Cranberry Orange Bourbon Smash is a fun twist on a classic cocktail. It features cranberry sauce, fresh squeezed lemon and orange juice, bourbon, and fresh mint. Use up your leftover cranberry sauce during the holidays or enjoy this delightful drink all year round.
You know that feeling when you have leftover cranberry sauce in the fridge, and you don’t want to let it go to waste again this year? I can help! Besides this cocktail, there are many recipes on this blog designed to use up leftover cranberry sauce. I highly recommend baking it into tasty Cranberry Bars or a cheesy Baked Brie en Croute.
Cranberry Orange Bourbon Smash
If you love a fruity, not overly sweet bourbon-based cocktail, this Cranberry Orange Bourbon Smash is for you. This smash style bourbon cocktail contains a generous amount of citrus flavour that blends well with the sweet and sour cranberry sauce. It’s similar in flavour to a whiskey sour with cranberries and mint.
You can’t go wrong with this smash recipe, it’s so easy to make! There’s only one boozy ingredient in this cocktail recipe and that’s bourbon. You don’t need to go hunting around for special liqueurs that you’ll never use again! Simplicity is key when it comes to a Bourbon smash.
The simple blend of orange muddled lemon wedges, lemon juice, and cranberry sauce mixed with mint is so refreshing in this smash. Even though it contains cranberry sauce, you can enjoy this cocktail year-round. It’s especially perfect for summertime sipping when it’s too hot to make a complicated cocktail.
What is a Smash Cocktail?
A smash is an open ended, easy drinking cocktail with a non rigid definition of ingredients and technique. At its heart, a smash contains a one spirit base, fresh mint (sometimes other herbs), ice, and seasonal fruit either in the drink or as a garnish. Other ingredients may include sugar, simple syrup, or soda water. The ice may be shaved ice, crushed ice, or whole ice cubes.
At bare minimum, the smash technique involves crushing the mint (sometimes with the fruit or with sugar added) then straining it out to serve. There’s usually ice involved, whether or not it stays in drink for serving is up to the drink maker.
Smashes are simple classic cocktails that have been around for over a century. They rose in popularity in the southern US, with the Mint Julep being one of the earliest known examples.
Cocktail Tools for Smash Cocktails
Firstly, let’s set out the tools you’ll need to successfully create your own Cranberry Orange Bourbon Smash. A cocktail shaker is an absolute must and for ease of use, I prefer a Boston style cocktail shaker.
A Boston shaker is a two-piece cocktail shaker that consists of two large stainless steel cups, one of which may be made of glass. It does not have a strainer or jigger built into a lid. If you haven’t invested in a cocktail shaker, a large mason jar will also work.
Most cocktail recipes use ounces as a standard measurement, so you’ll need a jigger or measuring cup that has ounce measurements. The best glass for a smash is a large (10 oz or more) old fashioned glass or rocks glass.
For straining smash cocktails, you’ll use a combination of a Hawthorne strainer and a fine mesh strainer. When used together, they’ll remove all the bits you don’t want in the cocktail, large and small.
Last, but not least, you will need a cocktail muddler. I always recommend a one-piece muddler made of food grade polypropylene or wood. They are both easy to clean and won’t break your glass if you happen to get a little aggressive while muddling. In a pinch…use a sturdy wooden spoon!
Ingredients for Cranberry Orange Bourbon Smash
By definition, you’ll need bourbon for this classic whiskey smash, though you can substitute rum or even vodka. Add to that fresh mint leaves for muddling and seasonal fruit. The only ingredient left to talk about is the cranberry sauce.
If you don’t have any leftover sauce, don’t run out and buy a can! You can make still make this cocktail using fresh or frozen cranberries. Simply add some granulated sugar to the muddling mixture. The coarse texture of the sugar will also help bring the flavours in the mint and citrus.
How to Make a Cranberry Orange Bourbon Smash
Muddling is the motion of pressing and turning of solid cocktail ingredients in a cocktail shaker or pitcher using a muddler. This technique breaks down and releases flavour oils from herbs and citrus.
Add the cranberry sauce, lemon juice, 2 lemon wedges, and mint leaves to a cocktail shaker and muddle together until the cranberry sauce and mint leaves have broken down.
Cocktails that require a dry shake (without ice) are those that need plenty of aeration. They usually contain egg white or aquafaba and result in a layer of surface foam. Since a smash typically does not contain foam, it only requires a wet shake (with ice).
It is always a good idea to fill your glasses with ice and have cocktail strainers nearby before you start shaking. This is so the shaken mixture doesn’t get too diluted with water from the melting ice while you hunt for glasses and strainers!
Add bourbon, ice, and orange juice to the shaker, fit the lid on tightly and shake vigorously until the cocktail shaker is frosty.
Double straining is a technique that requires a cocktail to be strained through two sizes of strainers. Use this technique to prevent fine bits from cocktails that have been muddled and may contain small bits of mint and citrus.
Use a strainer and fine mesh sieve to double strain the cocktail as you pour it into the cocktail glasses.
Garnish with extra lemon wedges and a fresh mint sprig. Enjoy!
If you make this Cranberry Orange Bourbon Smash recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
- 4 Tablespoons cranberry sauce
- 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 4 lemon wedges
- 6-8 mint leaves (plus more for garnish)
- 4 ounces bourbon
- 1/4 cup fresh squeeze orange juice
- 2 cups ice
- Use a muddler to muddle the cranberry sauce, lemon juice, 2 lemon wedges, and mint leaves together in a cocktail shaker until the cranberry sauce and mint leaves have broken down.
- Add bourbon and orange juice to the shaker, fit the lid on tightly and give it a few dry shakes to mix the ingredients together.
- Fill two rocks glasses with ice.
- Remove the lid and fill shaker with ice. Fit the lid on tightly, and shake vigorously until the cocktail shaker is frosty.
- Use a strainer and fine mesh sieve to double strain the cocktail as you pour it into the cocktail glasses.
- Garnish with extra lemon wedges and a sprig of fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 337Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 8gSugar: 36gProtein: 4g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.