How To Make A Sugared Cranberry Garnish For Drinks

How To Make A Sugared Cranberry Garnish For Drinks

Apr 18, 2022Johnna Rossbach

It's time to prep for your next holiday party. You look around your kitchen and realize you have plenty of decorations, but there's nothing to use to make your drinks festive and fun. What do you do?

Don't worry; there's still time to get together some sugar-coated cranberries for the party!

how to use cranberries in drinks

It's effortless to make this sweet cocktail garnish as you dream up and create recipes for your festive alcoholic libations. No need to buy more decor at the store--we've got you covered!

Follow the simple steps below and make some delicious cranberry garnishes to make your drinks pop!

What Are Sugared Cranberries?

A sugar-coated cranberry is a garnish made from dried cranberries painted with watercolor-thin layers of sugar. The best part? They're easy and inexpensive to make at home. You can add them to cocktails as a garnish or snack on them as a quick holiday treat! You can also use them as edible, festive decorations to make your table look festive and provide a dessert snack for your guests.

If you're looking to add an elegant touch to your cocktail or drink, adding a sugared cranberry garnish is an excellent way to do so.

What Are Sugared Cranberries?

While cranberries are the perfect garnish for holiday cocktails, they're also excellent year-round. They're not only reserved for Christmas and New Year's eve!

Sugared cranberries will make your drink look more beautiful, but they will also taste great and give you a little extra flavor, making the difference between something good and something outstanding.

Read on to learn how to make your sugared cranberry garnish at home! But first, we can't help but share some answers to frequently asked questions.

Are There Different Types of Cranberries? + Other Interesting Facts

If you've ever traveled to Cape Cod in the summer, you know cranberries' growing and thriving culture. If you're a fellow cranberry lover, you may be curious: Are cranberries available in different types for different purposes? In short, yes!

There are two main types of cranberries. Most cranberries (approximately 80 percent) sold in North America come from wild cranberries, while 20 percent are cultivated. Wild cranberries are small and tart, while cultivated berries are larger and sweeter.

Both types can be used to make a garnish. There are also many different strains of cranberries, but it does not matter which you choose when you go to coat them in sugar.

Can Cranberries Be Harvested Differently, Too?

Because the fruit grows in the forest, the scarlet fruits could be sourced from muddy soil and swamps. When planted, farmers place cranberries in dry soil on small, trailing plants, similar to strawberries.

Can Cranberries Be Harvested Differently, Too?

Want to know a fun fact about fresh cranberries? Because they contain a lot of air beneath their skin, they will float! Pretty neat, huh? Check out another interesting fact below!

Did You Know That Cranberries Are Aphrodisiacs?

Not only are cranberries red, like the color of love, but they also contain aphrodisiac properties. In addition, fresh cranberries have potential benefits for supporting heart health and sexual health, thanks to all the vitamins they contain.

Delicious and nutritious? Yes, please!

How Do You Make Sugared Cranberry Garnishes For Drinks?

Let's get back to our regularly scheduled programming: how to make sugared cranberries for stunning cocktail garnishes!

Once all your ingredients are ready, making sugar-coated cranberries takes two critical steps: covering them in a powdered egg white mixture and then coating the cranberries in sugar.

How Do You Make Sugared Cranberry Garnishes For Drinks?

Gather your equipment and ingredients, and you'll have candied cranberries in no time!

Equipment & Ingredients Needed For This Recipe

For this candied cranberries recipe, you will need the following tools:

  • Colander
  • Paper towels
  • Wire rack (or parchment paper)
  • Spoon
  • Brush
  • Two small bowls

Ingredient List

To make sugared cranberries, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Twenty fresh cranberries with stems attached
  • 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 4 tsp powdered egg whites

Sugared Cranberries Recipe

Now that you have your tools and ingredients let's dive in!

  1. First, place your cherries in the colander and strain them. Once strained, pat them dry with paper towels.
  2. Then, whisk the powdered egg whites and water in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the sugar to another bowl.
  4. Pick cherries up by the stem, brush them with the egg white mixture, and then spoon on sugar to thoroughly coat each one.
  5. As you cover them with the two mixtures, place them on a rack to dry.

And, voila! Once they're fully dry, you will have delicious, sugared cranberries to adorn all your delicious cocktails. Sugared cranberries can retain their sparkle for at least one week.

Please keep them in an air tight container in a cool, dry area like the fridge.

This recipe can also work for sugar coating other fruits with ease. It may work with some nut products too.

Uses For This Candied Cranberries Recipe

First, and perhaps most obviously, sugared cranberries are the perfect drink garnishes during the holiday season. But they can also adorn drinks year-round because they're the ideal mixture of appealing to the eye and delicious to eat.

