This whiskey cocktail is perfect for the holiday season! It’s a delicious cocktail that’s perfect for Christmas or New Year celebrations.

On cold nights, there’s really nothing I love more than the warm flavor of a Christmas bourbon cocktail! I am a huge bourbon fan! I love the hints of caramel flavor and warm spices that you find in bourbon whiskey. Making simple bourbon cocktails is easy; because bourbon is delicious mixed with simple mixers like lemon lime soda or apple cider.

Since I love bourbon so much, it makes sense that I would come up with some tasty Christmas bourbon cocktails over the years, like this one!

a photo of a glass filled with Christmas bourbon cocktail with a rosemary sprig for garnish

I like to make this Bourbon Cranberry Cocktail for Christmas Eve! In this recipe, I incorporate seasonal flavors by making a brown sugar and cranberry simple syrup, adding cranberry juice, the good stuff (bourbon) and festive garnish! For a little variety, I typically also offer a choice of White Christmas Margarita or Cranberry Martini for my guests.

I have to admit that originally, I set out to make a Christmas Old Fashioned, but I’m pretty happy with how this whiskey drink turned out, especially the vibrant ruby red color!

Check out this comprehensive list from Couple in the Kitchen for more Whiskey Christmas Drinks!

a photo of cranberry brown sugar simple syrup being strained

Need more ideas for Christmas cocktails? Check out this list of festive cocktails: 10 Thanksgiving Cocktails to Truly be Thankful For

What Bourbon Should I Use?

If you have a bottle of bourbon on your shelf, then that’s the one you should use for this Christmas bourbon cocktail!

But you do not have to go top shelf. I really love to use smooth and sweet bourbons like Four Roses, Elijah Craig, Buffalo Trace or Maker’s Mark.

a photo of cranberry cocktail in a rocks glass

Recipe Substitutions:

There are several substitutions you can make and still maintain the holiday flavors of this recipe:

  • You can substitute dark rum rye whiskey for bourbon in this delicious drink.
  • Substitute pomegranate arils for the frozen cranberries and pomegranate juice for cranberry juice. I really love the bright flavor of pomegranate in this drink!
  • Substitute white sugar for brown sugar in the syrup.

Recipe Additions:

  • As an added bonus, this delicious holiday cocktail can be modified for your tastes. Here are a few suggestions!
  • This is delicious with a splash of fresh orange juice, ginger beer, ginger ale lime juice or lemon juice.
  • Make it fizzy with a splash of club soda in each glass.
  • Add a cinnamon stick to the simple syrup for the entire cook time.
  • Add one half of a rosemary sprig to the simple syrup in the last 2 minutes of cook time.

Christmas Bourbon Cocktail – Garnish Options:

Add extra holiday spirit with super festive garnish! Here are a few suggestions to have at your Christmas party:

  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Orange Peel or Lemon Peels
  • Fresh Cranberries or Frozen Cranberries
  • Rosemary Sprigs
  • Fresh Orange Slice or Fresh Lemon Slices
  • Star Anise
  • Pomegranate seeds

Need another great idea for cocktails this Christmas Season? Try my Mulled Red Wine Cider | Apple Cider Sangria | Non-Alcoholic Christmas Punch

a photo of a christmas bourbon cocktail in a gold rimmed glass with a rosemary sprig

Rosemary Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Yield: Serves 3
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This whiskey cocktail is perfect for the holiday season! It's a delicious cocktail that's perfect for Christmas or New Year celebrations.


For the simple syrup:

  • 1 cup frozen cranberries
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup water

For the cocktail:

  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • 8 ounces cranberry juice
  • 3 ounces cranberry simple syrup

For garnish (optional):

  • fresh rosemary sprigs
  • extra frozen cranberries


  1. First, make the simple syrup. Add simple syrup ingredients to a small saucepan, and heat over medium heat.
  2. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes, then strain the mixture and allow for it to cool.
  3. Fill your rocks glasses with ice. Add bourbon, cranberry juice and top with simple syrup. Stir gently.
  4. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and frozen cranberries.
Nutrition Information
Yield 3 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 477Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 18mgCarbohydrates 101gFiber 4gSugar 91gProtein 1g

The nutrition for this recipe is calculated by an app and may be incorrect.

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