Cranberry Creek {a cranberry bourbon cocktail}

Every year during the holiday season I try and use raw cranberries in a cocktail. And every year, I find that they just don’t work. They are too tart, they don’t muddle well and really, they just aren’t that good. So, every year I instead make some sort of cranberry syrup and use that in my drinks instead. And it always tastes so much better, as you’ll see with this cranberry bourbon cocktail.

cranberry bourbon cocktail

For the citrus in this cranberry bourbon cocktail, I went with yuzu juice, which is a little hard to find, but a quick trip to your local Asian store and a click on this Amazon link and you should be able to procure yourself a bottle of it. Or, if you’re really lucky you can find fresh yuzu at the store (this has only happened to me a few times). If you can’t find yuzu (or don’t feel like looking), fret not – lemon juice will also work.

cranberry bourbon cocktail

Since cranberries are a plenty this time of year, I think this drink will be the perfect companion to your Thanksgiving Day celebration. And if you happen to have any of the cranberry mixture left over, go ahead and treat yourself to a few more of these libations after the holiday. I’m sure it will go great with turkey sandwiches.

cranberry bourbon cocktail recipe

Cranberry Creek
The perfect companion to any Thanksgiving Day celebration.
Serves: 1
  • 1-1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce cranberries and syrup**
  • ½ ounce Amaro Montenegro
  • ¼ ounce yuzu juice (or fresh squeezed lemon juice)
  • Lemon twist for garnish
  1. Add all ingredients (except garnish) to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.
  2. Shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.
  4. **To make the cranberry syrup: Add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, add 2 cups of cranberries. Let cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the cranberries have burst. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a glass jar (do not strain) and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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Jessica Torres is the chief cocktail creator here at One Martini. Outside of the internet, she works at DEATH & TAXES (a bar) and midtown eats (a restaurant) in Reno, Nevada. When not working, Jessica can be found working out, spending time with her family or attempting to nap. Subscribe to our newsletter to get all of the latest cocktail creations delivered directly to your inbox.
Filed under: Cocktail Recipes, Other Cocktail Recipes
5 comments… add one
  • David Wysocki November 21, 2014, 7:21 am

    Hi again Jessica! – We had commed awhile back re my “Frizzante Nuevo” (Gin, Campari, Pompelmo, Basil). I have kept your previous Cranberry Orange Sparkler recipe and looking forward to trying it – even for the tea.

    I haven’t had Amaro Montenegro yet (but will soon as my Italian Brother-In-Law’s 50th is coming up and he thinks it’s special – thus a gift from us).

    Is Amaro Montenegro very sweet? I want to also try this Cranberry Creek, but with the sweetness of Bourbon, the syrup, and the liquor/bitter, I wonder if I might dry it out a bit with something like vermouth, dry vermouth, or Dubonnet? (At the same time, a 1/2 oz may not make that much difference, eh.

    Thanks for your constant work and website. Always enjoy being on the email list and checking out your creativity. (See next comment re the “cranberry syrup”)

    • Jessica Torres November 21, 2014, 9:14 am

      I’m thinking a vermouth such as Dolin Blanc might work in place of the amaro. It will change the flavor of the drink, but would add in some herbal notes. If you try it, let me know how it works out.

      Thanks for the cranberry recipes! Both sound good. I’ve never thought about adding orange to my cranberry sauce, but it makes perfect sense. I’ve been thinking of making a cranberry/apple shrub so the second one sounds right up my alley. And it sounds like it might be good with rye whiskey.

      Thanks again and cheers!

      • David Wysocki November 22, 2014, 11:26 am

        NP Jessica. Thanks for the vermouth suggestion. Will advise.

        Glad to hear you can put some of my cranberry ideas to use. Yes, to Rye Whiskey for use of a version of the apple/cinnamon cranberries. If you use Canadian maple syrup (or some) you could use a Canadian Rye/Whiskey and make it a full Canadian themed experience! [smile]. (Canada is reportedly the world’s 2nd largest producer of cranberries as well.) (No pressure – just an idea)

        Enjoy & cheers – David

  • David Wysocki November 21, 2014, 7:40 am

    2nd Comment: I noticed your cranberry “syrup” for this drink is the basic cranberry sauce, usually on the back of a cranberry package. Great idea!!

    I make a variation on the cranberries that I wonder might offer some options for mixology:
    – 1 pkg fresh cranberries
    – 1 Cup Sugar
    – 1Cup OJ
    – Couple Spoons of frozen OJ
    – Place all together in a small sauce pan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, simmering for the 3-4 min (I don’t find I need to melt the sugar 1st, as long as I don’t fire it up too quickly)
    – Add orange, and lemon zest while still very warm and stir

    My step daughter doesn’t do well with citrus, so I have devised a 2nd one which may be of interest to using in drinks:
    – 1 pkg fresh cranberries
    – 1 Cup Brown Sugar (or even an equivalent ~3/4 cup of maple syrup)
    – 1 Cup Apple Cider
    – 1 cinnamon stick
    – Cook as above
    – Garnish with a cinnamon stick or two, and anything else that looks cute/pretty on top.

  • Jakub January 5, 2018, 1:20 pm

    Which kind of Bourbon can I use? Can you recommend some? Thank You


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