Cranberry Bourbon Slush Is The Best Holiday Cocktail


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Frozen Cranberry Bourbon Slush Is A Festive Drink

Make some cranberry bourbon slush. Year after year, we return to this festive drink for parties and gatherings. You can make it ahead, keep it in the freezer, scoop some out for a single cocktail, or put it in a punch bowl for a crowd. It’s always popular!

Every December, my friend Betty Jo and I host a cookie exchange for a group of close friends in my home. It’s never really been about the cookies, although we get some really great ones to share! It’s more about a special evening in the company of wonderful women I may only see a handful of times all year.

Every year, the menu stays about the same. Even though it’s very cold, this frozen cranberry bourbon slush is a favorite, even among those who don’t enjoy bourbon! (Like me.) I use Jim Beam Kentucky bourbon whiskey in this recipe. It is the world’s number-one bourbon.

According to Wikipedia, the invention of bourbon is often attributed to Elijah Craig, a Baptist minister, entrepreneur, and distiller credited with many Kentucky firsts. If you are interested in reading more on the subject, the Jim Beam website has some fascinating topics.

There is not a lot of alcohol in the punch, just enough you taste it, but it doesn’t overpower the cranberry juice and 7Up or Sprite. I haven’t tried it yet, but Sprite now comes in a Winter Spiced Cranberry flavor that might be very interesting!

This would be a great cocktail to serve at a New Year’s Eve party because it looks so festive, and both winter oranges and fresh cranberries make a perfect garnish!

This drink tastes minutes to put together but needs to freeze overnight or longer. I usually put it in an ice cream bucket to freeze, and I keep it in our deep freeze until we serve it.

On the evening of the party, I take the bucket out of the freezer about two hours before we begin. When it defrosts enough to release from the bucket, I invert it in a punch bowl. Shortly before the party, I use a knife to break it up until it becomes a slush and serve it with a ladle into short fat highball glasses.

It stays slushy for most of the evening, and if there’s any left in the punch bowl, I pour it back into the ice cream bucket and return it to the deep freeze. You can take the bucket of frozen slush out of the freezer and use an anti-freeze ice cream scoop to dig out a single serving if you like.

I have held this frozen cranberry bourbon slush cocktail in the deep freeze for months, and when I take it out, I might refresh it with more cranberry juice for color and 7Up for carbonization. If you feel like adding bourbon, you can, but don’t go overboard.

This would be a very refreshing summer drink, too, so tuck this cranberry bourbon slush recipe away for a hot summer night when you are having guests!

Yield: 20 cocktails

Cranberry Bourbon Slush

Cranberry Bourbon Slush

A festive and beautiful frozen drink that's great any time of year.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes


  • 2 quarts Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Coctail
  • 1 quart 7-up or Sprite
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1 cup Bourbon Whiskey
  • Fresh cranberries and orange slices for garnish, if desired.


  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Freeze overnight or longer in a tightly sealed container like an ice cream bucket.
  3. Set out two hours before your event.
  4. Invert the bucket into a punch bowl and break the frozen drink into slush.
  5. Garnish with fresh cranberries and orange slices if desired.

If you ever serve alcohol at a party, it’s very important to have food, and we have a groaning table of goodies at our cookie exchange. Some of our old standbys are Chipped Beef Dip, Ten-Minute Cheesball, Bruschetta, and Rosalind Carter’s famous Festive Cheese Ring!

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