cranberry bourbon martini

One of the things I love most about the holidays is the fellowship with friends and family in Mama’s kitchen. There’s nothing like opening up her front door to the aromas of a turkey baking in the oven and collards simmering on the stove (among many other dishes she’s prepared the night before). Mama always cooks enough food to feed an army, and anyone and everyone is invited.

Every year as an adult on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’ve always been in charge of mixing up seasonal cocktails for everyone while Mama is cooking. I’ll bring my bag full of cocktail supplies and set up a bar area out of the way of the food. I try to mix up something different each year, and this year it’s going to be this sweet and spicy cranberry bourbon martini. This cocktail is full-bodied enough to sip on while socializing before dinner and sweet enough to enjoy as an after-dinner dessert drink.

The sweet flavor of cranberry juice mixed with smoky bourbon creates a festive cocktail that your guests will appreciate throughout the season. Honey and lemon juice finish off this perfect holiday cocktail by adding a smooth flavor with a hint of citrus. For a special added touch, rim your glass with a mixture of sugar and nutmeg, and then garnish with a skewer of fresh cranberries.


• 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 part bourbon
• 2 parts cranberry juice
• 1 teaspoon honey
• Splash lemon juice
• Fresh cranberries, for garnish


On a small plate, combine sugar and nutmeg by stirring with a spoon. Rub rim of a chilled martini glass with a lemon wedge. Dip into sugar and nutmeg mixture to coat rim of glass. Pour bourbon, cranberry juice, honey, and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass. Garnish with fresh cranberries.

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Brinkley lives in coastal North Carolina, and blogs about all things food. She is regular contributor on the Our State website, Parade Magazine’s, and