Nothing says holiday cheer quite like this delicious cranberry bourbon cocktail. This classic winter drink is the perfect combination of sweet, tart, and strong – something that everyone can enjoy!
It’s easy to get caught up in all the overwhelm this season, which is why I enjoy making cocktails to slow down and relax. However, no matter how you’re feeling, you’ve survived another week and in my book, that calls for a drink. Today I’m teaching you how to make this cranberry bourbon cocktail.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how to craft the perfect cranberry cocktail. Learn what ingredients you need, what steps to follow, and why this festive drink is great for any special occasion.
So grab your favorite bottle of bourbon and let’s get ready to start mixing!
Why You’ll Enjoy This Recipe
Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas, or none of the above, this cocktail is perfect for this time of year. The bourbon and herbs make it fall-friendly and the cranberries add a touch of holiday.
As I’ve shared before, even though I’m not a big fan of bourbon, I’m totally on board when it’s mixed with the right ingredients. That proved to be the case with my Apple Cinnamon Hot Toddy. And it’s true with this cocktail as well.
The base of this drink is mainly bourbon and cranberry juice in equal parts. By itself, that combination makes for an exceptionally nice, easy-sipping cocktail. However, you know me – I like to step up my cocktail game and fancify things a bit.
- Bourbon – I recommend the brand Four Roses. It’s the one that has slowly converted me away from thinking bourbon is not my jam.
- Cranberry juice – go for 100% juice with no sweeteners or sugar added.
- Lemon juice – use fresh-squeezed, it makes a difference!
You’ll also need to whip up a quick rosemary sage simple syrup (I promise you that it’s easy to do!) for that, you’ll need
- Rosemary sprigs – fresh, not dried
- Sage – again, choose fresh
I’ll walk you through the steps for making this cranberry bourbon cocktail below. For your convenience I’ve provided a full ingredients list and recipe instructions at the bottom of this post.
This drink is easy to whip up and tastes fantastic!
- Grab a glass and fill it with ice.
If you like these glasses, you can find them here. From what I gathered, they are the same glasses Ina Garten uses. They are even prettier in person.
- Then, add the bourbon, cranberry juice, rosemary-sage simple syrup (see below), and a squeeze of lemon. Stir to combine, then sip and enjoy!
Want to make it even fancier? Since I had extra herbs, I created a garnish by tying a few pieces together with string. Isn’t it pretty? I know it’s over the top, but I thought the holidays called for something special.
Rosemary Sage Simple Syrup
For this recipe, I made a rosemary sage simple syrup. Yes, it sounds elaborate, but it’s actually very easy.
The syrup adds a fresh, seasonal flavor to the cocktail that works wonderfully with the bourbon and cranberry.
- You just combine a cup of water with a cup of sugar and toss in a few sprigs of rosemary and sage. Let that simmer for 5-8 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. It’s really that simple.
- To use, let it cool down, then strain out the rosemary and sage. Store it in a mason jar and leave in the fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few FAQs you may be wondering about when it comes to making this drink. Let me know if you have additional questions and I’ll get back to you!
What type of bourbon is best for a cranberry bourbon cocktail?
For best results, use a smooth yet flavorful bourbon. It doesn’t have to be the top-shelf very best stuff because this recipe has juice and simple syrup added so there’s plenty of flavor variation. I personally use and love the brand Four Roses.
What type of glass should I serve this cocktail in?
The classic choice is a rocks glass but for this one, I went with this pretty french-style wine glass. You can also use stemless wine glasses or a classic coupe if you prefer.
Can I serve this at a party?
This is a great option for a party-friendly cocktail! The recipe card below shows you how to make a single cocktail, so just multiply it by however many guests you are expecting. You can make a big batch at once, and serve it in a punch bowl, or just set a pitcher of this cocktail out.
It can be made a day or so in advance if necessary and should keep well until you are ready to serve.
See, wasn’t that easy (and yummy!)? This is a libation I’d be proud to serve and wouldn’t mind sipping myself.
I’ll admit that I’m developing a taste for bourbon after all!! In fact, you can check out my favorite 11 easy bourbon cocktails here.
This truly is a stunning cocktail and one I’m certain you will enjoy.
Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe:
Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 2 ounces cranberry juice - 100% juice, unsweetened
- 1/2 ounce rosemary sage simple syrup*
- Splash of lemon juice - freshly squeezed
- Fresh rosemary and sage for garnish
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh sages
- In a glass filled with ice, add the bourbon, cranberry juice, rosemary sage simple syrup*, and a splash of lemon juice.
- Stir to combine.
- *Rosemary Sage Simple Syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine one cup of sugar and one cup of water. Toss in a couple sprigs each of fresh rosemary and sage. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. This will take 5-8 minutes. Strain the herbs from the simple syrup and allow it to cool completely before using.