Vanilla Cranberry Old-Fashioned Cocktail

The Vanilla Cranberry Old-Fashioned is a stunning, sweeter, seasonal take on the classic whiskey cocktail garnished with sugared cranberries. Serve up one of these drinks to your Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s guests for a festive addition to any holiday party. 

a christmas old-fashioned on a gray napkin next to sugared cranberries

Vanilla Cranberry Old-Fashioned Cocktail recipe

Thanksgiving is one week away. My goodness. How did that even happen? Is it just me or has fall has seemed particularly busier this year than past ones?

I’m spending it away from home this year, and I’m looking forward to relaxing and having some lighter cooking duties for once. I love Thanksgiving so much, but this woman needs a break!

So what does a busy woman make for Thanksgiving when she’s away from home? Probably mini cranberry apple crisps. And orange bourbon cranberry sauce. And maybe my chocolate bourbon pecan pie.

That, and my friends usually put me in charge of cocktails. This year I’m planning to serve up some vanilla cranberry old-fashioned cocktails after dinner.

These festive cocktails are made with cranberry syrup, bourbon, lemon zest and vanilla bitters.

a gold jigger lying next to a cranberry old-fashioned cocktail on a gray napkin next to sugared cranberries.

What is an old-fashioned?

The old-fashioned is a classic cocktail made with any type of whiskey — usually bourbon — or another strong spirit like mezcal or aged rum.

Old-fashioned cocktails are spirit-forward, meaning they are heavy on the booze. They don’t have any mixers like sour mix or soda. (Though sometimes bars do this, and they shouldn’t.)

Instead, they include small amounts of added flavor, usually in the form of orange zest, a cocktail cherry, some kind of bitters and a sugar cube or simple syrup.

This one uses bourbon, homemade cranberry syrup or a splash of cranberry juice, plus vanilla bitters. Every sip tastes like the holidays.

For the garnish, add a clear ice cube, a piece of lemon zest and a few sugared cranberries.

A gold spoon rests in a hexagon jar of cranberry-colored simple syrup with whole cranberries, cinnamon sticks, evergreen boughs and a golden bowl of cranberries around it

Ingredients

Here’s what you will need to make this Cranberry Vanilla Old-Fashioned:

Sugared cranberries: These rutilant bejeweled beauties are muddled with the bourbon, plus more are added for garnish.

Cranberry simple syrup: Homemade cranberry syrup is perfect for cocktails like this. It’s so easy to make with fresh cranberries. You can also use cranberry juice instead, but it’s a little more tart. You can sweeten it up with plain simple syrup. Or you could use leftover cranberry sauce!

Bourbon: Your favorite bourbon whiskey will be perfect. My go-to’s are Angel’s Envy, Woodford Reserve and Wild Turkey 101. You could also use rye whiskey instead.

Vanilla bitters: These sweet vanilla-spiced bitters are the perfect match for cranberries. Don’t have vanilla? Use Angostura bitters or any fall flavor like cinnamon, clove or cardamom.

Lemon zest: Old-fashioneds usually call for orange zest, but lemon adds a brightness. The sour and acidic properties of lemon help to balance out the tartness of the cranberries and sweetness of the syrup and bourbon.

Ice cube: Don’t forget that ice is an ingredient! For a festive touch, you can pop cranberries or rosemary into the ice tray to make berry ice cubes or herb ice cubes.

sugared cranberries in a gold bowl with rosemary sprigs and a gold spoon

How to make a Vanilla Cranberry Old-Fashioned

To make a this Christmas Old-Fashioned, you’ll muddle fresh cranberries and simple syrup.

Then, add a giant ice cube and your favorite whiskey or bourbon.

Add a few dashes of bitters on top and squeeze a piece of lemon zest over top and wave it around the rim of the glass to release the lemon essential oils for flavor and aroma.

Top with some homemade candied cranberries and you’re ready to serve this festive libation. Cheers!

a cranberry old-fashioned on a gray linen napkin

Holiday menu ideas

More holiday cocktails

The Sparkling Cranberry Vanilla Old-Fashioned made with Cranberry DRY Sparkling soda is a stunning, sweeter, seasonal take on the classic whiskey cocktail. Serve up one of these drinks — garnished with sugared cranberries, of course — to your Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's guests for a festive addition to any holiday party. (via feastandwest.com)

Cranberry Vanilla Old-Fashioned

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

The Sparkling Cranberry Vanilla Old-Fashioned is a stunning, sweeter, seasonal take on the classic whiskey cocktail. Serve up one of these drinks — garnished with sugared cranberries, of course — to your Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's guests for a festive addition to any holiday party.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a rocks glass, muddle sugared cranberries and cranberry syrup.
  2. Add an ice cube. Top with bourbon. Add a dash of bitters.
  3. Garnish with lemon zest and more sugared cranberries

Notes

Instead of cranberry syrup, you can use ½ ounce of cranberry juice.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 359Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 1gSugar: 36gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!

Cranberries in a bowl with sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs.

Sugared Cranberries

Yield: 3.5 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Sugared Cranberries are a sweet and sparkly way to decorate cheese boards, cocktails and holiday menus.

Ingredients

for the simple syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water

for the cranberries

  • 3½ cups cranberries (approx. 7 ounces)
  • ½ cup simple syrup
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Instructions

Simple Syrup

  1. First, make the simple syrup. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar and water until dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.
  3. Transfer to a glass jar and seal tightly with a lid.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. 

Sugared Cranberries

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cranberries and simple syrup. Stir to coat all the cranberries.
  2. With a fine mesh strainer, drain off any excess simple syrup into a mason jar. Discard or reserve for cocktails if desired.
  3. Lay the coated cranberries out to dry on a wire baking rack for one hour.
  4. Put cranberries in a bowl and coat with granulated sugar.
  5. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • Make sure cranberries are spread out into a single layer as the syrup layer dries. You won't want them to dry in one giant clump!
  • If you are having trouble getting all of the cranberries dusted in sugar, toss them in the sugar in smaller quantities. Bit by bit, you can get through the whole batch.
  • Don't be afraid to use your hands when tossing berries in sugar. Sometimes, a spoon just doesn't do the trick.

Uses for sugared cranberries:

  • Cocktail or mocktail garnish (on a cocktail pick/skewer)
  • Decoration for cakes and cupcakes
  • Garnish on a platter of turkey or ham.
  • Colorful addition to a charcuterie board or cheese plate
  • Sprinkled on a lunch salad or morning oatmeal

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: Around 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 106Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 2gSugar: 24gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!

The Golden Ratio Guide:

Mix the perfect cocktail, every time

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek says

    Okay I am starting to become obsessed with testing out old fashioned’s, so I can’t wait to add this to my list. Loved celebrating the #HolidayPairingParty with you! xoxo

Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!