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These cranberry ice cubes are a fun and festive way to celebrate while serving cocktails. Fresh cranberries, sliced orange, and sprigs of rosemary are frozen in ice cube trays to create decorative cubes that can jazz up any drink.
Add a touch of elegance to your holiday parties and events with these holiday ice cubes that are full of classic Christmas ingredients. They’re a snap to put together and can make your celebration that much more special!
Ingredients for this recipe
- Cranberries – You can use fresh or cranberries straight from the freezer. I wouldn’t recommend dried cranberries, though.
- Oranges – Cranberry and orange not only taste amazing together (hello, cranberry compote), but they also look stunning next to one another in the cubes.
- Rosemary Sprigs – To add a little green to our red ice cubes.
- Water – To make ice cubes, obviously.
How to Make Holiday Ice Cubes
This is just a brief overview, find more detailed instructions in the recipe card below!
- Fill the trays. With a few cranberries, small wedges of orange, and sprigs of rosemary.
- Add water. Only filling the trays up halfway. Cranberries float in water (they’re hollow inside!), so filling them up halfway and freezing before filling again means the cranberries won’t all be at the top.
- Freeze the cubes. For about 4 hours, or until solid.
- Top off with more water. Water expands as it freezes so you’ll notice the water level has risen after the first freeze.
- Freeze the cubes again. And get ready to serve them in your favorite Christmas cocktails!
Making ice cubes with boiling water
I’m sure we’ve all heard the rumor that making ice cubes with boiling water yields crystal clear ice cubes. But! In the case of these festive frozen cranberry cubes, we don’t want to use piping hot, boiling water.
If you pour boiling water over the fresh cranberries, they will bleed their beautiful red color into the water and instead of clear ice cubes you’ll be left with cloudy, pink cubes.
However, I did find in all the batches I made that using very warm, steaming filtered water (but not piping hot) yielded these beautifully clear cubes!
Of course, if you just have warm or cool water from the faucet that will work, the cubes may just be a bit cloudy. Not to worry!
How long do ice cubes stay fresh in the freezer?
You can prepare these ice cubes up to one month before your holiday gathering. After that they may start to get frostbite and take on the smells of your freezer.
I love using silicone ice molds for these holiday ice cubes (and for my coffee ice cubes!) because of their handy lids. It makes storing the ice cubes that much easier.
If you have to make a few batches in your ice cube trays you can store the frozen cubes in a sealed Ziploc bag with all the air squeezed out until serving.
Frozen Cranberries – Let’s say you have some frozen cranberries in the freezer that you want to use up without making a batch of cranberry cheesecake bars, cranberry ice cream, or cranberry sauce - you can add cranberries straight from the freezer to the ice cube molds for this holiday diy!
Citrus – If you don’t have oranges or you don’t like them you can substitute lemon or lime slices, or use a combination of all three. (You can do the same kind of substitutions in a holiday simmer pot too, you know!)
Herbs – Is rosemary too potent or do you just not have any on hand? You can substitute mint leaves or even fresh thyme in the ice cubes instead.
Watch the recipe video!
Cranberry Ice Cubes (How to Make Holiday Ice Cubes)
- Ice Cube Trays
- Measuring Cup
- 6 ounces fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries, straight from the freezer
- 2 oranges thinly sliced
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary divided into small pieces
- 4 – 5 cups water filtered and steaming from boiling, if possible
- Place 1 – 3 cranberries in each compartment of the ice cube tray, followed by the orange slices and fresh rosemary.
- Fill the trays up halfway with the (steaming, filtered) water, cover the trays and place in freezer for at least four hours, or until frozen solid.
- Once frozen solid, top the cubes off with more water, cover, and freeze again until solid (about another four hours).
- Serve cranberry ice cubes in your favorite holiday drinks!
- Ice cubes can be made up to one month in advance and either stored in trays with lids or in a freezer-safe, zip-top bag with all the air squeezed out.