Cranberry Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Cranberry Old-Fashioned - An Old Fashioned Cocktail enhanced with a dash of orange bitters and cranberries #cocktail #old-fashioned |

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During the holidays we met some friends at a local Irish pub, Two Fools Tavern.  While the rest of the party ordered local brews, I ordered the seasonal Old-Fashioned which, because it was December, was a cranberry flavored old-fashioned. For me it was the perfect cocktail – slightly sweet, use of a good bourbon, and a little fruity.  I liked it so much that I made it a goal to recreate it for the new year. Here’s my version of a Cranberry Old-Fashioned Cocktail.

Since I’m not a big cocktail maker, I consulted my friend Kitchen Riffs’ Old-Fashioned Cocktail post. He describes several processes for making a traditional old-fashioned as well as provides suggestions for the all of the ingredients.  I decided to go with sugar instead of simple syrup and orange bitters in place of Angostura bitters.  For the cranberry flavor, I used a method that I’ve been using for years to re-hydrated dried cranberries – soaked them in bourbon. Once drained, the bourbon has an enjoyable cranberry flavor, but is a little cloudy which only affects the appearance of the cocktail, not its flavor.

So next time you’re warming up next to a fire or cooling down by the pool, treat yourself nice and sip on this Cranberry Old-Fashioned.  It’s a very enjoyable cocktail for any occasion.

 Cranberry Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Cranberry Old-Fashioned - An Old Fashioned Cocktail enhanced with a dash of orange bitters and cranberries #cocktail #old-fashioned #beverage @mjskitchen

Cranberry Old-Fashioned Cocktail Recipe
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins

A traditional old-fashioned with a hint of cranberry.

Recipe makes 1 cocktail, but you'll have enough cranberry infused bourbon for 3 cocktails.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Drinks
Yields: 1 cocktail
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
Cranberry Infused Bourbon
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (I use Cranraisins)
  • About 6 ounces of bourbon*
Ingredients for 1 cocktail
  • ½ teaspoon sugar*
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 generous jigger (~2 ounces) cranberry infused bourbon
  • Twist of orange rind
  • 1 - 2 large ice cubes*
  1. In a glass measuring cup, add the dried cranberries. Pour enough bourbon over the cranberries to measure 1 cup (~6 ounces of bourbon). Let sit for at least 30 minutes. (A little longer won't hurt.)

  2. Drain through a fine sieve. Reserve the re-hydrated cranberries for another use.*
  3. To a short glass, add the sugar and the bitters. Stir to start dissolving the sugar in the bitters.
  4. Add the bourbon and swirl the glass to further dissolve the sugar.
  5. Add ice and orange twist. Swirl and enjoy!
Kitchen Notes

Bourbon – Select a bourbon you like and you’ll enjoy this cocktail.


Sugar – Sugar works great here, but it does take a while to fully dissolve.  Since this is a sipping cocktail, you’ll find yourself giving it a swirl as you sip it to dissolve a bit more of the sugar.  Adds a little fun to the experience. 🙂  If you like your cocktail a little sweeter, then just add a little more sugar. 


Bourbon Flavored Cranberries – These are such a great by-product of this cocktail!  There are so many things you can do with the cranberries.  Aside from just eating them, sprinkle them over a salad, knead them into bread, add them to cornmeal stuffing or roasted vegetables.  We like adding them to roasted Brussels sprouts along with toasted pecans.  Makes a delightful side dish!


The Ice – When I was served this drink at Two Fools Tavern (Albuquerque), it was served with one large piece of ice that took a long time to melt, keeping the drink from getting watered down.  I liked that since I’m a very slow sipper and one cocktail can last me the whole evening.  So for my ice cube, I used a small (~1 ½” diameter) freezer container.  Filled it with water and froze.  This method makes a relatively large single ice cube that doesn’t water down the drink.



Cranberry Old-Fashioned - An Old Fashioned Cocktail enhanced with a dash of orange bitters and cranberries #cocktail #old-fashioned |


This is here’s my toast to the new year!

If you enjoy this Cranberry Old-Fashioned cocktail, then you might also enjoy a couple more of my favorite cocktails.

