Putting a festive spin on a classic cocktail with this Cranberry Bourbon Sour. Homemade cranberry-orange syrup, warming bourbon, fresh citrus, and sweet candied rosemary. This drink is so easy to create, simply mix everything together for a merry cocktail that’s perfectly sweetened, and so delicious! This can be made ahead of time for easy holiday entertaining. Tip? Make a large batch to serve to family and friends!

side angled photo of Cranberry Bourbon Sour

It’s finally that time of year when I can share the more “festive” holiday drinks, and I couldn’t be happier. Time might be very tight this season…since I have a bit more travel on the calendar than usual. But as crazy as it is, I’m still so excited to be cooking up new recipes and sharing these drinks.

It’s what I LOVE most.

Anyway, keeping this post short and sweet as I prefer to do with these cocktail posts. So I’m jumping right into this warming and oh so festive cranberry bourbon sour.

Today it’s all about taking a classic and making it just a touch sweeter, prettier, and well, extra delicious too! Up until just a few weeks ago I really wasn’t that familiar with a bourbon sour. It was my brother who suggested I make one. And while he said I should do it with the egg white variation, I opted to just keep things simple…ish. Plus, incorporating an egg white into my cocktails still weirds me out a bit. Maybe someday I’ll get into it, but for now, keeping it simple and easy!

candied rosemary

Here is how you make this cranberry bourbon sour.

The key to this bourbon sour is the cranberry syrup. It’s what gives this drink color, flavor, and sweetness. Instead of your basic simple syrup with sugar and water (which I always find to be so bland), I did mine with fresh cranberries, maple syrup, and orange zest. If you prefer a different flavored simple syrup, try one of these four in this past holiday post entitled, holiday gifting: homemade simple syrups.

The cranberries and maple together add to the warmth of this drink. And the orange adds that classic citrus flavor that you know and love in any classic bourbon sour.

The cranberry syrup will make enough for six drinks, so you can also make a punch sour. Or just go for a single drink and save the syrup for later. I’m giving you directions for both ways!

pouring drink into glass

Once the syrup is made, the rest is EASY.

Just shake the syrup with your favorite bourbon (I typically use Woodford or Four Roses). Then add lemon juice, cranberry juice, and a dash or two of orange bitters. Pour over ice and garnish with a thin orange slice and candied rosemary.

SIMPLE. But GOOD.

As I mentioned, you can also make this into more of a punch for serving guests. If doing so, I would probably recommend doubling the recipe, depending on how many people you plan to serve…or if you just know your crowd will be going back for seconds.

overhead photo of Cranberry Bourbon Sour

Make the drink extra pretty…

Candied rosemary…my favorite cocktail garnish to add to drinks this time of year. It’s delicious and so pretty. I love the way it sparkles like snow!

And the best part? It’s so simple to make. Just grab some fresh rosemary sprigs, dampen them with water, and cover in granulated sugar. Let the rosemary dry for an hour at room temperature. Now you have pretty, glistening rosemary that’s the perfect final touch to this bourbon sour.

And you guys? That’s kind of it for this drink. It’s a classic, but with a seasonal twist that makes it even better than the original. Cranberries are the perfect way to sweeten up this warming winter cocktail, and I love the bright-red color they add! Perfect for both Thanksgiving and Christmas entertaining.

I know this will be on repeat at my house when family arrives for the holidays. They love a straight-up bourbon drink and this is a GOOD one.

side angle close up photo of Cranberry Bourbon Sour

If you make this cranberry bourbon sour, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Cranberry Bourbon Sour | halfbakedharvest.com #bourbon #thanksgiving #cocktails #holiday #christmas
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4.39 from 31 votes
The Recipe

Cranberry Bourbon Sour Punch

Putting a festive spin on a classic cocktail!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 201 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • zest 1 large orange
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) bourbon
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) lemon juice
  • 1 cup 100% cranberry juice
  • 3-4 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 blood orange or regular orange, sliced or regular orange, sliced

Instructions

  1. 1. To make the cranberry syrup: In a medium pot, bring 1/2 cup water, the maple syrup, and cranberries to a boil over high heat. Boil 5 minutes or until the cranberries begin to burst, then remove from the heat. Stir in the orange zest. Let cool. If desired, strain out the cranberries.

    2. In a punch bowl, combine the cranberry syrup, bourbon, lemon juice, cranberry juice, and orange bitters. Stir to combine, chill until ready to serve. Serve over ice. Garnish with an orange slice and candied rosemary (recipe below), if desired. 

Candied Rosemary

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently run rosemary sprigs under a little water to dampen and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the rosemary with granulated sugar on all sides, making sure the rosemary is thoroughly coated in sugar. Allow to dry on the baking sheet for 1 hour. The rosemary can be made 1 day in advance and stored at room temperature.

Cranberry Bourbon Sour | halfbakedharvest.com #bourbon #thanksgiving #cocktails #holiday #christmas
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4.56 from 25 votes
The Recipe

Cranberry Bourbon Sour

Putting a festive spin on a classic cocktail!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 201 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • zest 1 large orange
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup 100% cranberry juice
  • 1-2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 blood orange or regular orange slices

Instructions

  1. 1. To make the cranberry syrup: In a medium pot, bring 1/2 cup water, the maple syrup, and cranberries to a boil over high heat. Boil 5 minutes or until the cranberries begin to burst, then remove from the heat. Stir in the orange zest. Let cool.

    If desired, strain out the cranberries. This syrup makes enough for about 6 drinks.

    2. In a cocktail shaker, combine 2-3 tablespoons cranberry syrup, the bourbon, lemon juice, cranberry juice, and orange bitters. Add ice and shake. Strain into a glass. Garnish with an orange slice and candied rosemary (recipe below), if desired. 

Candied Rosemary

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently run rosemary sprigs under a little water to dampen and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the rosemary with granulated sugar on all sides, making sure the rosemary is thoroughly coated in sugar. Allow to dry on the baking sheet for 1 hour. The rosemary can be made 1 day in advance and stored at room temperature.

horizontal photo of Cranberry Bourbon Sour