Cranberry Kamikaze Shots or Cocktail Recipe

Cranberry Kamikaze shots (or cocktails) are a fantastic way to mix up your party drink menu. This tangy and refreshing drink is easy to make and is sure to be a hit with your guests.

Cut glass shot glasses filled with vodka cranberry kamikaze shots, with lime wedges.

These cranberry kamikaze shots are a fun take on a classic shot or cocktail. They’re perfect for your Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations!

While I am a sucker for the classic kamikaze drink combination of lime, vodka and triple sec, I thought it would be fun to mix things up for New Year’s Eve. These vodka shots can pack a punch, so make sure designated drivers are in place!

Instead of sweetening the cocktail with a traditional simple syrup, I added a splash of cranberry juice. If you prefer a touch more sweetness, feel free to add some simple syrup. (See my original kamikaze recipe for the proportions.)

What is a cranberry kamikaze shot?

Cranberry kamikazes are made with vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and triple sec. It’s served in a shot glass and is meant to be consumed in one quick gulp.

If made into a full cocktail rather than a shot, the resulting drink is almost exactly the same as a cosmopolitan (affectionately known as a cosmo). However, cosmos are typically made with Cointreau rather than triple sec, though both lend an orange flavor to the drink.

Ingredients for cranberry vodka shots:

  • CRANBERRY JUICE: Cranberry juice can be found in the juice aisle of most grocery stores.
  • VODKA: The better the vodka, the better the taste of the shot or cocktail. Use your favorite! I opted for cranberry-flavored vodka, but plain vodka works, too.
  • LIME JUICE: Use fresh lime juice. This is my favorite citrus juicer to get every last drop of juice out of the limes.
  • TRIPLE SEC: Available in most places that sell distilled spirits. Cointreau can be substituted.
  • ICE: Use cubed ice for shaking with the cocktail ingredients.

See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.

How to make cranberry kamikaze shots:

The instructions for making these shots are very simple – combine everything, shake with ice and serve! Let’s talk details…

THE ICE: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Cubed ice is the way to go – not crushed ice. Crushed ice will melt much more easily while shaking the mixture, watering it down. No one likes watery cocktails!

SQUEEZE THE LIMES: Squeeze the limes with your favorite juicing tool. This is mine. To get the most juice out of the limes, use the palm of your hand to press and roll them on the counter before squeezing. If the limes are really firm, pop them into the microwave for 10 seconds or so.

COMBINE: Pour the lime juice, cranberry vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice over the ice in the shaker.

Lime juice in a measuring cup, surrounded by squeezed lime halves.

SHAKE: Cover the shaker and give the mixture a good shake to chill the liquids. About 15 seconds should do the trick.

SERVE: If serving as shots, strain the mixture into four shot glasses. For a cocktail, strain all of the mixture into a martini glass or highball glass. Garnish the cocktail with a wedge of lime and serve immediately.

Vodka, cranberry juice, lime halves and a cocktail shaker.

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Adjust the ratios to your liking. If you prefer a stronger or weaker drink, feel free to play around the ratios of the ingredients. For example, you could use more cranberry juice for a tarter drink or more triple sec for a sweeter one.

Experiment with other fruit juices. While cranberry juice is a classic option for a holiday drink, you could also try using orange juice, pineapple juice or even grapefruit juice.

If you want to make a larger batch, simply multiply the ingredients by the number of servings you need. If you are just doubling the recipe, there’s no need to increase the amount of ice in the shaker.

Make ahead and serving tips:

If you are a hosting a party, you can save time by mixing up a large batch of cranberry kamikaze shots in advance.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pitcher or punch bowl, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. When it’s time to serve, pour the mixture into shot glasses and serve immediately. There’s no need to shake with ice since the mixture is already chilled.

Overhead photo of cranberry juice vodka shots, on a black background with stars.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I make these shots non-alcoholic?

Yes, it’s possible to make a non-alcoholic version of cranberry kamikaze shots. Simply omit the vodka and triple sec and increase the amount of cranberry and lime juices to make up for the missing volume.

Can I make these shots with other types of alcohol?

While vodka and triple sec are the traditional choices for kamikaze shots, you can certainly experiment with using other types of alcohol. For example, you could try using gin or tequila in place of the vodka, or use a different type of liqueur in place of the triple sec. Just keep in mind that substituting different types of alcohol will change the flavor of the drink.

Cranberry Kamikaze Shots or Cocktail

Kick up your next cocktail or holiday party with these easy, festive cranberry kamikaze shots!