The Clausmopolitan: A Cosmo with a Festive Upgrade

An unexpected holiday ingredient elevates this sweet-and-tart spin on a classic cranberry cocktail

Photo: Katie McCool

When bartender Erin Wilson was looking to create a seasonal sipper for Session Cocktails, a jazzy Alabama joint known for their unique riffs on classic drinks, she turned to a surprising holiday condiment: jellied cranberry sauce. “I had customers asking about cosmopolitans and other cranberry-based drinks,” Wilson says. “I wanted to create something fun and exciting that would satiate their cravings.” 

Dubbed the Clausmopolitan in honor of St. Nick, Wilson’s vodka-based beverage infuses spiced cranberry syrup with lemon, demerara, and a few dashes of orange bitters. She describes the flavor as reminiscent of cranberry sauce at Christmas: “a little tart, a little spice, and just the right amount of sweet.”

The Clausmopolitan is available at the bar’s Tuscaloosa location during the holidays, or you can re-create the recipe below at home. 


  • The Clausmopolitan (Yield: 1 cocktail)

    • 3 microdashes of Angostura orange bitters (see note below)

    • ¼ oz. demerara syrup (see note below)

    • ½ oz. lemon juice

    • 1 oz. spiced cranberry syrup (recipe follows)

    • 2 oz. vodka

  • Spiced cranberry syrup:

    • 4 cups cranberry juice

    • 1 can jellied cranberry sauce

    • 1 cup water

    • 2½ cups brown sugar

    • 1 cup white sugar

    • 2 oranges (zest and juice)

    • 1 tsp. whole cloves

    • 1 tsp. whole allspice

    • ½ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg

    • 4 cinnamon sticks


  1. Make the spiced cranberry syrup: Zest and juice the oranges. Set aside zest and add the juice into a medium stock pot with all other ingredients other than spices. Toast spices in a separate pan until aromatic. Add into the pot with all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Add orange zest and reduce heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes. Let cool and then strain out spices and zest. Yields about ½ gallon of syrup. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

  2. Make the cocktail: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail tin. Shake for about 7 seconds and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with fresh rosemary.

  3. Note: The measurement “microdash” comes from a specific type of bitters bottle that helps measure more precisely. Three microdashes is equal to one dash out of a normal bitters bottle. 

  4. Note: Demerara syrup is a richer version of simple syrup that uses Demerara sugar. Instead of a 1:1 ratio for a normal simple syrup, it is 1:2 (water to sugar), so it’s thicker and adds more flavor, similar to molasses.