Cranberry Sauce Whisky CocktailA delicious, festive cocktail that makes excellent use of leftover cranberry sauce. A shot of bourbon adds spicy depth, along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a splash of ginger beer. 

We all know that one of the very best parts of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. In fact, after cooking for days, cleaning the house for guests and finding a place for sixteen people to sit in our tiny living room, I’m usually so tired that I barely eat on Thursday night (except for dessert because I’d have to be fully dead to refuse a slice of Maple Cheesecake).

Luckily we always have enough of most everything for a repeat Friday night, made even more special by the fact that we can stay in our pajamas and be as messy as we please. But even after leftover night and multiple sandwiches, we often still have at least one tupperware filled with homemade cranberry sauce left.

What to do? As is the answer to so many of life’s questions: drink it.

Cranberry Sauce Whisky Cocktail

You can top these cranberry sauce cocktails off either with ginger beer (my favorite) or club soda.

While this same recipe would certainly work with vodka or gin, I like the spicy depth that bourbon adds. And since every cranberry sauce recipe is different, you may want to adjust the ratios to taste. Our recipe (via my mom) uses fresh orange juice and Cointreau so it’s already quite citrusy but we found that a little fresh lemon juice added a bright tartness we loved.

One note: this recipe has pieces of macerated cranberries in the the drink. We like it that way but if you don’t want chunky fruit in your drink, just give the mix a muddle (either with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon) and strain through a sieve.

Cranberry Sauce Whisky Cocktail

Cranberry Sauce Whisky Cocktail

Cranberry Sauce Whisky Cocktail
Prep time
Total time
A delicious, festive cocktail that makes excellent use of leftover cranberry sauce. A shot of bourbon adds spicy depth, along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a splash of ginger beer.
Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 1 Cocktail
  • 2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought cranberry sauce
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • Ginger beer or club soda
  • 1 lemon peel twist, for garnish
  1. Add cranberry sauce to a rocks glass and then add the bourbon and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
  2. Add ice, then top with ginger beer or club soda, to taste. Stir again and garnish with lemon twist.