Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

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This Cranberry Old Fashioned is a great way to change up your favorite classic cocktail and get it ready for the holiday season with a sweet cranberry simple syrup.

» You might also try this Blueberry Old Fashioned Cocktail and Blood Orange Old Fashioned.

Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail

An Old Fashioned is made with Bourbon, bitters, simple syrup, and an orange twist. It’s a classic cocktail for a reason and we think the cranberry simple syrup we add to this cocktail makes it super festive.

We’ve added cranberries to this classic cocktail to show how versatile it can be with a flavored simple syrup. There is great cranberry flavor in the drink, but it’s not overpowering to the Bourbon, which remains the star of the show.

The great thing about adding cranberry simple syrup is the beautiful color it adds to this cocktail. It’s really stunning and makes an impressive addition to your holiday drinks presentation.

How to Make a Cranberry Old Fashioned

An Old Fashioned always starts with a great bourbon. We like to use Bulleit Bourbon. It’s just the right balance of flavor and price for cocktails.

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Glass and ingredients

The next step is to make a cranberry simple syrup. What I love about this simple syrup is that it can be added to so many different cocktails, as we do with this Old Fashioned. Try it in a Dark & Stormy, a Bourbon Smash, or a Moscow Mule.

We’ve got the full instructions for how to make cranberry simple syrup in this post, but the short version is to boil cranberries with water and sugar until they burst and impart lots of wonderful color to the liquid.

making cranberry simple syrup

Then strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove all the skins and pulp from the liquid.

Make sure the simple syrup has enough time to cool before using it in your drink. If it’s still warm, it will cause the ice to melt into your drink faster than you want.

The cranberry simple syrup will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, so you can use it for this and all those other drinks we mentioned, without having to make another batch.

Cranberry simple syrup

How to Make a Cranberry Old Fashioned

Use a low ball or whiskey glass for this drink. It’s not a lot of liquid, so you don’t need a tall glass. Coating the rim with sugar is optional but it adds to the look of the cocktail.

Add one big ice cube, if you have it, or a handful of small cubes. You don’t want to water down the drink, but it’s best when slightly chilled. Another way to go is to freeze about 10 fresh cranberries and use those for the ice in the drink.

Making cocktail, pouring in bourbon

Add the cranberry simple syrup, the Bourbon and some ice to the glass. Stir to incorporate the ingredients. Add 2 drops of Angostura bitters and a few cranberries for garnish.

Making cocktail, pouring in cranberry syrup

I sometimes add a sprig of rosemary to the glass as well, for the aroma. You can add an orange peel for a citrus aroma, or just keep it simple.

Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail

More Cocktails to Try

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Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail
Yield: 1 Cocktail

Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

This Cranberry Old Fashioned is a great way to change up your favorite classic cocktail and get it ready for the holiday season with a sweet cranberry simple syrup.


  • 3 ounces Bourbon (or whiskey)
  • 1 ounce cranberry simple syrup
  • 2 shakes Angostura bitters
  • Sugar for the rim of the glass (optional)
  • Fresh cranberries for garnish


  1. Coat the rim of the glass in sugar and set glass aside.
  2. Fill the glass with ice.
  3. Add bourbon and cranberry simple syrup to the glass and stir.
  4. Add bitters and garnish.

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Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail

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