Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

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!

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.

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.

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

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.

pouring bourbon into a glass filled with ice


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!

Recipe Instructions:

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!

  1. 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.

cranberry bourbon cocktail - a festive winter cocktail with a blend of tart and sweet flavors
  1. 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.

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

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.

  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.
  2. 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

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!

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.

Wine glass with cranberry cocktail

This truly is a stunning cocktail and one I’m certain you will enjoy.

Man holding a cranberry bourbon cocktail with fresh rosemary and sage.

Happy everything!

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe:

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Did you make this recipe? Leave a review!

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bourbon, christmas, cocktail, holiday
Servings: 1
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
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.


  • 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:
  • 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.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 195kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 10mgPotassium: 54mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 26IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
Made it? Share it!Tag @inspiredbycharm on Instagram and use the tag #myIBC so we can see what you’re cooking in the kitchen!
Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that receives a small commission by linking to and other sites at no cost to the readers.

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  • Jo at

    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!

  • Cathy at

    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!

  • Mike at

    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.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      You can serve it however you’d like!

      xo Michael

  • Linda at

    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. 😉

  • Lorrie at

    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.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I love Four Roses Single Barrel. Cheers!

      xo Michael

  • GC at

    It took too long to scroll past all the photos and ads, guess I’ll never know what the recipe actually said

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      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

  • Michelle at

    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!!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I’m always afraid to add egg whites to a cocktail. I’ll have to try that! Thanks!

      xo Michael

  • Jennifer at

    Is there any reason you couldn’t make this in a large batch, like a punch?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      You could totally turn this into a punch! Great idea.

      xo Michael

      • Sandy at

        How would you adjust the quantities to make a punch?

  • Laura at

    Just wondering how many cocktails the recipe for the rosemary sage simple syrup makes? Can’t wait to try out this cocktail recipe this Christmas!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I’m not 100% sure, but math tells me 16-20ish. Hope that helps! Cheers.

      xo Michael

  • Don Carroll at

    Tired this and it was great with a spectacular color

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      So glad you liked it! It’s one of my favorites.

      xo Michael

  • vermontmommy at

    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.

  • Julie at

    I love a cocktail that makes winter feel a little warmer and family a little less crazy. It’s so beautiful!

  • Allie at

    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.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Um, I don’t know if bourbon and sparkles go together. I like the drink as is. 🙂

      xo Michael

  • Lisa at

    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!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Lisa, Yes, I used 100% cranberry juice, unsweetened. (Not cranberry juice cocktail.) Happy Thanksgiving to you too!!

      xo Michael

  • Jennifer at

    Love the idea of bourbon with cranberry! This is exactly what I had in mind Christmas Eve and the days leading up to it.

  • Lia at

    Looks awesome! Could you please tell me where you got those fabulous glasses? I love them! They’re very Ina:)

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      You have a good eye. 😉 They actually are Ina’s glasses from what I’m told. You can find them here:

      xo Michael

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