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This cranberry bourbon cocktail is sweet tart and complex, offset by orange and sweet vermouth. It’s a signature drink that everyone loves!

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail
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Looking for a signature drink featuring cranberry and orange? Try this Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail! It’s balanced, sweet tart, and complex, fruity with intriguing notes from sweet vermouth. Because it stars cranberry and bourbon it’s ideal for fall or winter entertaining, like Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas. But it works for any season and occasion! Add it to your list as a must-try winter or fall bourbon cocktail.

What’s in this cranberry bourbon cocktail?

This Cranberry Bourbon cocktail is beautifully balanced, with just the right amount of nuance from sweet vermouth. When we started developing this cocktail, we tried it as a cranberry Manhattan. It was slightly too boozy, so we kept the vermouth and added orange juice. It comes out sweet tart, with just the right amount of bourbon finish. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Orange juice
  • 100% unsweetened cranberry juice
  • Simple syrup
Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Use 100% unsweetened cranberry juice

When making cranberry cocktails, we prefer using unsweetened cranberry juice. Try to find a bottle marked 100% juice, instead of cranberry juice cocktail, which is sweetened. Why?

  • Unsweetened juice lets you customize the sweetness to taste. The flavor of the cocktail tastes much more real when you use 100% juice and add back a bit of simple syrup. The flavor is much more tart than cranberry juice cocktail, which is sweetened.
  • Unsweetened juice has a brighter color. It makes the drink look vibrant and bright red.

If all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice, cranberry juice blend, or cranberry juice cocktail, omit the simple syrup or add it to taste.

How to make a cranberry bourbon cocktail

This cranberry bourbon cocktail is a simple shake and strain cocktail: simply place the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake, and strain into a glass! Here’s what to do:

  • Place the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add the cranberry, orange juice, bourbon, vermouth, simple syrup to a cocktail shaker, add 1 handful ice, and shake until cold.
  • Strain into a glass. Any type of lowball glass works!
  • Garnish and serve. It’s nice to garnish with fresh or frozen cranberries. For the best presentation, use clear ice: it’s crystal clear ice that you can cut into large, organic shapes. Go to How to Make Clear Ice.
Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Make it pitcher style for 8 servings

Serving a crowd? You can make a pitcher of this cranberry bourbon cocktail! Simply add the following ingredients to a pitcher:

  • 1 ½ cups bourbon
  • 1 cup sweet vermouth
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • ½ cup simple syrup
  • 2 handfuls ice

Stir until cold! Then pour into lowball glasses. This would be a great presentation for Thanksgiving dinner or a Christmas party.

More bourbon cocktails

This cranberry bourbon cocktail is an ideal for cooler weather! Here are a few more fall bourbon cocktails and winter bourbon drinks:

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Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail


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5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x

Description

This cranberry bourbon cocktail is sweet tart and complex, offset by orange and sweet vermouth. It’s a signature drink that everyone loves!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ½ ounces* bourbon whiskey
  • 1 ounce sweet red vermouth
  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • 1 ounce 100% unsweetened cranberry juice**
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)
  • For the garnish: fresh or frozen cranberries, rosemary sprigs

Instructions

  1. Place the bourbon, sweet vermouth, orange juice, unsweetened cranberry juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into an ice-filled lowball glass. If desired, garnish with fresh or frozen cranberries and rosemary sprigs.
  3. Pitcher variation (8 servings): Add 1 ½ cups bourbon, 1 cup sweet vermouth, 2 cups orange juice, 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice, and ½ cup simple syrup to a pitcher. Add 2 handfuls ice and stir until cold. 

Notes

*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

**If all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice, cranberry juice blend, or cranberry juice cocktail, omit the simple syrup or add it to taste.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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12 Comments

  1. Karen says:

    I’m in a pinch. No orange juice. Could I use a bit of Cointreau? How much would you suggest?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I’m sure I’m too late, but a 1/2 ounce cointreau would be nice.

  2. J says:

    Do you use fresh orange juice for this? Or just out of a carton?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We used fresh, but carton would be fine if you’re making a lot.

  3. Aleshia E says:

    Hi, so many great recipes, do you guys have a cocktail book that I can purchase? If so, please provide info. Thanks!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Maybe some day, but not yet!

  4. Sabrina says:

    another great cocktail, a perfect holiday drink, nice colors too






  5. hannah says:

    my hubby loved this. was on our sandwich moon (hehe!) and whip nae naed this one up, he was deligheted. will DEFINETELY be making again. cheers sonjja.






  6. Malissa says:

    So great! I tried this and the other recipes for morning weekend some recent weeks. Love it much. Thank you for sharing and keep doing that!






  7. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!






    1. Justyss I says:

      I️ really want to try this! But what exact type of bourbon and sweet Vermont do you use??? I️ want to make this right!

      1. Alex Overhiser says:

        Four Roses or Elijah Craig small batch are our favorite bourbons for mixing. For the vermouth I think we probably just used Martini & Rossi. Enjoy!