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Cranberry Sauce Bourbon Cocktail

Use your homemade leftover cranberry sauce for this Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail! All you need is three ingredients: cranberry sauce, bourbon, and ginger beer.

Cranberry Sauce Bourbon Cocktail | a great way of using your leftover cranberry sauce!

If you’re in hot pursuit of a festive cranberry cocktail recipe featuring fresh cranberries, you’ve struck gold!

All of the hard work is already done for you with this simple cranberry bourbon cocktail. 

We’re simply using homemade cranberry sauce to generate a frisky spicy little beverage to keep your guests thoroughly entertained. 

My family is always left with plenty of Thanksgiving leftovers each year, and as a self-proclaimed lover of leftovers, you can imagine I enjoy getting creative with them.

One of the things I love about this healthier cocktail recipe is it is lower in added sweetener. The homemade cranberry sauce and the ginger beer give it just the right amount of sweetness for a tangy yet delicious beverage that goes down almost too easily.

Close up image of a cranberry cocktail sitting on a wooden plate with fresh cranberries all around

This easy cocktail recipe only requires three basic ingredients. Let’s discuss!

Ingredients for Cranberry Sauce Bourbon Cocktail:

Homemade Cranberry Sauce: For the best result, use homemade cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries. While store-bought cranberry sauce will work too, I love the fresh flavor and texture of the homemade version.

Every year, I make either my Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Maple or my Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce which yields a ton of sauce and results in leftovers.

Bourbon: The star of the show here! You’ll be mixing one to two shots of bourbon with your cranberry sauce, then topping it off with ginger beer and club soda. You can adjust the amount of liquor depending on how strong you like your cocktails.

Ginger Beer: Bringing sweetness and fizz to the cocktail, ginger beer gives this delicious adult beverage spunky spicy flavor and also the perfect level of sweetness. You can use club soda or soda water if you prefer!

Pure Maple Syrup (optional): Taste the cocktail before adding any sweetener. If it isn’t sweet enough for you, add a little pure maple syrup until it reaches your desired level of sweetness. About 1 to 3 teaspoons should work great.

Two glasses of cranberry cocktails on wooden plates.

If your Thanksgiving feast resembled my family’s, you have about 12 trillion pounds of leftovers and are looking for places to stash them.

Check out my 50 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes to re-purpose those leftovers, giving you options for excess turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

In addition to this cocktail, I like to make my Vegan Cranberry Crumb Bars and Cranberry Sauce Pancakes with leftover cranberry sauce. 

Back in 2014, I went the beverage route for the first time with this recipe by mixing some of the leftover sauce with Bourbon. 

Two cranberry cocktails on wooden plates with fresh cranberries all around and a cocktail shaker in the background.

If you like yourself a cocktail, I highly recommend you try this!  

The warmly-spiced flavorful sauce goes really well with the liquor, and because the cranberry sauce is cane-sugar free (sweetened only with maple syrup) it adds natural sweetness to the drink without being overly sweet.

Let’s make it!

How to Make Cranberry Sauce Bourbon Cocktail:

Transfer 2 to 3 tablespoons of cranberry sauce to a glass and stir in the bourbon until well-combined.

homemade cranberry sauce and bourbon in a glass ready to be made into a cocktail.

Add your desired amount of ice. I get real fancy and use one enormous ice cube per cocktail which I make using a large ice cube mold.

Cranberry sauce and bourbon stirred up in a glass with a large ice cube inside

Top off the cocktail with ginger beer or soda water and give it a stir. Apple cider also works well here!

Ginger beer being poured into a glass with cranberry and bourbon.

Taste the cocktail for flavor and if desired, add 1 to 3 teaspoons of pure maple syrup to make it sweeter.


Two glasses of cranberry cocktails on wooden plates.

And now I will address the elephant in the room: chunks in your cocktail. Can you hack it?

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about my bourbon hanging out with hunks of cranberries, but I loved it. I drank it with a spoon.

If you’re anti texture, you can make a daiquiri slash slush situation by blending these cocktails up in your blender.

My favorite part of the cocktail was eating the cranberries that had been soaking in bourbon at the bottom of the glass…so there is that to consider.

Close up top down image of a cranberry cocktail on a dark wooden backdrop with a sprig of fresh thyme in it.

I hope you all had a wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving, and enjoy all the repurposed Thanksgiving leftovers!

And that’s it! The perfect cocktail for entertaining guests during the holidays or any time we’re graced with the presence of cranberry sauce. 

If you’re looking for more festive cocktail recipes, also try my Hot Buttered Rum with Cider, Keto Eggnog, or my Lemon Thyme Bourbon Cocktail. 


Two cranberry cocktails on wooden plates with fresh cranberries all around and a cocktail shaker in the background.

Cranberry Sauce Bourbon Cocktail

A delicious cocktail perfect for using up leftover homemade cranberry sauce!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
1 cocktail


  • 2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought cranberry sauce
  • 1 to 2 shots bourbon
  • Ginger beer or club soda*
  • 1 lemon wedge


  • Add the cranberry sauce to the bottom of a glass along with the bourbon.
    homemade cranberry sauce and bourbon in a glass ready to be made into a cocktail.
  • Add ice, then fill the remainder of the glass with ginger beer (or club soda)
    Ginger beer being poured into a glass with cranberry and bourbon.
  • Squeeze a lemon wedge into the drink and stir well.
  • Bottoms up!


*You can also use soda water or apple cider.
For a sweeter cocktail, add 1 to 3 teaspoons of pure maple syrup, or to your personal taste.


Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 195kcalCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 11g
Course: Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bourbon cocktail, cocktail recipe, cranberry sauce
Servings: 1 cocktail
Calories: 195kcal
Author: Julia
Cranberry Sauce Bourbon Cocktail made with cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving! A delicious festive boozy beverage that is lower in added sugar!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

I originally posted this cranberry cocktail recipe on November 28, 2014. I updated the photos and some of the copy, but the recipe itself remains the same.

Recipe Rating

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Saturday 17th of November 2018

Absolutely delicious, definitely making this one to spice up the Thanksgiving dinner! Love it!


Thursday 4th of December 2014

Well, I made cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries and forgot it in the fridge until everyone had "gone through the line". I did put it on the table but not many people back-tracked to partake of the sauce sooooo, I had a big bowl left over. I saw this post and got really excited! Finally got to the liquor store today for the bourbon and am at this point munching on the bourbon-soaked berries in the bottom of the glass....this recipe is a 10! Thanks :-)


Tuesday 2nd of December 2014

What a happy coincidence! The ONLY leftovers I have are cranberry sauce. I see all the drinks in my future.

kate / vegukate

Tuesday 2nd of December 2014

i'm kind of all over this ! !


Monday 1st of December 2014

Is it weird to say that mashed potatoes and cocktails are my favorite part of thanksgiving? Not together, of course.


Monday 1st of December 2014

Not at all weird. Carbs + booze are how we survive the holidays ;)

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