Cranberry Whiskey Sour: Festive Holiday Cocktail

This cranberry whiskey sour has the perfect blend of sweet and tart, with depth from the whiskey, and an oh-so-festive color. It just might be the perfect holiday cocktail!

This cocktail recipe is one of my favorites, and I’m not even a whiskey drinker! Well, I wasn’t until I tried this drink. 😉

I’m a person who loves to host at the holidays, and every year I look forward to our annual cocktail party. And one thing I love to do is have a ‘signature cocktail’ to offer each year. We usually have a full bar as well, but it’s so nice to have a festive and delicious cocktail to offer everyone for the night, and that’s how this Cranberry Whiskey Sour was born!


cranberry whiskey sour two glasses with sugared cranberries and rosemary garnish

If you’ve never had one, a whiskey sour traditionally consists of whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. In this incarnation, a cranberry simple syrup creates that gorgeous color. And the lime is left out as the cranberries add enough tartness. 

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cranberry whiskey sour cocktail at holiday time christmas lights tree

Making the cranberry simple syrup is super easy. If you’ve ever made simply syrup, it’s much the same with cranberries added. And if you make extra, you can use it for drizzling over ice cream, scones, and more.

And it’s as easy to double or triple this recipe for a bigger batch as it is to just make a couple of drinks one evening. Because after all, it is the holidays!

If you can’t have a delicious cocktail on a weeknight this time of year, when can you?!


overhead shot of gorgeous cranberry holiday cocktail

Rather than use regular ice, I used one large cube in each glass. These are made from silicone molds and they’re so cool! My husband is a bit of a whiskey lover so I gave them to him last Christmas and we love them!

They make any drink look more glamorous – and they melt more slowly so your drink doesn’t get watered down as quickly – a win/win! 


holiday cocktail with cranberries in glass in front of Christmas tree lights

I love this spin on a whiskey sour because it’s just the right amount of tart and sweet, and cranberry flavor just screams “holiday” to me! And if you’re wondering how I got that nice little foam on the top, it’s because I used an egg white. Yes, an egg white!

Now before you think I’m crazy, it’s actually pretty common in bars, especially when they serve artisanal cocktails. The egg white adds a bit of texture to the cocktail so it’s silkier, and of course, it creates that pretty foam on top, too. (But if you’re worried, you can always leave it out. It will still look and taste delicious!)



gorgeous shot of cranberry whiskey sour cocktail with sugared cranberries and rosemary garnish

The key to making sure the egg whites are mixed thoroughly is to shake the mixture twice. First, combine the egg white with the other ingredients in a shaker without ice and give the mixture a “dry shake” for about 10 seconds. This helps to completely mix the egg white in with the other ingredients, as well as to ensure it’s foamy enough.

Then, add in the ice and shake it a second time to chill the cocktail.


Christmas ornaments rosemary and sugared cranberries with holiday cocktail glasses

Yield: 2 servings

Cranberry Whiskey Sour

Cranberry Whiskey Sour

A seasonal twist on a classic cocktail, this Cranberry Whiskey Sour is a mix of sweet and tart, with an oh-so-festive color. It just might be the perfect holiday cocktail!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 3 ounces whiskey (preferably bourbon)
  • 3 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 ounces cranberry simple syrup
  • 4 tsp. egg whites - one large egg has about 6 tsp. (optional)
  • ice
  • Fresh or sugared cranberries and/or rosemary sprigs for garnish


  1. Place the whiskey, lemon juice, cranberry simple syrup and egg whites in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Seal the shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds (this is a 'dry shake' - essential for incorporating the egg whites with the other ingredients).
  3. Add ice to the shaker, reseal, and shake again for 10 seconds to chill.
  4. Strain into glasses filled with ice. (I used silicone ice cube trays to create one large cube.)
  5. Garnish cocktails with sugared or regular cranberries and/or a rosemary sprig.

*To make cranberry simple syrup, stir together 2 cups cranberries, 2 cups sugar, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until cranberries begin to pop, about 3 minutes. Lightly mash berries with a fork until they are mixed in pretty well. Over a small bowl, strain fruit through a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a spatula to release all the juices, discard solids. Set bowl aside to cool completely.  *Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, two weeks.


