Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Drink

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

In the mood for a bold winter libation? This Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail recipe has got you covered! It’s bursting with taste and the ingredients are straightforward to assemble.

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe

Winter gets cozy with our easy Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail recipe! You'll love this perfect winter drink's mix of bourbon, cranberry juice, a squeeze of lime, and simple syrup.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

206 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz cranberry juice, preferably unsweetened
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon wheel or twist, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Cocktail Strainer
  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Measuring Jigger

Instructions

  • Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes.
  • Squeeze a lemon and pour ¾ oz fresh lemon juice into the shaker.
  • Add ¾ oz simple syrup.
  • Add 1 oz cranberry juice.
  • Finally, measure out and add 2 oz Bourbon into the shaker.
  • Fill the shaker with ice, close it and give it a good shake (10-15 seconds).
  • Strain the mixture into the glass over fresh ice.
  • Garnish with a lemon wheel or twist and serve immediately.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon, rye whiskey or brandy can be used as a substitute. Both will give a different flavor profile but still work well with the cranberry and lemon.
  • Cranberry Juice: Pomegranate juice is an excellent alternative if you're out of cranberry juice. It has a similar tartness and color.
  • Simple Syrup: If you're out of simple syrup, you can make your own by dissolving equal parts sugar and water over heat. Alternatively, honey or agave nectar can be used for a different sweetness profile.

Making a Pitcher of Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of cranberry juice, 6 oz of simple syrup, and 6 oz of lemon juice.
  • Mix: Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses, garnish with a fresh lemon twist or wheel, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute; several brands are available that mimic the flavor of bourbon without the alcohol.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use this non-alcoholic substitute instead of the regular bourbon, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Simple Syrup: Ensure your syrup is not made with sugar processed using bone char, which is not vegan-friendly.
  • Proceed As Usual: With this vegan-friendly sweetener, follow the original steps to enjoy a delicious vegan Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
206
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.01
g
0
%
Sodium
 
14
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
20
g
7
%
Fiber
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sugar
 
20
g
22
%
Potassium
 
58
mg
2
%
Protein
 
0.2
g
0
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.02
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.01
g
Vitamin A
 
14
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
11
mg
13
%
Calcium
 
6
mg
1
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%

 

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Drink

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Winter gets cozy with our easy Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail recipe! You'll love this perfect winter drink's mix of bourbon, cranberry juice, a squeeze of lime, and simple syrup.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 206

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz cranberry juice - preferably unsweetened
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon wheel or twist - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Cocktail Strainer
  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Measuring Jigger

Instructions

  • Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes.
  • Squeeze a lemon and pour ¾ oz fresh lemon juice into the shaker.
  • Add ¾ oz simple syrup.
  • Add 1 oz cranberry juice.
  • Finally, measure out and add 2 oz Bourbon into the shaker.
  • Fill the shaker with ice, close it and give it a good shake (10-15 seconds).
  • Strain the mixture into the glass over fresh ice.
  • Garnish with a lemon wheel or twist and serve immediately.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon, rye whiskey or brandy can be used as a substitute. Both will give a different flavor profile but still work well with the cranberry and lemon.
  • Cranberry Juice: Pomegranate juice is an excellent alternative if you're out of cranberry juice. It has a similar tartness and color.
  • Simple Syrup: If you're out of simple syrup, you can make your own by dissolving equal parts sugar and water over heat. Alternatively, honey or agave nectar can be used for a different sweetness profile.

Making a Pitcher of Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of cranberry juice, 6 oz of simple syrup, and 6 oz of lemon juice.
  • Mix: Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses, garnish with a fresh lemon twist or wheel, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute; several brands are available that mimic the flavor of bourbon without the alcohol.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use this non-alcoholic substitute instead of the regular bourbon, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Simple Syrup: Ensure your syrup is not made with sugar processed using bone char, which is not vegan-friendly.
  • Proceed As Usual: With this vegan-friendly sweetener, follow the original steps to enjoy a delicious vegan Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail.

What is a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail?

A Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail is a bourbon-based holiday cocktail made of cranberry juice, bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. This drink is easy to make as it only requires the ingredients to be mixed in a shaker with ice and then strained into a glass. It’s not directly derived from well-known cocktails, but its fruity flavor profile may remind some of other classic drinks like Whiskey Sour with an added festive twist. The unique aspect of this cocktail is that it perfectly balances the tartness of cranberries with the warmth of bourbon, which makes it an ideal choice for winter holidays and celebrations.

A side shot of a Cranberry Bourbon cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a orange tray placed on a brown placemat in front of a black background

What is a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail made of – The ingredients

Get these ingredients ready for your Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail:

  • Bourbon: This is the base spirit of the cocktail, providing a rich, smooth, and slightly sweet flavor.
  • Cranberry Juice: Adds a tart and fruity element to balance out the sweetness of the bourbon.
  • Lemon Juice: Gives the cocktail a citrusy kick, enhancing the flavor profile.
  • Simple Syrup: Sweetens the cocktail and helps to meld together the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Ice Cubes: Chill the cocktail to make it more enjoyable to sip on.

Bourbon, cranberry juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, sugar cubes and lemon laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail?

Follow along with our guide to easily make your own Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail:

1
<p>Start by chilling an old fashioned glass, you can do so by stirring some ice cubes into the glass.</p>

Start by chilling an old fashioned glass, you can do so by stirring some ice cubes into the glass.

2
<p>Squeeze into a shaker ¾ oz of lemon juice. The lemon juice will add a touch of acidity to balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients.</p>

Squeeze into a shaker ¾ oz of lemon juice. The lemon juice will add a touch of acidity to balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients.

