Madras Cocktail Recipe

The Madras cocktail is somewhat reminiscent of a Cosmopolitan, but with considerably more cranberry juice and less lemon flavor. It’s a slightly more mellow taste, and it’s also a little less strong.

You could also think of it as a fantastic twist on the Cape Cod. This refreshing drink blends vodka and cranberry juice with orange juice.

Madras Cocktails on bar with lime and cherry

The Origins of the Madras Cocktail

It was created in 1945 and named after Madras plaid material. Exactly who invented it isn’t clear, because once the Cape Cod was invented, bartenders started adding ingredients and many different cocktail recipes emerged from that period.

The Ingredients

To make a Madras cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Vodka: whatever drinkable vodka you usually use in cocktails is great. Absolut, Skyy and Svedka are examples.
  • Cranberry juice: use the regular cranberry juice bottle from your grocer’s shelf. You can also use a no sugar added version, but you may find it makes the cocktail too tart. Feel free to play with different flavored cranberry juices – pomegranate cranberry is great in this drink!
  • Orange juice: as always, fresh-squeezed orange juice is best. It has a brighter flavor than bottled.

When to Enjoy It

Enjoy a Madras when you’re in the mood for fruit juice, because you’ll be getting five ounces of it in every serving. This is a great cocktail for an evening out when you need a sugar boost, or for relaxing with a mild drink at the end of the day.

It’s great for happy hours, cocktail parties, and casual get-togethers with friends.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

The Madras cocktail is versatile and can be enjoyed on various occasions. Here are some serving and pairing suggestions:

1. Brunch Delight

The fruity and refreshing nature of the Madras makes it perfect for brunch. Serve it alongside classic brunch dishes like eggs benedict or avocado toast for a delightful combination.

2. Summer Party

Host a summer-themed party and offer your guests Madras cocktails in colorful glasses with lots of ice. Pair them with light appetizers such as bruschetta or shrimp cocktail for a refreshing summer gathering.

3. Cocktail Party Favorite

The Madras is an excellent choice for cocktail parties because of its vibrant color and crowd-pleasing flavors. Serve it in stemless martini glasses alongside other classic cocktails for an unforgettable evening.

Make a Pitcher

This is a great drink for making as a pitcher or big batch. You can even put it in a beverage dispenser for guests to serve themselves.

Number of Servings
Vodka (ounces)
Cranberry Juice (ounces)
Orange Juice (ounces)

Related Cocktails

  • The Cosmopolitan replaces orange juice with orange liqueur and adds some grapefruit and lime juice.
  • The Cape Cod is basically this drink but without orange juice.
  • The Sea Breeze uses grapefruit juice instead of orange.
  • Desert Shield is vodka, cranberry juice, and cranberry liqueur.
  • The Scarlett O’Hara adds Southern Comfort to the mix.
Madras Cocktails on bar with lime and cherry
Yield: 1 drink

Madras cocktail

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

The Madras cocktail is somewhat reminiscent of a Cosmopolitan, but with considerably more cranberry juice and less lemon flavor. It's a slightly more mellow taste, and it's also a little less strong.


  • 1 1/2 ounce vodka
  • 4 ounce cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 lime wedge


  1. Fill a highball with ice.
  2. Pour in the vodka, cranberry juice and orange juice.
  3. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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