Using raw egg whites carries a slight risk. But by carefully ensuring you are working with fresh, clean eggs, you can drastically reduce the risk. 

  • When serving raw eggs, always ensure the eggs are clean, fresh, and cold. And I use organic eggs as they carry less salmonella risk.
  • Cocktails with raw eggs should always include both citrus and alcohol as both act as sterilizers.
  • And if it bothers you, simply skip it! It won't have the pretty foam on top, but it will still look and taste delicious.


I used sugared cranberries to garnish the drink, but plain, fresh cranberries work just as well. But if you do want to make them, you can find the recipe for those here.


gorgeous holiday cocktail cranberry whiskey sour on silver tray Christmas tree lights

This Cranberry Whiskey Sour is beautiful, festive and delicious – the perfect holiday cocktail! And if you’re not a whiskey lover, you could always substitute vodka for an equally delicious option. 😉


Shop Cranberry Whiskey Sour Essentials


Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season full of delicious cocktails!




*adapted from Rachael Ray

Cranberry Whiskey Sour graphic on Maison de Cinq



I’m joining some friends who are also sharing delicious holiday drink recipe ideas, so be sure to check out them out by clicking on the links below each image!

Low Carb Keto Homemade Eggnog at The Happy Housie

Cranberry Whiskey Sour at Maison de Cinq

Bourbon Spritz Recipe at Place of My Taste

Hot Cocoa with Peppermint Schnapps at Craftberry Bush


Gingerbread Flavoured Coffee Syrup at The DIY Mommy

Christmas Morning Mimosas at This is Our Bliss

Ruby Red Grapefruit Punch at A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Just Add Cinnamon Twist on Classic Hot Chocolate Mix at This is Simplicite


Christmas Sorbet Punch at Clean & Scentisible

Cranberry Raspberry Cocktail at Life is a Party

Blue Latte Recipe at Dans le Lakehouse

2 Step Mock Champagne Punch Recipe at Grace in My Space


Hot Chocolate Bar & Free Printables at the Handmade Home

Custom Soda Labels at Fynes Designs

Keto Sugar Free Peppermint Hot Chocolate at Tatertots & Jello

Deliciously Easy Holiday Eggnog at She Gave it a Go


Holiday Drink Recipe Ideas at Jennifer Maune

Homemade Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream at My Sweet Savannah

Sparkling Cranberry Cocktails at Finding Silver Pennies


If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more holiday recipes and entertaining inspiration below:

Pomegranate Cosmopolitan – a Delicious Twist on a Classic

How to Host an Easy Holiday Wine & Appetizer Party 

Cozy European Style Holiday Tablescape 

Holiday Table Setting with Cedar, Eucalyptus, and Brass Bells


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  1. Our drink came out pink…not your pretty red color
    Can you think of a reason why? 12-3-2023

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that Linda! I actually have no idea. I’ve made this MANY times and have had many readers make it and it’s always red, as cranberries are quite intense in color. I think anywhere between a dark pink and red would be typical, depending on the cranberries used.

      Did you use fresh cranberries and follow the instructions exactly? Also, did you by any chance add more alcohol or more lemon juice? Because that may dilute the color some. But more importantly, did it taste good?? Because that is more important than the color I think!

      Thanks for stopping by and for trying the recipe!

  2. Candace Speigel says:

    Oh my gosh this looks so good and SO festive! Can’t wait to try this during the holidays this year!

    1. Aww thanks Candace! I hope you like it as much as we do!


  3. Made these for Christmas dinner, SO good and pretty! Some of my family members shy away from sweet cocktails so I made the cranberry syrup with half the sugar, then added plain simple syrup to the shaker for the people who wanted a sweeter version. Will definitely make these again!

    1. I’m so glad you loved them! Thanks so much Sydney 😉


  4. These look so beautiful and I love the sugared cranberries! Can’t wait to try these!

    1. Thank you so much Danielle! Your drink was equally beautiful!!

      Merry Christmas!


  5. Sounds delicious and looks oh so pretty! Love the sugared cranberries!