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Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail

Prep Time: 20 minutes
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Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail

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I come bearing holiday cheer in the form of this spiced cranberry old-fashioned cocktail. Because, let’s be honest: when the family gathers, sometimes alcohol is very necessary. I have always been a bourbon fan and so naturally an old fashioned is one of my favorite cocktails.

This is a simple, classic recipe, but with a fun holiday twist. I was shocked and how good this syrup is. I’ve also used it in a Moscow mule (fantastic, just substitute it in in place of simple syrup) and also added it to the bottom of a flute of sparkling wine. Add it to sparkling water or la Croix with some lime juice for a fun mocktail! The opportunities to customize this cocktail are endless.

What is an Old Fashioned?

The old fashioned is a cocktail made by muddling sugar with bitters and water, adding whiskey and garnishing with orange slice or zest and a cocktail cherry. It is traditionally served in an old fashioned glass, which predated the cocktail. There have been a lot of versions over the years, but whiskey, sugar, and bitters are the main ingredients.

How to make a cranberry old fashioned

This cocktail is so easy to make and you’ll want to keep this syrup on hand always!

Tools Needed

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Bourbon. Some people prefer rye whiskey, but I love bourbon. Choose whichever you prefer.
  • Cranberries. You can use fresh or frozen for making the cranberry syrup.
  • Spices. The spiced syrup is SO good. It calls for cinnamon sticks, ginger, vanilla bean, cloves, and allspice. All the delicious flavors of the season!
  • Bitters. I use “old fashioned” bitters but you can really use anything you have. Orange bitters, cherry bitters, Angostura bitters, and black walnut bitters would all be great substitutes.
  • Orange. Old fashioned cocktails are usually garnished with orange peel and this one is no different!

Preparing a Cranberry Old Fashioned

  1. Make the syrup. Combine all the syrup ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce slightly, until the syrup has a thick consistency. Strain the syrup and store it in an airtight container.
  2. Mix the cocktail. I love this cocktail because it can all just be made in the glass you plan to serve it in. Stir together the bitters, whiskey, and syrup and add a large ice cube to the glass. Garnish with an orange peel. So easy!

cranberry old fashioned cocktail

More Cocktail Recipes to Try

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cranberry old fashioned - the best holiday cocktail recipes

Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail

I love a good bourbon cocktail and this spiced cranberry old fashioned is my favorite cocktail to drink during the holidays or on a chilly evening.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail


Spiced Cranberry Old Fashioned:

  • 2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 3/4 oz spiced cranberry syrup recipe below
  • 2 dashes old fashioned bitters
  • ice
  • orange peel for garnish

Spiced Cranberry Syrup:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 navel orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean split open and scraped of seeds
  • 1/2 " piece of ginger sliced
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice berries


  • To make the syrup: take a vegetable peeler and peel only the outermost layer of the orange, save one piece of orange peel for garnish. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir to dissolve the sugar and continue to simmer on low until the syrup has reduced to 1 cup. Cool to room temperature and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  • To make the cocktail: in a double old fashioned glass, add the whiskey, bourbon and syrup. Add one large square or sphere ice cube and stir well with a cocktail serving spoon. Garnish with an orange peel.

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