Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

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Looking for the ultimate winter cocktail? This Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail is your answer! With its simple yet sophisticated blend of cranberry juice, bourbon, and a homemade rosemary sage syrup, it’s a holiday favorite. Perfect for those who enjoy a cocktail that’s as visually stunning as it is delicious.

2 Cranberry bourbon cocktails on a gold tray

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.

It’s the perfect blend of sweet, tart, and warm – a trifecta of flavors that just screams ‘holiday cheer’. Whether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving feast, a cozy Friendsgiving, a sparkling Christmas dinner, or just looking for a delicious way to enjoy a chilly evening, this Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail is your new go-to.

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!

A festive cranberry bourbon cocktail garnished with fresh cranberries, rosemary, and sage, perfect for celebrating the winter season

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.
  • This recipe proves that sophistication doesn’t have to be complicated. With easy-to-find ingredients and straightforward steps, you’ll feel like a pro bartender in your own home.
  • The homemade rosemary sage simple syrup adds an aromatic depth that elevates this drink from ordinary to extraordinary.
  • Whether it’s a cozy evening by the fire or a bustling holiday party, this cocktail fits perfectly into any winter setting.

Looking for more holiday cocktail recipes? I’ve got you covered. For Christmas, check out this collection of festive recipe. For Thanksgiving, this collection of cozy cocktails should do the trick.

A glass filled with a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail made with bourbon, cranberry juice, simple syrup, and lemon juice.


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
  • Sugar
  • Water
festive cranberry bourbon cocktail in a wine glass, garnished with cranberries and fresh herbsl. The perfect winter drink to celebrate the holiday season!
cranberry bourbon cocktail - a festive winter cocktail with a blend of tart and sweet flavors

How to Make

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! Let’s start by making the aromatic simple syrup you’ll need for this recipe.

  1. 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.
DIY rosemary simple syrup with sage

  1. Now you’re ready to make the cocktail. 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.
pouring bourbon into a glass filled with ice
  1. Then, add the bourbon, cranberry juice, rosemary-sage simple syrup , and a squeeze of lemon.
  2. Stir to combine and then sip and enjoy!

Bonus Step: 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.

A delicious winter holiday drink with bourbon, cranberry juice, and simple syrup. Perfect for celebrating any special occasion!

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.

A glass of cranberry bourbon cocktail, garnished with fresh cranberries. The perfect drink to enjoy this winter season!
Man holding a cranberry bourbon cocktail with fresh rosemary and sage.

See, wasn’t that easy (and yummy!)? This is a libation I’d be proud to serve and wouldn’t mind sipping myself.

Looking for more bourbon based drink recipes? Be sure to can check out my favorite easy bourbon cocktail recipe collection. There are so many delicious drinks I’m certain you’ll enjoy!
Cherry and Happy everything! If you do try this Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail, please stop back and leave a comment and a 5-star rating below.

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Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

This Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail has become one of my favorite seasonal cocktail recipes. It’s made with bourbon, cranberry juice, lemon juice, and a fragrant homemade rosemary sage simple syrup.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bourbon, christmas, cocktail, holiday
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 195kcal


  • 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

Rosemary Sage Simple Syrup:


  • 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.


Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. Made these for thanksgiving and they were delicious. Made another batch the day after thanksgiving using honey instead of sugar and it was fantastic!

  2. I have never been a bourbon drinker but this cocktail has changed that for me! Loved the herbed syrup, even the pretty garnish on top that I tied with Christmas ribbon. We served this at our Christmas Eve dinner last night and it was a big hit!

  3. Hi Michael, I just want to say how much I enjoy your blog. Your great ideas and lightheartedness is refreshing every time I open my email. I’m sure this holiday season’s postings have taken months to put together and it shows! I especially admire your fantastic photography with each and every subject. I am hoping that you are now somewhere with your feet up and have one of your wonderful cocktails in hand surrounded by family/friends (or just yourself if you need some quiet time!) Thank you for your inspiration and fun, upbeat attitude ~it’s so needed in our world today!

  4. Love the herbed simple syrup. I’m going to try this out. But I’m totally going to serve it up in a coupe glass. I think it will present with a little more elegance that way.

  5. This looks delicious! We’re looking for a fresh new Christmas cocktail and this fills the bill. Can’t wait to try it!!

    PS: We’ve been “training” ourselves to drink bourbon straight. 😉

  6. This looks great! I would love to try it for Thanksgiving, but I’m not a bourbon drinker. What brand of bourbon did you use or would suggest? Thanks.

    1. If you were able to scroll all the way to the comment section, then you missed the recipe. I enjoy photography and the ads help to keep this free-to-you blog alive. I’ve been sharing free content for 10 years. I apologize you are inconvenienced by scrolling for 3-5 seconds. Thanks for your comment and I hope you have a great day, Glenna!

      xo Michael

  7. Had this Sat night with friends. My friend added a half ounce of egg whites for a little froth. It was delightful!! It was equally warm and refreshing! Loved it!!

  8. I made this on Friday night and it was a huge hit. I had to alter the recipe as I was low on bourbon but had an unopened bottle of vodka. A few friends added seltzer along with the vodka and they enjoyed it quite well. The rosemary infused syrup was what made these a winner. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  9. What a pretty drink! Do you think it could work with a sparkling ingredient in it too? If so, what would you add? I just love bubbly drinks at the holidays.

  10. This looks great and I have got to try it! My question to you – is it straight, unsweetened cranberry juice? Would you please elaborate on what juice you used?
    And YES, it seems we were just enjoying summer and now we’re well into the holidays. I think we need Christmas and all it represents, this year more than ever! Maybe that’s why I am hearing from people around me they are already decorating their homes. We just need some Happy.
    Thank you Michael for all your great ideas and recipes. I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!