22/05/2024

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Christmas Cranberry Cocktail • Kath Eats

Christmas Cranberry Cocktail • Kath Eats

This Christmas cranberry cocktail is a festive drink to make on a cozy holiday evening or serve at a holiday party. It’s made with bourbon, cranberries, lime and orange liquor and served over a big cube. 

Christmas Cranberry Cocktail

The holiday season brings with it a cascade of festive flavors, and one timeless ingredient that stands out is the cranberry. I tend to buy a few extra bags in November and freeze them to use all winter long. I’m a huge cranberry sauce lover! 

Cranberry cocktails are a classic choice for the fall and winter months, and they effortlessly transition into the holiday season. The bright and tangy profile of cranberries pairs perfectly with the warmth of bourbon. 

While cranberries get a lot of attention around Thanksgiving, the ruby red hue is perfect to take center stage in Christmas cocktails, adding a burst of tartness and a splash of vibrant color. I’m excited to share the Christmas Cranberry Cocktail recipe that I’ve been sipping since Thanksgiving! 

A Cranberry Twist On Classic Bourbon

While my liquor of choice in the summer is tequila, in the cooler months I love a good bourbon cocktail. 

I grew up with grandparents who loved bourbon. The scent alone has wonderful memories for me. Bourbon’s versatility extends beyond the classic Old Fashioned or Manhattan (my favorites), and I love all the new cocktails that appear in the cooler months. Whether it’s a spiced bourbon punch for a crowd or a Bourbon Sour with a cranberry twist, it’s fun to make a house cocktail to serve on the holidays. (Don’t forget eggnog with bourbon too!) 

Aged in charred oak barrels, bourbon acquires a smoothness and complexity that pairs exceptionally well with a variety of ingredients, making it a versatile choice for crafting cocktails. The caramel, vanilla, and sometimes spicy undertones of bourbon can transform a simple drink into a celebration of flavors.

While you may like our bourbon neat or on the rocks, I prefer my drinks to have a bit of sweetness to balance the rich, oaky spice of bourbon. Bulleit is one of my favorites 🙂 

If you don’t like bourbon, you can try this recipe as a cranberry vodka cocktail too! I prefer it with lime to orange, but if you love orange you can sub in a splash of orange juice instead. 

Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup

What makes this holiday drink unique is the homemade cranberry simple syrup, which is like a strained version of cranberry sauce. If you have fresh for frozen cranberries around, you can make this from scratch in just a few minutes. Trust me – the flavor and richness of fresh cranberry is worth it!

BUT, if you don’t have fresh cranberries you can make a quick version with cranberry juice! Just be sure to find 100% cranberry juice and not a kids fruit punch version. You’ll mix the cranberry juice with either a pure simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water heated until the sugar dissolves) or you can even use a pre-made simple in a bottle like this one

One Big Cube

I like my bourbon cocktails served over a big cube. I found this silicone tray on Amazon and it works well. The big cube isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a technique that enhances the overall drinking experience. The slow melting of a large ice cube minimizes dilution, allowing you to savor the full flavor profile of the cocktail from the first sip to the last. I also like it because I have sensitive teeth.

Cranberry Christmas Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz cranberry simple syrup (or 1/2 ounce cranberry juice and 1/2 ounce plain simple syrup)
  • 1/2 oz orange liqueur (such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • A handful of fresh cranberries (for garnish)
  • Sprig of rosemary (for garnish)
  • Ice cubes for shaking
  • A large cube for serving

For cranberry simple syrup:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh cranberries

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare Simple Syrup

Start by making cranberry simple syrup. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup cranberries. Heat over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries have begun to pop open, releasing their juices. Allow to cool slightly before straining. Alternatively you can use cranberry juice and a pre-made simple syrup like this one

Step 2: Strain Cranberries

Pour the cooked cranberries into a colander over a small bowl and press to release all the juice. 

Step 3: Combine Ingredients

Add bourbon, cranberry simple syrup (or add the cranberry juice and simple mixed), orange liqueur, fresh lime juice, and ice to the shaker.

Step 4: Shake Well

Shake the mixture vigorously for about 15-20 seconds. 

Step 5: Strain into Glass

Add large cube to a cocktail glass and strain the mixture into the glass. 

Step 6: Garnish

Give your Christmas Cranberry Cocktail a festive touch by garnishing it with a twist of orange peel, a sprig of fresh rosemary for an evergreen look or a few more fresh floating cranberries. 

More Festive Ideas

As you plan your holiday festivities, consider complementing your holiday cocktail with other delightful creations. Check out this cranberry smoothie recipe for a refreshing non-alcoholic option or explore the art of crafting a stunning Christmas charcuterie board to impress your guests.

Cheers to a holiday season filled with good company, laughter, and delightful sips of this enchanting cranberry-infused libation!

Christmas Cranberry Cocktail

This Christmas cranberry cocktail is a festive drink to make on a cozy holiday evening or serve at a holiday party. It’s made with bourbon, cranberries, and orange liquor and served over a big cube. 

Keyword bourbon, cranberries
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz cranberry simple syrup or 1/2 ounce cranberry juice and 1/2 ounce plain simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • A handful of fresh cranberries for garnish
  • Sprig of rosemary for garnish
  • Ice cubes for shaking
  • A large cube for serving

For cranberry simple syrup:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh cranberries

Instructions

  • Start by making cranberry simple syrup. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup cranberries. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries have begun to pop open. Allow it to cool slightly before straining. Alternatively you can use a pre-made simple syrup.

  • Pour the cooked cranberries into a colander over a small bowl and press to release all the juice.

  • Add bourbon, cranberry simple syrup, orange liqueur, fresh lime juice, and ice to the shaker.

  • Shake the mixture vigorously for about 15-20 seconds.

  • Add large cube to a cocktail glass and strain the mixture into the glass.

  • Garnish with a twist of orange peel, a sprig of fresh rosemary for an evergreen look or a few more fresh floating cranberries.