Dessert, Eat, Entertaining, Recipes

Orange Brandy Cranberry Sauce

I’m a big fan of recipes that call for 5 ingredients or less, like the first turkey I ever made. So, when Friendsgiving was on the books, I volunteered for my favorite Thanksgiving dish, cranberry sauce. But, I like to put a spin on the vibrant bright and burgundy side dish classic that I think should be the star of the show – sorry, Turkey. When I found this Orange Bourbon Cranberry Sauce recipe from Gimme Some Oven on Pinterest, I was hooked. But, I put a spin on the spin, since I didn’t have brown sugar, and I had brandy instead of bourbon from my trial with light tiramisu. The tangy, sweet and sour, citrus-y ingredients reminded me of the traditional sangria flavors, minus the wine – but the color was definitely reminiscent.

Orange brandy cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving

The other modification I made (aside from replacing the brown sugar with cane sugar and using brandy instead of bourbon) was including orange segments in addition to the rind into the mixture. It added additional juicy texture and refreshing flavors that sweetened up the tart cranberries.


The result was so tasty, and the batch made enough for Friendsgiving dinner and mix-in for the apple pie and vanilla ice cream, cocktails the following weekend, topping cinnamon toast for breakfast, and fancying up the one-bowl chocolate brownies I made last weekend to end homemade dinner on a sweet note. I found some clever cocktail recipes for leftover cranberry sauce, but my friends and I went with muddled cranberry sauce, brandy, tonic water, and lime. (You could also use vodka and soda as mixers after muddling the cranberry sauce, and mixing well.)

I never realized how versatile from-scratch cranberry sauce is and I’m using every last spoonful in as many ways as possible to take advantage of the in-season fall fruit. Check out the recipe below:



Orange Brandy Cranberry Sauce (modified from Gimme Some Oven)


  • 2 bags of fresh cranberries
  • 1 3/4 cups of cane sugar
  • 3/4 cups of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 cups of water
  • Orange segments from the orange used for shaved rind
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1-2 Tbsp. of brandy or bourbon


  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium and cook on medium-high for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced, stirring occasionally. Once most of the cranberries have popped, remove from heat and let rest for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Serve garnished with extra orange [zest|.
  3. Or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. (Simply rewarm the cranberries later to serve, serve room temperature, or cold like jam.)

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!

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