This Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour Cocktail combines the richness of whiskey, the tartness of cranberries, and the citrusy zing of oranges. It's the perfect holiday cocktail to serve at a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, a holiday party, or as a special treat on a cozy night in.
I love coming up with fun winter drinks this time of year, and wanted something new to serve at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. This Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour is just the thing. It puts a festive spin on the traditional whiskey sour and the winter flavors taste like holidays in cup.
Why I Love This Recipe
This cranberry whiskey sour is such a great twist on the classic cocktail. Here's why I love this recipe.
- Perfect for the holidays. This time of year I love to make festive cocktails to get into the festive spirit. This holiday drink, with its vibrant colors and festive flavors is the perfect way to capture the holiday season. Garnished with cranberries and a sprig of fresh rosemary it looks great as part of a holiday spread.
- It's delicious! The combination of whiskey's depth, the tartness of cranberry, and the fresh citrus notes from the lime and orange juice creates the perfect balance for this delicious drink. And, the touch of agave syrup adds a natural sweetness that offsets the sour.
- Easy. You only need a few easy ingredients to make this festive cocktail. Most of which you probably already have on hand.
Using fresh ingredients here where possible will make this drink even better! Try to use freshly squeezed citrus and fresh garnishes if you can.
- Whiskey/Bourbon. I love bourbon whiskey for this drink because it has smooth, sweet elements that compliment the other flavors.
- Orange juice. Freshly squeezed orange juice provides a burst of citrusy brightness that complements the whiskey's depth, creating a harmonious flavor profile.
- Fresh lime juice. Lime juice adds a refreshing acidity, enhancing the overall balance of the cocktail.
- Unsweetened cranberry juice. The unsweetened cranberry juice brings delightful tart flavors to the mix, making it a standout ingredient.
- Agave syrup. Acting as a zero-sugar sweetener, agave syrup adds a touch of sweetness without overpowering the natural flavors of the ingredients.
- Fresh rosemary and fresh cranberries. These are the perfect garnishes to give this drink a special feel.
How to Make a Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour
Making this drink takes just 5 minutes. Here's how to do it:
- Gather your ingredients. Pull all the elements together in one spot - whiskey, orange juice, fresh lime juice, unsweetened cranberry juice, and agave syrup.
- Mix. In a mixing glass, pitcher, or cocktail shaker, combine all the ingredients and stir well to ensure a thorough blend. (If you use a cocktail shaker to mix this, make sure you don't add ice. You want a dry shake of the ingredients to prevent the drink from becoming diluted.
- Pour. Pour the mixture over ice in a lowball glass.
- Garnish. Garnish with fresh cranberries and a sprig of rosemary for a festive touch.
Variations and Substitutions
Switch the sweetener. Agave is a great sweetener for cocktails because it's flavor is fairly neutral, but you could also use simple syrup, or even maple syrup in it's place. (There are lots of recipes for homemade simple syrups out there, many with some added twists and flavors.)
Change up the whiskey. I like using a bourbon whiskey for this because it has a smooth, sweet taste, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand or prefer. Experiment with different types of whiskey brands, or even styles - rye whiskey would add a bit of spice to this cocktail!
Add some fizz. Want some bubbles with your cocktail? Make this extra festive by topping off the cocktail with ginger beer, creating a Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour Fizz.
Change up the garnish. I love the fresh rosemary sprigs and cranberries here, but feel free to use orange slices, orange peel, or cinnamon sticks to make this drink feel special.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Simply multiply the ingredients based on the number of servings you need, mix in a large pitcher, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
The beauty of this recipe lies in its flexibility. Whether you choose bourbon, rye, or a classic whiskey like Maker's Mark, it's all about your personal preference and budget. Choose the kind of whiskey you like best, within your price range.
While it's best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare the mixture ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. Just add ice and garnishes when you're ready to serve.
Any! I actually used wine glasses here, but lowball glasses, cocktail glasses, old fashioned glasses, coupe glasses would work well. (And if you're doing a laid back happy hour, even a mason jar would work!)
Any type of ice works. I love these small round ice molds for fun drinks like this, but you could also use the larger globe ice cube molds, or whatever you have on hand. If you don't want the drink to become diluted quickly, you could also consider whiskey stones.
A traditional whiskey sour is made by mixing simple syrup, bourbon, and some type of citrus element, either fresh lemon juice or lime juice, together. This recipe adds a few different flavors - fresh orange juice and cranberry juice - to create a delicious cranberry orange whiskey cocktail.
A Boston sour is basically a whiskey sour with egg whites on the top. It adds a frothy white foam to the top of the drink and provides a smooth element to the drink.
You could, but the added sugar will make the drink extra sweet so keep that in mind. You can usually find unsweetened cranberry juice in the juice aisle of the grocery store.
The delicious cocktail is one of my favorite holiday drinks! With its simple ingredients and easy preparation, and delicious twist on the classic whiskey sour recipe, it's the perfect cocktail for holiday parties, cozy nights by the fire, or happy hours with friends. Give it a try - it's sure to become a holiday favorite for you too!
If you try this festive Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour, let me know what you think in the comments below. And don't forget to tag me on Instagram @frontrangefed. I love to see your creations!
More Delicious Holiday Drinks!
Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour (Easy Holiday Cocktail!)
- 4 oz bourbon whiskey
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ½ cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- ¼ cup agave syrup
- fresh cranberries (for garnish)
- fresh rosemary sprigs (for garnish)
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass or pitcher and stir well.
- Pour cocktail ice and add ice, fresh cranberries and a sprig of rosemary for garnish.
- Serve with fun ice cubes for a special touch, or serve with whiskey stones to prevent dilution.
- Use unsweetened cranberry juice - not cranberry juice cocktail, which has added sugar.