Holiday Recipe: Cranberry Sauce Cocktail From Micah Wilder

The redheaded stepchild of leftovers gets its due glory in this boozy, cranberry-infused cocktail.

Micah Wilder makes use of leftover cranberry sauce in a mint-julep-like cobbler. Photograph courtesy Shutterstock.

We love Thanksgiving for the leftovers nearly as much as the real deal, but when it comes to that bowl of cranberry sauce, there’s little you can do besides spread it on a sandwich. Until now, that is. We challenged mixologist Micah Wilder—half of the brotherly team behind the creative libations at Pearl Dive/Black Jack and other Black Restaurant Group spots—to concoct a seasonal sip with the tart condiment.

The result: a twist on a cobbler—usually a base spirit (often wine; the sherry cobbler is a classic) with a bit of sugar and fruit and lots of crushed ice as in a mint julep.

Here’s the real beauty of this drink: Whether your sauce of choice is a homemade blend or Ocean Spray straight from the can, you can use it to make Wilder’s sweet cranberry syrup. The recipe makes more than you’ll need for a round of cocktails, but the festive flavoring will keep through the holidays, so you can mix it with rye or a nice Highland Scotch for a Christmasy cocktail come December.

Micah Wilder’s Cape Cobbler


Cranberry Syrup:

(Makes roughly 2 cups of cocktail syrup)

1 cup cranberry sauce
¾ cup honey, such as orange blossom
½ cup water


(Makes 1 cocktail)

6 healthy leaves of mint
2 ounces Bulleit Bourbon
¾ ounce apricot liqueur, such as Rothman & Winter brand
½ ounce lemon juice
1 ounce cranberry syrup
2 dashes of orange bitters, preferably Reagan’s


Combine all the syrup ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and stir together until combined. Strain through a fine sieve and let cool.

Add ice cubes to a cocktail shaker until its about half-way full, add mint and gently muddle until the ice crushes and the mint releases aromas. Pour the crushed ice into a julep tin or heavy-bottomed glass.

Shake the rest of cobbler ingredients together and strain over the ice.

Garnish with a sprig of mint, a segment of fruit like an apricot, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.