Madras Drink

5 from 38 votes

Cool off with a sweet and tart Madras Drink. This refreshing drink features vodka, cranberry juice and orange juice. It’s like summer in a glass!

A red Madras cocktail on a white coaster.

Madras Drink recipe

Vodka is one of the most versatile spirits — if not the most versatile. As a result, there are tons of easy vodka cocktails out there. A Google search should confirm that.

There’s the White Russian, the Moscow Mule and the Bloody Mary.

The Cape Codder is another classic. Who hasn’t ordered a Vodka Cranberry before?

Something you might not realize about the Vodka Cran is that she comes from a big family of cranberry cocktails. So today, we are focusing on one of those spin-offs.

The Madras cocktail is the best of them all. You’ll love the citrus kick amid the tart cranberry but still find it sweet and refreshing. Try its sisters (see the Variations section below) and decide which one you like best for yourself.

More classic cocktail recipes: Gin & TonicGreyhoundMargarita • Tequila Sunrise

Why you’ll love this recipe

This classic cocktail is going to be one of your new favorites! Here’s why:

  • Sweet orange juice and tart cranberry are a perfect match for each other.
  • It’s a quick and easy three-ingredient drink.
  • This is an excellent drink for a hot summer day or relaxing by the pool, lake or beach!
side view of a madras cocktail with fresh orange juice at the bottom.

What is a Madras drink?

The Madras drink is a vodka and cranberry juice cocktail that also features the addition of orange juice.

It’s one of many twists on the classic Cape Codder, which features vodka, cranberry juice and lime juice.

The moniker Madras is a nod to the summery fabric of the same name. Madras is a colorful and lightweight plaid fabric with bright colors woven horizontally and vertically.

Tools & glassware

If you plan to juice your own oranges, you will need a citrus squeezer or electric juicer.

A Madras drink can be made in just about any glass, but a rocks glass is the most common. You could also make it in a tall glass, such as a Collins glass or highball glass.

The ingredients for a cranberry madras drink.

Ingredients

You only need three simple ingredients to make a Madras cocktail. Here’s what to snag at the grocery store and liquor store:

Vodka

Pick up a bottle of quality vodka for this cocktail. Anything cheap will have a more pungent alcoholic taste. Others

As I always say, use the best you can afford — my go-to advice for anything with drink mixing.

In my Vodka 101 post, I’ll tell you how to pick out a bottle of vodka. My go-to brands are Tito’s, Reyka, Deep Eddy and Absolut.

Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice is easy to find in the grocery store. Find it in the juice aisle or the refrigerated section.

Be careful of buying cranberry juice cocktail, which is loaded with extra sugar; 100% cranberry juice is still very sweet.

Sometimes you can find cranberry juice with other flavors like cherry, blueberry or grape. But don’t worry — any of these would be delicious!

pouring orange juice into a cocktail.

Orange juice

If you have the time and the tools, squeezing your orange juice will go a long way and provide the freshest flavor for the Madras.

Navel oranges are the most common, but cara cara oranges have a delicious, sweet flavor. Most oranges produce a few ounces of juice, which is all you need for one cocktail. Strain out any pulp before adding it to your drink.

However, if you plan to make a bunch of these vodka cocktails, you should pick up a gallon of OJ instead.

If you purchase your orange juice, you should grab one with no pulp or low pulp, which might float in the drink. Totally fine, just not as pretty.

An overhead view of a cocktail pick piercing an orange zest flower and fresh cranberries on a cranberry cocktail.

Garnishes

It’s up to you whether you add a garnish, but they make your drink feel like you’re at a bar! Garnishes also bring a fresh fragrance to your cocktail, which adds to the experience your taste buds get.

For the Madras, try one of these:

two cranberry cocktails with a bottle of 1876 vodka and a bottle of cranberry juice.

Variations and substitutions

In bartending school, we had to learn the most-ordered recipes for our big test, especially because many drinks are very similar.

