This Cranberry Orange Whiskey Cocktail is the perfect boozy complement to your holiday menu. It's easy to make and the perfect balance of tart, sweet and spice.
The holiday season is obviously one of the best times of year when it comes to food.
We've already been taking full advantage of our favorite fall produce. (See wild rice stuffed acorn squash, maple mustard brussels sprouts and butternut squash lasagna!)
The most fun part about all of these new recipes is pairing them with our favorite wintery drinks. This cranberry orange whiskey cocktail has all of the warming fall flavors to pair perfectly with just about any fall recipe!
Not an avid whiskey drinker? To be honest, same. That being said, I LOVE this cocktail and it's definitely convincing me to give whiskey another try.
Even if you don't think you like whiskey, give this recipe a try. And if you still really don't like it, you can always sub whiskey with vodka.
- Cranberry juice: we use unsweetened cranberry juice in this recipe. If you use sweetened, you may want to cut back on the simple syrup.
- Orange juice: freshly squeezed always tastes best, but store-bought is perfectly fine, too.
- Whiskey: the better quality, the better this cocktail will taste!
- Cointreau: or another orange liqueur like Triple Sec.
- Lemon juice: freshly squeezed is definitely best in this recipe.
- Simple syrup: you can use homemade or store-bought. Instructions for homemade simple syrup below.
- Thyme: a few springs of fresh thyme will do. If you don't have any, use one sprig of rosemary or leave out altogether.
- Ginger beer: you can use alcoholic or nonalcoholic ginger beer.
The major flavors in this wintery drink are cranberries and orange. They're two of our favorite seasonal flavors between November and January. Together, cranberry and orange is bright, tart and sweet all at the same time.
We added a bit of lemon juice for extra acid and balanced out the drink with a hit of simple syrup. Finally, fresh thyme leaves give a beautiful savory and herbal note to this homemade drink.
To make this simple winter cocktail, simply combine all of the ingredients except ginger beer in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
No shaker? No problem. You can use a lidded glass jar, or even a large glass and stir your cocktail instead of shaking it. (Note: shaking is the best way to evenly distribute flavors.)
Then, serve up your festive cocktail in small glasses. We like to top each glass with a floater of ginger beer. It cuts through any sweetness from the fruit juices and melds so well with whiskey.
How to make simple syrup
This cocktail calls for simple syrup, which you can either purchase ahead of time or make homemade.
Luckily, homemade simple syrup is ridiculously easy to make; we always keep a batch on hand.
Simply bring equal parts sugar and water to a simmer in a small saucepan, stir until sugar dissolves, remove from heat and let cool. For a small batch, we suggest ½ cup each of sugar and water. Store in refrigerator.
Make ahead instructions
This cocktail is perfect for making ahead in a pitcher for a holiday party/gathering.
Start by multiplying the ingredients by the desired amount of servings. Add everything except ginger beer to a large pitcher and store well. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then stir well before pouring into glasses. Top off each individual glass with ginger beer.
You can store the cocktail (without ginger beer) in the fridge for up to 5 days. However if using freshly squeezed juices, we suggest consuming within 2-3 days.
More Holiday Cocktail Recipes:
Don't stop now! Here are more warming winter drinks to put your bar cart to work this holiday season:
If you make this Cranberry Orange Whiskey Cocktail, we’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below! We also love to see your creations on Instagram – tag us at @crowded_kitchen so we can see what you’ve been cooking.Print
Cranberry Orange Whiskey Cocktail
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: One drink
- Diet: Vegan
One of our all-time favorite cocktail recipes, this whiskey cocktail is the perfect balance of tart and sweet.
- 1 oz unsweetened cranberry juice
- 3 oz orange juice (freshly squeezed is preferable)
- 2 oz whiskey
- ½ oz Cointreau
- ½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ oz simple syrup
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 oz ginger beer
- Add all ingredients except ginger beer to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and strain into chilled glass.
- Top off with ginger beer and garnish with orange peel and fresh thyme (optional)
Homemade simple syrup is easy to make - we always keep a batch on hand. Simply bring equal parts sugar and water to a simmer in a small saucepan, stir until sugar dissolves, remove from heat and let cool. For a small batch, we suggest ½ cup each of sugar and water. Store in refrigerator.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Cocktails
- Method: No cook
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 Cocktail
- Calories: 303
- Sugar: 30.6 g
- Sodium: 6.3 mg
- Fat: 0.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 33.2 g
- Fiber: 0.5 g
- Protein: 0.8 g
Keywords: cranberry orange whiskey cocktail
Had this at a party the other day. Don’t usually like whiskey but this was incredible!
This was excellent. Not too sweet. Ginger Beer accents all the ingredients. I may try a different whiskey and ginger beer just to see how it tastes. Makes a big drink-will only serve 1/2 as one drink.
Hi Maggie, we're so glad you enjoyed! It's a fantastic drink for Thanksgiving.
I just did a test of this drink as my plan is to bring it to a family Thanksgiving. It turned out better than I expected! Not too sweet, lots of flavor with the ginger beer accenting all the ingredients. I used Agave in place of the simple syrup. For whiskey I used Bulleit Bourbon and Fever Tree Ginger beer. I may try another test with a different whiskey/bourbon and different Ginger Beer just to see how it turns out. But this one was great and I think everyone will love it. It does make a BIG drink so I will be serving 1/2 as 1 drink.
Not too sweet - just right!
This is bright citrus-y and the absolute perfect level of sweetness. We are using it as our signature drink for our wedding!
Oh my goodness what an honor! Love that this recipe can be a part of your special day 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment!
This drink turned out A M A Z I N G! Total hit with my family for Thanksgiving. I used honey whiskey and it was delicious 😍
Love this cocktail. Had it for my Xmas party last year and when it got cold again this year I started craving it again!
Love to hear that!! Hope you get to enjoy it a few times this holiday season 🙂
Absolutely delicious! I’m enjoying a glass right now. It made two servings for me though, and although my measuring wasn’t exact, it was pretty close. No complaints!
Did not even use the simple syrup and was delicious. A nice after dinner sipping drink.
So glad you enjoyed! Thanks so much for your comment! 🙂
Perfect Christmas party cocktail. Thank you!
Glad to hear that! Hope you had a great Christmas 🙂
Can I substitute the simple syrup for an agave syrup?