The recipe for the “Vodka Cranberry” cocktail receives a modern update

Think of it as an updated Cape Codder “for the modern, cosmopolitan vodka drinker,” says Lauren Corriveau, who created the playful Form an ocean to another during his stay at the bar in New York, now closed Nitecap.

Although the drink was never part of Nitecap’s menu, it did fit a specific section of the menu that offered revisited versions of the classic “one and one” – like vodka-cran – and standards like the Paloma or the Tom. Collins. “It was a real showcase of our sense of fantasy and an opportunity to redeem drinks considered ‘less than’ in the cocktail world,” recalls Corriveau, now head of creative development and programming at Gin & Luck. , mother Society. of Death & Co.

At first glance, the drink looks like the classic Cape Codder, a rosy-hued drink made with vodka and cranberry juice and served over ice in a Collins glass, with a wedge of lime perched on the rim. But the ingredients have been carefully reconstituted to maximize flavor.

Vodka remains the core spirit of the drink; Corriveau specifies two ounces of California Citrus vodka from St. George Spirits. “Squeezing a wedge of lime into the classic Cape Codder is one of the little touches that can elevate this cocktail,” she explains, “so I’ve incorporated the citrus more fully into the equation.

Vodka from the Bay Area Distillery helped inspire the drink’s name, Corriveau explains: “I wanted to honor both the origin of Cape Codder and the birthplace of St. George’s delicious citrus vodka.

In place of the much-maligned Ocean Spray, Corriveau crafted a sweet cranberry bush with frozen cranberries and apple cider vinegar. “Using a shrub made from real cranberries, versus a cranberry juice cocktail, allowed me to amp up the spiciness while using a natural ingredient that hasn’t gone through as much processing,” she notes. Compared to the generous sip of cranberry juice that goes into the classic, the Coast to Coast calls for just three-quarters of an ounce of the cranberry bush: “It’s a more intense ingredient than a juice cocktail.”

Lengthening the drink with tonic water lightens this intensity; the sugar content and bitterness of the tonic also help replicate the mouthfeel of cranberry juice, while adding a refreshing effervescence. (“Regular seltzer water would have made the drink more watered down,” she notes.)

To balance the bitterness of the cranberry and the tonic elements, Corriveau adds three drops of a saline solution. The salt pan is also “a playful nod to the (allegedly) maritime origins of the Cape Codder,” says Corriveau. Plus, “a little salt never hurts a cocktail.”

The finishing touch, a classic lime wedge, recognizes the typical Cape Codder garnish. It echoes the citrus note of vodka and, like the classic, allows a guest to modify the drink to their liking with a squeeze or two.

Ultimately, the drink may look like the traditional version, but its thoughtful components make for a more sophisticated and amplified interpretation. Granted, that’s a far cry from the vodka-guts Corriveau first remembers as a cocktail waitress at age 18 during a week-long crash bartending course.

“Does the Cape Codder need save? No”, recognizes Corriveau. But, “Is it fun to get geeky and imaginative with this? Absolutely.”