Boozy Bourbon + Cranberry Cocktail

Simplify holiday hosting with this not-too-sweet cranberry cocktail you can make days before the party. Serve this big-batch cocktail in a punch bowl, pitcher or large beverage dispenser so guests can help themselves and you can actually enjoy the party!

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3-4 cups good-quality bourbon (or your favorite whiskey)
  • 2 liter bottle of club soda
  • 6 cups 100% cranberry juice
  • blood oranges and cocktail skewers, for garnish
  • Yield: 14-16 cups

Prep Cranberries

Wash fruit, then place in a large microwave-proof bowl. Add sugar, then microwave 5 minutes at 20% power, stirring halfway through, to soften the cranberries.

Make Berries Boozy (1-3 Days Before Party)

Pour 3-4 cups of bourbon over the softened cranberries. The addition of sugar and bourbon to the berries begins a process called 'maceration' which will cause the fruit to release its juice to create a flavorful, cranberry-infused syrup. Allow to cool, cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight (or longer) to allow the softened cranberries to soak up the alcohol and create a sweet-meets-tart infused syrup in the process.

Mix Big-Batch Cocktail

Empty the macerated contents into a punch bowl or other container that's large enough to serve a crowd. If desired, use a muddler or the flat side of a wooden spoon to smash the cranberries to release more juice (and booze!). Finally, add 6 cups of 100% cranberry juice and enough club soda to top off your container. Stir to blend the flavors. Note: 3-4 cups of bourbon to this much mixer is roughly equivalent to a standard shot glass per drink. Feel free to add more or less alcohol to suit your taste.

Add Garnish

Add a festive (and delicious!) finishing touch with blood oranges sliced thin, then slid onto cocktail skewers. For added color, also top the punch bowl with a few blood orange slices.

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

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