Boozy Cranberry Sauce

So, cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving tradition. Some people like it from a can with ridges, others like chunky, some like it smooth. Personally, I like it fresh and boozy. This recipe is a twist on the… usual.

I’ve been running this food blog for over three years, and the photo above marks my favorite photo yet. Beautiful, right? It has been the background on my computer for weeks.

I spent last weekend in Red Lodge, Montana. Every time I am there, I tell Mike I never want to leave, and I mean it. Then I start missing my dog and before I know it I’m anxious to go home. It’s funny how that tiny 20 pound thing stole our hearts just a few days after we brought her home. More on Red Lodge later this week.

Back to the matter at hand. Cranberry sauce always seems a bit controversial. You either like it or you hate it. Or you can’t have it unless it has ridges and it’s from a can. Or you can’t stand the idea of anything from a can and you need it fresh. Regardless of where you stand, this recipe is one you should try. It’s fresh and boozy and it’s just a little bit off the beaten path.

Personally, I think the key to throwing a successful Thanksgiving dinner is to have a few sides pre-made the day before. That way, on Thanksgiving you have fewer stressors, more time to catch up with family, kiss sweet baby cheeks, watch football and drink wine. :)


Boozy Cranberry Sauce

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


2 (12oz.) bags of cranberries
1/3 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of dried apricots, cut in half
1/2 cup of dried plums, cut in half
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch cloves
1 pinch nutmeg
3 teaspoons fresh orange zest
1/4 cup of brandy, optional


Dump all of your ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer until all of the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Add more orange juice or water if necessary. Stir frequently.

Store in an air tight container and serve cold.


Add a few sliced almonds if you're in the mood.



6 Responses to “Boozy Cranberry Sauce”

  1. #
    carrie@bakeaholicmama — November 4, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I like any kind of boozy side dish on Thanksgiving. This sounds so good!

    • Mackenzie — November 4th, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

      You and me both girl!!

  2. #
    laurasmess — November 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Oh my GOSH. This sounds so, so good! Mackenzie, you’ve just inspired a cranberry hunt… not sure if you already found this out during your trip here, but most Aussies end up having a jar of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce on the table at Christmas. Cranberries aren’t grown in this country so we eat dried ones in packets, pressed ones in juice or congealed ones sealed in jars (oh, and all of those options are imported). Hm. If I can’t find cranberries i might try this recipe with a bag of frozen redcurrants. Redcurrant jelly is similar, right? Oh, and that glossy reduced mixture in the pot? Gorgeous. I would totally put that on my PC wallpaper right next to the first photo…. xx

  3. #
    Nicole — November 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I really wish you would have posted this before my Friendsgiving last week!

  4. #
    Emily {Jelly Toast} — November 8, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Woah, I’m a huge cranberry sauce girl, and the addition of a bit of booze? Fabulous!! I seriously need to give this a try! My mind is blown…In a good way, of course ;)

    • Mackenzie — November 8th, 2013 @ 7:46 am

      Just a touch of booze is always a welcome addition! ;)