Jamaican Cooler

Sweet Cucumber Cocktail




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46 Responses to “Cranberry Old-Fashioned Cocktail”

  1. Zsuzsa February 13, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    O yum, I think I will drizzle some of this on a nice pear compote. 🙂

    • mj February 14, 2016 at 10:55 am #

      That sounds good! Hope you’re having a Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. The Duo Dishes February 3, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

    Makes you want to continue the holiday season when you see something like this!

  3. Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina January 24, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    I’ve never had an old-fashioned, but this sounds so refreshing, especially with the fresh cranberries! Cheers to the new year, MJ!

    • mj January 24, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

      Thanks so much Roz! And a Happy New Year to you as well!

  4. Nancy January 18, 2016 at 11:40 pm #

    I’m not a huge fan of bourbon but I can honestly say that this really sounds like a drink that I’d enjoy. Since you made it with craisins it is something that can be prepared all year. 🙂

    • mj January 21, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks so much Nancy! If you like bourbon at all, this drink might just meet your fancy.

  5. Chgojohn January 18, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    I’ve infused vodka with cranberries but haven’t thought to do it with bourbon. Sounds great, though, MJ, and using it to make an Old Fashioned is a fantastic idea. Salute!

    • mj January 18, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

      Thanks so much John! I love getting introduced to new flavors and then trying them and home and this one just worked. 🙂

  6. wok with ray January 16, 2016 at 11:18 pm #

    Wow, MJ. That is a good looking drink. What a nice shot! That is a very simple drink and definitely one that I could make and try. I hope you are having a lovely weekend, MJ. 🙂

    • mj January 18, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

      Thanks Darlin!!! I did have a lovely weekend. Wishing you a fruitful and joyous week!

  7. Debra Eliotseats January 16, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    Can’t go wrong with direction from John at Kitchen Riffs!

    • mj January 16, 2016 at 9:28 pm #

      You got that right Debra!

  8. swathi January 15, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

    Mj this is delicious drink, I would love to try this one. As anything with cranberry is my weakness. Pinning and tweeting.

    • mj January 16, 2016 at 10:28 am #

      Thanks so much Swathi and thanks for all of the sharing!

  9. Hotly Spiced January 15, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

    I’ve never thought to infuse bourbon with cranberries! I love how festive this cocktail is and I think cranberries and oranges are a wonderful combination xx

    • mj January 16, 2016 at 10:28 am #

      Thanks Charlie! The nice thing about this drink is the by-product of the bourbon infused cranberries. They are like eating candy. 🙂

  10. Sissi January 15, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    You remind me it’s been ages since I made a cocktail… As a big wine lover I slowly stopped drinking all the other alcohols (at least at home!). I used to prepare cocktails not so many years ago… (even have some old recipes on my blog!). Your cranberry cocktail is one of the most original ones I’ve ever seen and since I love cranberries, I must make it. Thank you so much for inspiration!
    PS I’ve just defrosted a big bag of roasted green chile and had it in filo rolls with feta. It was so delicious and I kept thinking about you and the whole new culinary world you have made me discover throughout years! Roasted chile is a genius invention.

    • mj January 16, 2016 at 10:17 am #

      I use to be a big wine drinker as well, then my body change and it just didn’t agree with wine anymore. I don’t like beer so I’ve had to find a substitute for the times that I feel like a little cocktail. This one is definitely a keeper. 🙂
      I am so thrilled that I was able to introduce you to something new! You’ve introduced me to a lot of new cuisine and flavors! That’s what is so much fun about blogging. Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend and thanks so much for your nice comments.

  11. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles January 15, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    Heeheeh, I am not a big cocktail maker (nor drinker) either but this does sound like a delicious drinkypoo. Cranberry & orange, yum. Nice to have a few of these up our sleeve. So gorgeous too – the color.

    • mj January 16, 2016 at 10:12 am #

      Thanks Kelly! When I do drink, I want to enjoy it and this is a nice enjoyable drink. 🙂

  12. Anna @ shenANNAgans January 14, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

    I printed your recipe out and took it to the bar guys just now, we are in the process of creating weekly specials and this one is gorgeous.