If you work in a bar and substitute one ingredient, chances are you made another drink entirely. And your customer — who knows what they like enough to call it by name — might not be happy. (Go people-watch at Starbucks for a few hours, and you’ll know what I mean.)

Try the Cape Codder’s sisters and decide which one you like best:

  • Sea Breeze: vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice
  • Bay Breeze: vodka, cranberry juice and pineapple juice
  • Woo Woo: vodka, cranberry juice and peach schnapps
  • Rose Kennedy: vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and club soda
  • Cosmopolitan: vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and triple sec
  • Sex on the Beach: vodka, cranberry juice, orange juice and schnapps

If you want to make this drink non-alcoholic, omit the vodka.

How to make a Madras Drink

Putting together the Madras recipe is super simple. Let’s take it step by step:

two large ice cubes in a glass.

First, fill a rocks glass with ice cubes. Add the vodka.

cranberry juice pouring into an ice filled glass.

Pour in the cranberry juice.

a spoon stirring a cocktail.

Give the vodka and cranberry juice a stir.

pouring orange juice into a red cocktail.

Top with a splash of orange juice.

Lastly, garnish with an orange wedge or orange zest, and some fresh cranberries.

a wooden tray carrying a red cocktail and an orange wedge.

Tips & tricks

Use fresh orange juice for the freshest taste. You can juice it yourself or pick up fresh-squeezed orange juice at many grocery stores.

Be sure to buy 100% cranberry juice, not cranberry juice cocktail. Pure cranberry juice is sweet enough, and cranberry juice cocktail has a lot of extra sugar. 

When you add a piece of orange zest to your cocktail, give it a gentle squeeze as you wave it around the rim of the glass. This gives the drink an extra hint of bitter orange scent and flavor.

a madras cocktail with a cocktail pick containing an orange zest flower and fresh cranberries.

FAQ

How do you pronounce the drink Madras?

Madras is pronounced, “mahd-russ” or ” mah-drahs.”

What is the name of the vodka cranberry drink?

The popular Vodka Cranberry drink is also sometimes called a Cape Codder or Cape Cod, named for the town in Massachusetts famous for its cranberry bogs.

Is cranberry juice cocktail alcoholic?

No, cranberry juice cocktail is not alcoholic. However, it has lots of added sugar, which makes it very sweet compared to 100% cranberry juice.

a madras cocktail on a wooden tray

More cranberry cocktails

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A red Madras cocktail on a white coaster.

Madras Drink

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
The Madras is a classic vodka cocktail that's the picture of sunshine. With just three ingredients, it's bound to be a favorite.
5 from 38 votes
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ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • orange slice or zest
  • fresh cranberries

instructions

  • Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add vodka and cranberry juice. Stir together.
  • Top with orange juice.
  • Garnish with an orange slice, orange zest and/or fresh cranberries.

notes

Use fresh orange juice for the freshest taste. You can juice it yourself or pick up fresh-squeezed orange juice at many grocery stores.
Be sure to buy 100% cranberry juice, not cranberry juice cocktail. Pure cranberry juice is sweet enough, and cranberry juice cocktail has a lot of extra sugar. 
When you add a piece of orange zest to your cocktail, give it a gentle squeeze as you wave it around the rim of the glass. This gives the drink an extra hint of bitter orange scent and flavor.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 5½ ounces Calories: 151kcal Carbohydrates: 13g Sodium: 6mg Sugar: 11g
did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!
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Comments

  1. Anne says

    I’m obsessed with the colors of everyone’s drinks! I love looking at them and then subbing out the alcohol for water (because um, not at drinking age yet). Especially this one… I love the ombre —so mesmerizing!

    • Susannah says

      Oh, I love that, Anne! I like making mocktails too. I wouldn’t necessarily sub water for the alcohol, though. You might dilute the flavor too much. I am overdue for a round-up of mocktail recipes — I’ll remedy that soon! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and taking the time to read it and leave a comment, by the way!

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