The Cape Codder’s origins are as turbid as a cranberry bog, but most cocktail historians point to Ocean Spray, which suggested pairing its cranberry juice with vodka and a spritz of lime in 1945. Originally marketed as a “Red Devil,” the breezy East Coast favorite was later rechristened to evoke a sense of place—in particular, that ritzy coastal New England enclave. Modern interpretations preserve the cocktail’s drinkability while magnifying its depth. At Longfellow in Cambridge, Massachusetts, beverage director Dan Pontius mixes up his “Welcome Back Codder” using vodka, lime, amaro, and a cranberry-ginger syrup made with freshly harvested local cranberries.
1/2 cup cranberries
6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup chopped ginger
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
The Cape Codder
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz.) vodka
2 tablespoons Cranberry-Ginger Syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons (1/4 oz.) amari (such as Amaro dell'Etna)
Lime peel strip, for garnish
How to Make It
Cranberry-Ginger Syrup: Stir together cranberries, water, chopped ginger, sugar, and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Cook until cranberries start to pop and syrup turns dark red. Cool and pour througha wire-mesh strainer, pressing vigorously on fruit. Discard solids.
The Cape Codder: Place vodka, Cranberry-Ginger Syrup, lime juice, and amari (such as Amaro dell’Etna) in a cocktail shaker filled with ice; cover with lid, and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled coupe glass, and garnish with a lime peel strip.