—you want everything to look as good as it tastes!


To wrap things up, making cranberry moonshine is a fun and creative way to bring some sweet and tart flavors into your life.

From choosing your favorite ingredients to experimenting with different cocktails, the possibilities are endless.

Remember to always enjoy your creations responsibly and stay within the legal guidelines for alcohol production in your area.

Happy brewing, and cheers to your delicious creations!

So, what are you waiting for? Gather your supplies, pick your favorite cranberry flavors, and start creating your own delightful moonshine today! Cheers!

Similar Posts