Homemade Cranberry Liqueur

Homemade Cranberry Liqueur in glasses and a bottle

The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Cooling and Sitting Time: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
297 Calories
0g Fat
56g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 297
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 52g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 5mg 26%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 110mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

We make big batches of this every year and give as some as gifts. But most of it goes toward making affordable sparkling wine into delicious cranberry kir royales, with the cranberry liqueur taking the place of traditional crème de cassis, at whatever holiday festivities we manage to pull together at our house. This has led to this concoction being called crème de cranberry by some. Of course, the real French would be crème de canneberge, but, somehow, that's less funny to my ear.

Note that the wine in this recipe gets cooked. No need for anything fancy. You want something you ​could drink (i.e., no "cooking wine"), but nothing more. Also, I like to use a decent-but-not-fancy brandy at the end for the added flavor notes, but plain vodka works just fine, especially if you're going to use the final liqueur to mix in cocktails.


  • 16 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen

  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle red wine

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 1 cup brandy, or other distilled liquor

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Homemade Cranberry Liqueur ingredients

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  2. Rinse and pick over the cranberries, discarding any shriveled berries or ones that just look icky.

    Cranberries in a glass bowl with water

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  3. Combine the wine and sugar in a medium pot and bring the mixture just to a boil, stirring as necessary to dissolve the sugar completely.

    Combine the wine and sugar in a medium pot on a burner, and stir with a spatula

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  4. Add the cranberries and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook just until a cranberry or two pops, which should take about 2 minutes. If none are popping open, increase the heat a bit until one does.

    Cranberries cooking with the wine and sugar mixture in the pot, on a burner

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  5. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let sit until it's cooled off completely, which will take a few hours. Feel free to let it sit overnight, if you like.

    Wine mixture with cranberries poured into a strainer over a bowl

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  6. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or several layers of cheesecloth into a large bowl.

    Wine mixture with cranberries poured into a strainer over a bowl

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  7. Add the brandy or other liquor. Transfer the mixture to a clean, sealable bottle or other container(s). Seal or cover and let sit at room temperature for at least three days before serving.

    Homemade Cranberry Liqueur poured into a glass bottle with a funnel

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar


The liqueur will keep a good long time at room temperature—it's sugar and booze, both of which are excellent natural preservatives. Feel free to keep it in the fridge, though, if storing it at room temperature makes you nervous (or you have more space in your fridge than in your cupboard). I make big batches every late November or early December and have kept a few bottles both in the back of the fridge and on a shelf in the closet. Bottles stored in both places have been known to last perfectly well for over a year.