As far as I’m concerned, Thanksgiving means Cranberries!  And this year, if you’re going to be hanging out with your family cooking all morning, I think you should have a cranberry cocktail in your hand!

My plan was to create a tasty cranberry syrup that you’ll be able to use in multiple ways.  Originally I started with fresh cranberries.  I tried roasting them, I tried chopping them up fresh to make a fresh “cranberry-cello” liqueur… and I wasn’t happy with either one!  Roasting was just too much work and the liqueur was tasty but really just didn’t taste much like cranberries.

What about… Cranberry Sauce?

It’s not uncommon for bartenders to use jellies or preserves as a “short cut” for getting a great “cooked fruit” flavor into their drinks.  After all, someone else has already gone through all of the trouble of finding the fruit, liquifying it and adding sugar.  What’s not to love?

So when we started planning out some tasty Thanksgiving cocktails and started considering Cranberries, I couldn’t help but wonder – what if we could use canned cranberry sauce?

The Secret Ingredient

I made a simple cranberry syrup made with jellied cranberry sauce and simple syrup.  I don’t know why I never thought about it before – but I’m glad I tried it.  So go check out your pantry, you might have everything you need to make these awesome drinks!

Before I show you the cocktails, here’s the recipe for the syrup:

Easy Cranberry Cocktail Syrup

This delicious syrup is perfect for cocktails and made using - surprise - a can of jellied cranberry sauce!
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 20 cocktails


  • 1 can Jellied Cranberry Sauce (14 oz)
  • 2/3 cup White Sugar
  • 2/3 cup water


  • Put the water and sugar in a large microwaveable cup or bowl, and microwave on high for 30-second intervals until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Empty the cranberry sauce into another large microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 30 second intervals until the cranberry sauce has melted into a thick syrup. Stir in between each interval
  • Slowly combine the sugar syrup and the cranberry sauce. Whisk together until completely smooth.