3
<p>Follow with the same amount of simple syrup. This will add a touch of sweetness to the cocktail, rounding out the flavors.</p>

Follow with the same amount of simple syrup. This will add a touch of sweetness to the cocktail, rounding out the flavors.

4
<p>Add one ounce of cranberry juice to the shaker. The cranberry juice will give the cocktail a tart, fruity edge that complements the bourbon beautifully.</p>

Add one ounce of cranberry juice to the shaker. The cranberry juice will give the cocktail a tart, fruity edge that complements the bourbon beautifully.

5
<p>Pour two ounces of bourbon into the shaker. The bourbon will provide a robust, smoky base for the cocktail.</p>

Pour two ounces of bourbon into the shaker. The bourbon will provide a robust, smoky base for the cocktail.

6
<p>Fill your cocktail shaker with ice.</p>

Fill your cocktail shaker with ice.

7
<p>Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously for about 20 seconds. This will mix the ingredients thoroughly, ensuring the flavors are well blended.</p>

Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously for about 20 seconds. This will mix the ingredients thoroughly, ensuring the flavors are well blended.

8
<p>Replace the ice of your old fashioned glass with fresh one and strain the cocktail into it. This will remove ice shards or pulp from the lemon, resulting in a smoother cocktail.</p>

Replace the ice of your old fashioned glass with fresh one and strain the cocktail into it. This will remove ice shards or pulp from the lemon, resulting in a smoother cocktail.

9
<p>Garnish the cocktail with a lemon twist to add color and aroma.</p>

Garnish the cocktail with a lemon twist to add color and aroma.

Variations

Keen on checking out more options? Here’s a list of our favorite picks:

  • Cranberry Old Fashioned: A blend of bourbon, cranberry orange syrup, ginger liqueur, and orange bitters creates a festive and flavorful mix. Fresh cranberries and an orange peel twist add the perfect finishing touch.
  • The Blizzard: Combining bourbon, cranberry juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup, this refreshing mix is perfect for the winter season. I particularly enjoy how the tartness of the cranberry juice balances with the smoothness of the bourbon.
  • Cranberry Bourbon Sour: This pairs bourbon with cranberry juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup for a sweet-tart mix that’s both vibrant and refreshing.
  • Cranberry Bourbon Smash: A combination of bourbon, cranberry juice, and muddled cranberries offers a burst of berry flavor. The fresh cranberries add a delightful texture and vibrant color.
  • Cranberry Manhattan: Bourbon, cranberry juice, and sweet vermouth come together in this refined mix, garnished with fresh cranberries and a rosemary sprig for a sophisticated touch.
  • Cranberry Bourbon Punch: This is a great option for parties, blending bourbon, cranberry juice, and various other juices for a large, shareable mix.
  • Cranberry Maple Bourbon Smash: Incorporating maple syrup and cranberry juice, this brings a touch of sweetness and a rich, seasonal flavor. I love how the maple syrup adds a warm, comforting sweetness that pairs perfectly with the tart cranberry and smooth bourbon.

A Cranberry Bourbon cocktail, shot form above, in an old fashioned glass on a beige surface surrounded by Bourbon, cranberry juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, sugar cubes and lemon

History and Origin of the Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

The Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail is a recent star in the cocktail world, but its ingredients have a long history.

Let’s start with bourbon. This American whiskey got its name from Bourbon County in Kentucky in the 18th century. People loved it for its unique taste. It is aged in charred oak barrels and its The main ingredient is corn.

Now, let’s talk about cranberries. These tart berries were around way before bourbon. Native Americans used them for food and medicine. When European settlers came, the Native Americans introduced them to cranberries. Since then, these berries have become an essential part of American food.

So, how did bourbon and cranberries end up in a cocktail together? Well, bartenders started playing with different flavors in the late 20th century. They found out that the rich flavor of bourbon goes well with the tartness of cranberries.

 

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FAQ

How many calories does a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail contain?
A standard version contains approximately 150-200 calories. However, this can vary depending on the specific ingredients used and their quantities.
How strong is a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail?
The strength can vary based on the bourbon used and the ratio of ingredients. Typically, it has an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of around 20-30%, translating to 40-60 proof. This makes it a moderately strong cocktail.
What type of alcohol is used in a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail?
As the name suggests, the primary alcohol is bourbon. The choice of bourbon can significantly influence the flavor profile of the cocktail.
In what type of glass is a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail served?
Traditionally, It's served in an old-fashioned or rocks glass. These glasses are ideal for this cocktail as they allow ample room for ice and garnishes without compromising the drink's integrity.
What does a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail taste like?
The cocktail offers a delightful balance between sweet and tart flavors. The bourbon provides warmth and depth, while the cranberry juice adds a refreshing tartness. Adding simple syrup or honey can add sweetness to balance the tartness.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail?
The typical ratio is two parts bourbon to one part cranberry juice, with a splash of simple syrup and lemon juice to taste. However, this ratio can be adjusted according to personal preference.
How is a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail served with ice?
The cocktail is usually served over ice or "on the rocks." This helps to keep the drink chilled and slightly dilute the strong flavors, making it more enjoyable to sip.
Is there a specific time or occasion for enjoying a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail?
While there's no hard and fast rule about when to enjoy the drink, its warm and festive flavors make it particularly popular during the holiday season.
Can I use other types of whiskey for a Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail?
While bourbon is traditional, you can experiment with other types of whiskey. Just keep in mind that different whiskeys will alter the cocktail's flavor profile.

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