    • mj January 16, 2016 at 10:11 am #

      How fun is that?! I hope they like it enough to make it one of your weekly special. Please let me know!

  13. Evelyne CulturEatz January 14, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

    I only recently discovered old-fashions in New Orleans a couple of years ago. I am a big fan of bourbon and this cocktail. I love how you infused the booze with cranberries, rather then dilute the mix with a juice. Looks just perfect!

    • mj January 16, 2016 at 10:10 am #

      Old-fashioned are my choice of drink and I have had one or two in New Orleans as well. 🙂 Thanks so much Evelyn!

  14. Ramona W January 14, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    I know my husband would love this drink. Stunning photography to! 🙂

    • mj January 16, 2016 at 10:08 am #

      Thanks so much Ramona!

  15. Liz January 13, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

    My parents loved their old fashioned! And I love the cranberry twist. I’ll have to treat my dad to one when I visit next—I really want to try those bourbon cranberries!!

    • mj January 13, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

      What a fum treat and what a nice daughter! 🙂 I hope they do like it and thanks Liz!

  16. Adina January 13, 2016 at 6:13 am #

    I’d love a glass of that tonight!

    • mj January 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

      Thanks Adina!

  17. Katerina January 13, 2016 at 5:28 am #

    Although I am not a bourbon lover, I would love to try this one because I love cranberries. Must be very aromatic! Pinned!

    • mj January 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

      Thanks so much Katerina and thanks for pinning!

  18. Bam's Kitchen January 13, 2016 at 1:55 am #

    Cheers to you MJ and wishing you a very happy and delicious 2016. I love John’s drink ideas and love how you converted some of those ideas into a delightful beverage.

    • mj January 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

      Thank you so much Bobbi! Happy 2016 to you as well! John is a real inspiration when it comes to the cocktail. I love his posts!

  19. John/Kitchen Riffs January 12, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    What a fun drink! (And thanks for the plug!). Love the idea of orange bitters — I need to try that. And need to infuse some bourbon with cranberries, too. 🙂

    • mj January 12, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

      Thanks so much John! Your comments mean a lot since you are the king of the cocktail! I’ve learned a lot from you and, let me say, that I never had bitters until I started studying your cocktails. 🙂

  20. Nads January 12, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

    This sounds so very very good! The perfect warm me upper for these cold winter nights. We’ve been on a bourbon kick lately so this falls right in line. My latest obsession is Knob Creek. Brynn and JT are hooked on Irish whiskeys – Bushmills, Jameson, and Redbreast (when they can afford it). And of course Jim will drink anything we hand him. I still have dried cranberry’s in the pantry so i’ll give it a try and let you know. Happy New Year to you both.

    • mj January 12, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

      Look at all those different bourbons! You guys are on a bourbon kick. 🙂 I’ve never heard of Redbreast. Ever since that night at Two Fools (which BTW, you would love), this has been my drink. It doesn’t bother me like wine and unlike beer, I enjoy the flavor. 🙂

      And Happy New Year to all of you as well!!! XOXOX

  21. Deb|EastofEdenCooking January 12, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    Festive and bright, a fabulous update to a classic! I really like the idea of a large piece of ice, perfect for sipping.

    • mj January 12, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

      Thanks so much Deb! The large piece of ice works great. I might have to get some more of those small containers just for that purpose. 🙂

  22. Vicki Bensinger January 12, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    I’m not much of a drinker but love cranberries. The color of this alone makes me want to try it. It’s so pretty!

    • mj January 12, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

      Thanks Vicki! For us low level drinkers it does makes a great sipping drink.

  23. Angie@Angie's Recipes January 12, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    This sounds and looks so wonderful that I want to have a sip too. Beautiful clicks, MJ.

    • mj January 12, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

      Thanks so much Angie!


  1. Quick & Easy Spiced Apple Breakfast - MJ's Kitchen - January 19, 2016

    […] that is so warm and satisfying.  And if you really want to spice things up, add some of those bourbon infused cranberries from that old-fashioned you made last […]

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