The Cape Codder initially combined equal parts vodka and cranberry juice softened by sugar and water, but the drink has evolved into a cranberry cocktail, eschewing the sugar and water. For one of the simplest and most refreshing drinks around, nothing surpasses the Cape Codder. Named for the area of Massachusetts where it began as a bar special, the humble Cape Codder is a perennial summer favorite.
On a historical note, the same fixings appeared in a drink at Trader Vic’s in the 1950s as the Rangoon Ruby. It made a second appearance a decade later as a Bog Fog. The Cape Codder has not only since held its own but has inspired many variants.
The Cape Codder can be enjoyed freshly made or stored in large batches ahead of time. Some variations on the recipe call for light rum or applejack as the base, and some people add a touch of soda for an adult cranberry spritzer.
Bay Breeze: Use 4 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice and 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice.
Sea Breeze: Use 4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice and 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice.
Madras: Replace 2 1/2 ounces of the cranberry juice with 2 1/2 ounces of fresh orange juice, and garnish with a slice or orange.