Do you love old fashioned cocktails as much as we do? I hope so, because right here I have your new favorite fall and holiday drink! My cranberry old fashioned is perfectly sippable and will warm you all the way to your toes.
EEEEE!! As I’m writing this Thanksgiving is less than a week away! How did that happen?
I’m shortly going to be on my way to my parents’ house to cook and clean and get everything ready for the big, family feast. But, before I go, I have time to share a cocktail I’ve been refining and perfecting. Because you need this cocktail in your life.
Seriously. Would I steer you wrong?
And you have my husband to thank for your new good fortune! Though most of the inspiration on the site comes from what I personally want to eat and drink, this cranberry old fashioned is all about him.
He has been on quest to try every version of an old fashioned at every restaurant which makes craft cocktails. He’s not looking for the same old thing but rather reinventions on the classic. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it. 🙂
The first couple we made didn’t have much of recipe. It was ‘a little of this and dash of that.’ But I was keeping track and noting down what we were doing so I could recreate it. And then double checking to nail down the ratios and timing.
And here it is! Bourbon soaked cranberries, cinnamon sticks to infuse and spice up the bourbon, strips of orange zest, just enough sweetener, and a few drops of bitters.
Simple, balanced, and elegant.
How do you make a cranberry old fashioned?
To make a cranberry old fashioned first mix together dried cranberries and bourbon and let them soak. Then combine the soaked cranberries, bourbon, bitters, and orange zest together in a glass with ice. Stir and enjoy.
- Mix together cranberries, bourbon, and a cinnamon stick.
- Let the bourbon infuse and the cranberries rehydrate for at least one day.
- Combine some of the infused bourbon with standard bourbon along with orange zest, bitters, cranberries, and syrup.
- Add ice, stir, and enjoy.
Make the bourbon soaked cranberries
The twist in this cocktail is that you are using dried cranberries instead of the usual cherries (dried or otherwise) and that you are infusing them with bourbon. This also infuses the bourbon with cranberry and cinnamon. It’s a win/win.
It’s a simple process to make the cranberries, but you do need to think ahead since you want to let rest for at least a day. Just mix together the cranberries, bourbon, and a cinnamon stick in a glass container. Put it on the counter and walk away.
Once it’s done, remove the cinnamon or the mixture will get overly spiced. Then put the cranberries in the fridge and pull them out to make cocktails whenever you are in the mood. It’s that easy!
Do I really need to soak the cranberries a whole day?
In fact, you may want to soak them even longer with the cinnamon stick if you taste the bourbon and decide you want more cinnamon flavor.
I tested the cranberries after 1 hour, 4 hours, 8 hours, and 12 hours. It was not until the infusion had steeped for a full 24 hours that I was happy with the flavor of the cranberries and bourbon and the texture of the cranberries. You don’t want chewy cranberries in the drink. They should be soft and full hydrated. Also, it takes time for the cinnamon to fully flavor the bourbon.
On the bright side the mixture works best if you make a larger amount which means you’ll have a nice jar of bourbon soaked cranberries on hand for several future cocktails.
Could I just use cranberry juice instead?
Well sure you can mix cranberry juice with bourbon, and it will tasty, but it won’t be an old fashioned. Add some ginger beer and you’ll have a yummy cranberry bourbon fizz!
While an old fashioned can be made with a variety of whiskies, most commonly bourbon or rye, and you can change up the exact sweetener and bitters and fruit, it’s really all about the whiskey. Which means no mixers.
What Bourbon should I use in an old fashioned?
Use a bourbon in your price range which you can enjoy on its own, but won’t make you sad to put in a cocktail. (And if you’re not the bourbon drinker in the house, make sure you check with them before you take that special bourbon they’ve been saving out of the liquor cabinet!) That said, there are plenty of bourbons on the shelf which are quite reasonably priced, so try different ones in different cocktails and pick your favorites.
Huffpost did a taste test of bourbons in old fashioned cocktails which may help you decide what to try first.
More Great Bourbon Cocktails
Here are a few of my other favorite bourbon cocktails!
- Homemade Hot Spiced Bourbon Eggnog
- Awesome Maple Old Fashioned Cocktail with Apple Bourbon
- Pear Bourbon Smash Cocktail
- Blood Orange Bourbon Smash
- Hot Apple Pie Bourbon Cocktail
If you try my recipe for a Cranberry Old Fashioned, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
You can connect with me by subscribing to my emails (see the form in the sidebar or below the recipe card), liking my FACEBOOK page, or by following me on PINTEREST.
– Happy Drinking, Annemarie
Bourbon Cranberry Old Fashioned
Bourbon Soaked Cranberries
- 2 oz dried cranberries
- 4 oz bourbon
- 1 cinnamon stick,
Cranberry Old Fashioned
- 1 1/2 oz bourbon
- 1/2 oz infused bourbon, from the dried cranberries
- 1 spoonful soaked cranberries
- 1-2 strips orange zest
- 2-3 drops orange bitters
- 1 tbsp simple syrup, or to taste
- orange wedges, for garnish
Bourbon Soaked Cranberries
- Add the cranberries, bourbon, and cinnamon stick to a sealable glass container. Give it a stir and let the mixture sit on the counter for 1 day.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and put the bourbon cranberries in the refrigerator.
- Keep up to 1 month, refrigerated.
Cranberry Old Fashioned
- Fill a glass with ice.
- Add the bourbon, infused bourbon, some of the bourbon cranberries, orange zest, orange bitters. Stir the cocktail and taste.
- If needed, add sugar syrup a little at a time until the cocktail is sweetened to your liking.
- Garnish with orange wedges.
- Bourbon Soaked Cranberries: This recipe makes 6-8 cocktails and is easily doubled.
- Timing: Please note that you will need a day to steep the cranberries! Once you've made a batch they will last at least a month in the refrigerator.
- Container: Use a glass container for the bourbon cranberries. This will keep the flavors clean and you don't have to worry about the plastic leaching into the bourbon.