The Best Frozen Vodka Cranberry

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I love it when I can surprise our guests at our Christmas party. And every year my frozen vodka cranberry creates a lot of excitement!

I love freezing ice blocks around vodka bottles. Vodka doesn’t freeze and these look so pretty so they are perfect to serve flavored vodka over the holidays. The cocktails taste wonderful and the presentation is so festive! Cold vodka cranberry also makes the best vodka cocktails.


The History of Our Annual Holiday Party

First, let me share with you a little bit about the history of our annual holiday party. Thirty-seven years ago when Dave and I were married, we hosted our first Christmas party. At that time we invited about forty people and I decorated our home and cooked all of the food.

Fast forward thirty-plus years, and we now invite over 200 people to our Christmas party and I am still cooking all of the food. We always have a full bar and I have served these frozen cranberry vodka bottles for at least thirty years.

Occasionally we host a New Year’s party because we are so close to the Rose Bowl and parade (especially when Stanford plays in the Rose Bowl). Needless to say, frozen vodka cranberry can always be found at our parties.

frozen vodka

A Fun Party Idea

In 1982, Martha Stewart released her first “Entertaining Book” which changed my life. Now I realize many of you who are reading this weren’t even born yet in 1982 but trust me, in 1982 it was the most beautiful and creative book I had ever seen.

One of my favorite ideas she had in the book was freezing vodka in milk cartons. And since her book was published 41 years ago, the idea is practically vintage, right?

Ok. Maybe not.

For the last thirty-plus years, I have served frozen vodka cranberry at our holiday party, exactly like Martha taught me in her book “Entertaining”. It’s so great for vodka cocktails. I am thrilled to be able to pass her idea on to you.

Did you know in 2011 Martha released another book titled Martha Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations?

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How to Make Frozen Vodka Cranberry

I always make frozen vodka cranberry at least two nights before our party. It only takes about ten minutes to make and then you just leave it in the freezer until you are ready to set up the bar at your party.

To start off with, you only need a few things. If you are smart you will buy milk cartons early and save them when they are empty. Usually, I forget to save them and buy the cheapest drink sold at the grocery store in a carton. That’s because I end up throwing out the contents!

Hence, that is why I am using Fruit Punch cartons.

how to make frozen vodka

First, cut the top portion off of the carton and wash the carton with dish soap and water..

frozen vodka in a milk carton

Next, insert the vodka bottle and add anything you want around the outside edge of the bottle.

What type of vodka do I use? Every year I mix it up. But my favorites are Tito’s vodka, Truly vodka, Grey Goose vodka, Ketel One vodka, Absolute vodka, Effen vodka, and Stoli vodka. I especially like the flavored vodkas.

I usually use fresh pine or eucalyptus, cranberries, lemon or lime slices, and/or leaves from a poinsettia plant for decoration.

Since I make multiple frozen vodkas, I often use flavored vodka and add lemon or orange slices to match the flavor.

In the photo below you can see I used fresh cranberries and fresh pine.

frozen vodka 2frozen vodka 3

Next, fill the carton with tap water just below the top edge of the milk carton.

Make sure the vodka bottle is facing the front of the carton. Place in the freezer overnight.

I find it is easiest to store them in the door of the freezer as they seem to be the most secure and not likely to tip over.

Presentation of the Frozen Vodka Cranberry Bottles

Peel off the carton when you are ready to use it. Serve it with lots of fun mixers to make vodka cocktails.

frozen vodka 4

Place in a pan or tray that has edges, because the ice will melt! Add greens to the pan/tray to disguise the water that will result from melted ice. frozen vodka 6

When ready to serve, tie a napkin around the base for easier handling. The napkins serve as a great buffer between the frozen ice and your hands!

We serve the vodka with tonic, club soda, ginger beer, and all the ingredients needed to make vodka cocktails. It’s such a festive display and I love it.

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Vodka bottles frozen in ice with fresh cranberries and eucalyptus for the bar at our Christmas party.

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  1. I have an autographed book from when I met her at an event in the early 90s and had forgotten about this excellent idea! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wonderful presentation !!! Cooking isn’t a problem it’s where you store the food ahead. I can finally see my counters again!

  3. Great idea! I wonder if you could do the same with champagne? Just curious, does the liquid freeze inside the bottle, making pouring challenging? Thanks for reposting this idea!

    1. Michelle,
      Yes, the bottle stays in the ice. I mentioned that I tie a cloth napkin around the bottle so it is really easy to pick up. It looks heavy, but it is not!

    2. One idea is to put a blown up balloon into the ice bucket w/out the vodka at first—then pop the balloon after freezing & add the vodka bottle (which was also kept in freezer) just before serving. That way one does not have to lift the ice bucket.

  4. Everything in THIS post is beautiful! You KNOW I love those ice blocks! I have some of the same questions posted above, so I will continue to watch for your replies. Thank you for sharing all of your beautiful ideas!

    1. Barb,
      I am so glad you like these. They are so festive and take about ten minutes to prepare. They are so worth making!

    1. Hi Barbara! Omg thank you! It’s just so festive and fun for the holidays. So happy you’re getting inspo ✨🥰

  5. Did I miss the actual cocktail recipe? Or is this just the presentation of vodka frozen in cranberry ice (and other flavors?

    1. Hi Kristy! Here are some suggestions of pairings that are also in the blog but no official recipe 🥰 We serve the vodka with tonic, club soda, ginger beer, and all the ingredients needed to make vodka cocktails.

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