Fall whiskey cocktails don’t get much more seasonal than this easy Cranberry Whiskey Sour recipe - a tasty, make-ahead batch cocktail that is perfect for Thanksgiving or any holiday party!
Love whiskey sours? Our easy Cranberry Whiskey Sour recipe puts a seasonal spin on a classic cocktail. Fresh orange juice and fresh cranberries give this drink a decidedly fall flavor that is perfect for the holidays.
These Cranberry Whiskey Sours were inspired by another of our most popular batch cocktail recipes, Meyer Lemon Whiskey Sours. It’s not quite meyer lemon season yet (wait for January), but it’s definitely cranberry time, so stock up on a few bags while you’re at the store.
You are only four ingredients away from this fall whiskey cocktail:
- Cranberry simple syrup (instructions below)
- Fresh orange juice
- Fresh lemon juice
Because cranberries are naturally tart themselves, the typical lemon and lime juice “sour” of a traditional whiskey sour has been replaced with an ample amount of freshly squeezed orange juice as well as a bit of lemon juice.
The smoother flavor of the orange juice is the perfect complement to the tart cranberries. A healthy pour of fall’s favorite tipple, whiskey, is the finishing touch to these rosy-hued Cranberry Whiskey Sours.
The first step in making these drinks is to make a cranberry-infused simple syrup. Never made simple syrup before? It's incredibly easy and way cheaper than the bottles you can buy at the store. Check out our tutorial for How to make simple syrup for detailed instructions.
Tip: Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used to make the syrup.
- Add cranberry simple syrup, juices and whiskey to a large pitcher. Stir.
- Pour drinks into ice-filled low ball glasses.
- Garnish with fresh cranberries and orange slices.
The short answer is whatever you like!
Since this cocktail is a blend of fruit juices, simple syrup and whiskey, definitely don’t break the bank on your whiskey purchase. Save that bottle of 20- or 30-year whiskey for sipping on the rocks.
That said, don’t buy the cheapest whiskey out there, either, as the flavor of your cocktails will suffer as a result. Go for a mid-priced brand that you’ll use in other cocktails.
I’ve found that infused syrups don’t stay fresh as long as regular simple syrup. The taste slowly starts to deteriorate after about 2 weeks so try to use your stash before then.
Make ahead tips
Keep your bartending duties to a minimum with these tips:
- Garnishes: Thread fresh cranberries and/or orange wedges onto cocktail picks a few hours before guests arrive.
- Pre-mix: Assemble the drinks in a pitcher earlier in the day and keep it chilled in the fridge. Avoid adding ice to the pitcher or your drinks will become diluted.
Cranberry Whiskey Sour recipe
Cranberry simple syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
- 3 ⅓ cups whiskey
- 2 ½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 ¼ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
To make the cranberry simple syrup:
- Place sugar, water, and cranberries in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until mixture starts to boil and sugar is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and steep for 15-20 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.
To make the cocktails:
- Place cranberry simple syrup, whiskey and juices in a pitcher. Stir to combine. Pour into ice-filled lowball glasses and garnish with cranberries and orange slices, if desired.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.
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You can find all of our delicious whiskey and bourbon drinks in our archives!
Add some seasonal flair to your fall whiskey cocktails with this easy recipe for make-ahead Cranberry Whiskey Sours. Serve them batch style for any event, from tailgating to Thanksgiving!