Best Boozy Cranberry Sauce

When I was growing up, cranberry sauce was always an afterthought at holiday dinners. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was only exposed to the canned, gelatinous mass of cranberry sauce “jelly” that came out with a plop. But over my years of serving Thanksgiving dinner to my own family and various invited guests, I have experimented with fresh cranberries as the main ingredient of that side dish.

I came upon this simple recipe on Eat, Love, Run and it was an instant hit. It has just a few ingredients, and for me, it is blessedly free of weird flavors. Just cranberry and sugar and something to give it a little kick!

Of course by the time I go to make the cranberry sauce I’m out of bourbon, so I usually just use whatever I have on hand. Here’s my lazy version of this unsung Thanksgiving dinner hero.

Boozy Cranberry Sauce


12 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp whiskey, brandy, or bourbon (I used Seagram’s 7 this time!)
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst and begin to break down, about 10-15 minutes. Stir well and remove from heat. I like to mash the rest of the un-split cranberries with a potato masher to release more jelly. Let cool for 20 minutes before storing in refrigerator for dinner the next day.


This dish was my quick and easy contribution to a “Friendsgiving” brunch that my friend Jennifer hosted. She set the bar very high with her beautifully set table. But my boozy cranberry sauce was a hit and one friend said that it was the best she’d ever had, so I had to share it with you!

If you’re surfing for Thanksgiving dinner side dish recipes, this week Savvy Sassy Moms is doing a blog hop featuring holiday dinner sides. Check out this great looking recipe for perfect herbed mashed potatoes, and the links at the bottom with more great ideas!

Night School Is In Session – Introduction to Brown Spirits at PS 805

Now that Halloween is done, it’s time to get acquainted with spirits of a different kind.

whiskey class
I’ve been to PS 805 twice now, once for their opening and once for a casual dining and drinking experience with several friends. Both times the food was excellent. I fondly remember the drinks, too. My favorite part of both evenings, though, was the atmosphere at the restaurant. The interior dining room, the bar tables, and the covered outdoor area are all abuzz with conversation and energy during the dinner and late-dinner hours. What better place to learn more about cocktails and how to make them?
Next week, for a pretty low price, cozy up to the bar with 9 of your new best friends for “Introduction to Brown Spirits – A Drinking & Eating Class.”

– A Brief History of Brown Spirits with Public School Mixologist Colin Kerr

– Four Classic Cocktails illustrating the differences in Brown Spirits

– Four Seasonal Chef Bite Creations, incorporating whiskey in each dish and created by Head Chef Nathan Heartman

– 10 Seats Only

– Nightly at 6pm Monday, November 18th – Wednesday, November 20th

– By reservation only, $25 per person.

– Call to make a reservation early: (805) 379-3909

Since there are only 10 seats for each of the 3 sessions, you should probably get on this right now.