Bourbon Cranberry Compote

Cranberry sauce is one of those great “make-ahead” Thanksgiving or Christmas dishes, and now that we see how easy it is to make at home, we’ll never suffer through a slice of the canned stuff (with can lines intact) ever again. This cranberry sauce is cooked just until cranberries begin to split, which helps them retain a lot of their character and keeps them from turning into too much of a gluey mess. Don’t leave your simmering cranberries unattended. If they boil, they will foam up and out of the saucepan. If this starts to happen, reduce heat and give a quick stir.

And, of course, adding bourbon to a dish never hurts. It simmers long enough to cook off all the alcohol, but not all of the taste; this cranberry sauce ends up just the right amount of boozy. And if you’ve never thought that cranberry sauce should be “boozy,” you’ve never spent the holidays at our house.

Bourbon Cranberry Compote
Adapted from a recipe in Real Simple


  • 1 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon


Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely (or chill) before serving.


Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road." He currently owns and operates the Ancho Honey restaurant in Maine.


  1. Perfect! I love all five of those ingredients…..some more than others. Our’s had orange, dates, and balsamic. Hope you and your’s had a wonderful day!

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