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What do bourbon lovers drink during the holiday season? This Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour, of course!
We’re creating a festive spin on the classic whiskey sour cocktail with the zesty, citrusy flavors of fresh orange and the tartness of cranberry juice.
The result is a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and refreshing tanginess. You’ll love sipping on this cranberry whiskey sour all season long!
And if you love this wintry flavor combo as much as I do, this is the perfect cocktail for you!
Ingredients for this Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour Recipe
You’ll need only five simple ingredients to create this classic cocktail with a holiday twist:
How to make a Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour
You won’t need a cocktail shaker to create this festive cocktail.
As a general rule of thumb, bourbon cocktails should be stirred and not shaken. So we’ll do everything in a rocks glass.
First, Rim the Glass
We’re making an orange sugar rim for this cranberry orange whiskey cocktail.
Simply zest an orange and combine it with sugar. Use the orange to moisten the rim of the glass, and then dip the glass into the orange sugar.
Second, Mix the Cocktail
Once the glass is rimmed, pour all of the cocktail ingredients in: the bourbon, cranberry juice, orange juice, lemon juice and maple syrup.
Give it a good stir, just to dissolve the maple syrup.
Third, Add the Ice
Now, add the ice. If you’re a bourbon drinker, it’s nice to invest in ice molds that make one big ice cube.
One big piece of ice will melt slower and won’t water down the cocktail. But regular ice cubes still work!
Last, Garnish your Delicious Drink
Garnish with your choice of fresh herbs and fruit. I like an orange peel and fresh thyme. Other good options are a few fresh cranberries, cinnamon sticks and fresh herbs like rosemary or sage.
Variations on this Whiskey Sour Recipe
Keep the good vibes going all season long with these creative twists on the traditional whiskey sour:
- Cranberry Cinnamon Whiskey Sour: Add a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of clove for a warm, spiced kick that’s perfect for the winter months. The spices complement the citrus and cranberry notes beautifully.
- Cranberry Orange Whiskey Fizz: Top the drink with club soda or ginger beer to give it a fizzy, effervescent quality. The soda’s bubbles create a refreshing take on the traditional sour.
- Cranberry Orange Sour Martini: Strain the cocktail into a martini glass for an elegant presentation. Garnish with an orange twist and a few fresh cranberries for a sophisticated touch.
- Cranberry Orange Whiskey Smash: Muddle fresh herbs like sage or thyme with the cranberries and orange slices to create a herbaceous, refreshing version of the drink.
What’s the best Cranberry Juice to use for this Whiskey Sour?
You’ve got two basic options when choosing a cranberry juice: sweetened cranberry juice (or cranberry juice cocktail), which is more common in stores, or unsweetened cranberry juice, which is a bit harder to find but preferred by mixologists.
- Sweetened Cranberry Juice: Also known as cranberry juice cocktail, this variety of cranberry juice is readily available and typically contains added sugars. It can make for a sweeter whiskey sour. Since we are not using any simple syrup in this recipe, a sweetened cranberry juice won’t come across as overly sweet. Cranberry juice cocktail is also a brighter shade of red than unsweetened juice, which can make your cocktail more visually appealing.
- Unsweetened Cranberry Juice: A tart cranberry juice is favored by those who appreciate the bold, zesty character of the cranberry, as it ensures a less sugary, more refreshing cocktail.
It comes down to personal preference, so experiment and see which one you like better!
When you make this Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a star rating or leave a comment below. Cheers!
For more holiday cocktail recipes, try these:
- Cranberry Margarita Recipe (Easy Tequila Cocktail)
- Creamy Pumpkin Spice Martini
- Cranberry Ginger Cocktail (A Thanksgiving Gin Drink)
For more bourbon whiskey cocktail recipes, try these:
- Pumpkin Pie Bourbon Cocktail with Orange & Ginger
- Fig Old Fashioned Cocktail
- Holiday Manhattan Cocktail
Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour (Bourbon Cocktail)
- 3 oz. quality bourbon whiskey
- 1 oz. cranberry juice
- 4 tsp. sugar
- 3 tsp. orange juice
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 orange
- Zest the orange. Combine the orange zest and sugar in a small bowl or shallow dish. Moisten the rim of a rocks glass with orange juice. Dip the rim of the glass in the orange sugar.
- Pour the bourbon, maple syrup, cranberry juice, orange juice and lemon juice into the glass. Stir vigorously to dissolve the maple syrup.
- Fill the rest of the glass with ice. Garnish with fresh thyme and an orange peel, if desired.