Tips For Making Cranberry Garnishes For Drinks

Sugar-covered cranberries serve as an attractive garnish even on savory dishes like a chicken roast, duck roast, or smoked lamb roast. These beautiful sugary fruits are also a fan-favorite garnish idea for all winter dishes. They're great on their own as a sugary snack, too--all you have to do is throw them in a bowl.

If you love to bake, you can also use the berries to sprinkle seasonal color in bundt cakes, spice cakes, and chocolate desserts.

Let your imagination run wild, and you will find endless opportunities for putting these sugared cranberries to yummy use!

Tips For Making Cranberry Garnishes For Drinks

This easy sugared cranberries recipe is ideal for decorating your favorite holidays and unique occasion-themed cocktails. While they're certainly easy to make, you may have a few burning questions in mind. Check out a few ideas to easily create your own candied cranberries.

Here are some tips for creating sugared cranberries that are as beautiful as you imagine them to be:

  • Leave the cranberries to rest on parchment paper to prevent sticking if you do not have a wire rack.
  • Place the cranberries in a single layer and allow them to cool so they don't get squished together.
  • Ensure that the sugared cranberries are fully hardened before storing.

Why Do We Love This Recipe?

Team Mixly loves this sugared cranberries recipe because it is simple, beautiful, and deliciously sweet. We also enjoy a garnish that adds to a cocktail's beauty but can also add flavor. It also has a short prep time with no need for heat!

And with this cocktail garnish, you can eat the cranberries while you sip for a complex, depth experience across your palate.

A drink and dessert in one glass? Sign us up!

Another Recipe For Making Sugared Cranberries

While the recipe above is our go-to, there are other methods for making cranberry garnishes coated in sparkling sugar. And for one of them, you only need cranberries and an additional two ingredients!

Let's check out another idea to coat cranberries differently when making a fantastic garnish. We cannot stop with only one--this cocktail garnish is one of our favorite things!

Sugared Cranberries, Alternative Recipe

You will need water, sugar, and cranberries for this alternative method. See below for the required equipment and specific ingredient measurements.


And don't worry, the cook time for this recipe is minimal too.

Equipment & Tools

  • Medium saucepan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Wooden spoon

And this time around, you'll need a stove's heat to make a syrup for coating the fruit.

Ingredient List

  • 12 ounces of fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water

Recipe Instructions

  1. First, you'll need to create a simple syrup. Start by combing 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir consistently until the sugar fully dissolves.
  2. Once the sugary syrup comes to a simmer, remove it from the medium-heat stovetop, add cranberries, and cover them in water completely. Once removed from the heat, allow the cranberries combined with the sugar syrup to sit for ten minutes.
  3. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the ten minutes end, transfer the cranberries out of the syrup and onto the wax paper using a slotted spoon. Make sure the cranberries lie flat and are not bunched together. Let them sit for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Then, pour all of the remaining sugar over the cranberries. Use a wooden spoon to ensure they're completely coated. If you need more sugar to do so, that's okay!
  5. Finally, let them rest, so the sugar-coated cranberries dry entirely. Once an hour passes, store the berries in an air tight container and keep them in the fridge.
  6. All that's left is to shake up a drink and decorate it with your new, delicious cocktail garnish. Sweet!
Quick Tip:

If it's easier to coat the fruit in sugar using a large bowl, go ahead and do it. Just lay the fruit out on a flat piece of parchment paper so the berries do not stick together when drying.

Easy Cocktail Ideas To Let Your Cranberry Garnish Shine

Let's make a few libations so you can place your new cocktail garnish on top so they can shine like gorgeous little gems. Your friends will think you're a mixologist in no time!

See below for two of our favorite cocktail recipes!

South Side

This easy gin tipple is easy to make at home and perfect for any season. It's minty and fresh.


  • Five mint leaves
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz simple syrup (see how to make sugar syrup above)


Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake—Strain into a martini or coupe glass, or over ice if preferred.

Garnish with an additional mint sprig, and your freshly made berry cocktail garnish, and enjoy!


We're keeping it simple with this three-ingredient cocktail. Well, technically four ingredients, but it's still super simple to whip up! It's one of our favorite recipes.


  • 0.75oz Honey syrup
  • 75oz Lime juice
  • 5oz Rum
  • Champagne


Add all ingredients (except the champagne) into a shaker with ice and shake. Strain, and top with champagne--give it a quick stir to incorporate, if desired. Express a twist of orange or lemon over the drink to release the oils, and float a few of your sugared, little gems on top.

Hop on over to our drink ideas page to learn how to shake up even more easy-to-make cocktails. Cheers!

Shake It Up With Mixly

Now that you're equipped with all the tools, recipes, and FAQs, you're off to create recipes that will make your sugared cranberries shine! Sugared cranberries look gorgeous as a garnish on top of any of our Strawberry Pomegranate cocktails linked here. Cheers!

For simple, straightforward mixing, snag your favorite Mixly mixer. All you have to do is pour, stir, and serve. And add the final touch--your amazing garnish!

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