Around the holidays, the alcohol flows freely at our house — in our glasses and on our plates — and one our traditions is some version of a boozy cranberry sauce.

For this year’s super-simple recipe, fresh cranberries and canned Mandarin oranges are finished with a generous shot of Grand Marnier, an orange-flavored cognac liqueur (but you can use any orange liqueur). The sweetness and slight acidity of the Grand Marnier — which is added toward the end so it doesn’t completely cook out — is the perfect complement for tart cranberries. And the Mandarin oranges help bring out the flavors of the liqueur. They’ll pretty much disappear into the sauce so it still looks like a much nicer version of that traditional red glop everyone knows and doesn’t really love — until now!

This boozy Cranberry-Orange Sauce will be amazing on your Thanksgiving turkey and even better on your Day-After-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich (look out for that recipe next week). You’ll get about one pint of sauce, and it will keep in a Mason jar or another air-tight container in the fridge for a few weeks, so you can definitely make it ahead of time.


Boozy Cranberry-Orange Sauce
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 11-ounce can of Mandarin Oranges, with syrup
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
¼ cup orange liqueur
Lime zest


Add the cranberries, oranges (with their syrup), water, and sugar to a saucepan over medium heat, stir and let it cook until the cranberries are soft, and a red foam has formed, about 20 minutes.

Mash the cranberries and oranges with a wooden spoon, reduce the heat to low, then add the lime juice and orange liqueur. Mix well and let it simmer until it has reduced to a sauce-like texture, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest.