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Spiked Cranberry Sauce with Hard Cider and Spiced Rum

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Spiked Cranberry Sauce with Hard Cider and Spiced Rum ~ better set aside a few of grandma’s crystal bowls for this sauce, it’s going to be popular.

It looks like ordinary cranberry sauce, and that’s just the way I usually make it.  I think plain old cranberry sauce is one of the highlights of holiday meals, and I buy cranberries the minute they come into the stores so I can start making it.  I don’t like it overly sweet, and I don’t like to mask the flavor of the berries, but it seems to me that the simple recipe on the back of the bag just begs for variations.  I’ll admit the difference is subtle, but the warmth of spiced rum and the distinctive twang of hard cider in this variation won’t be lost on anyone.

I’m sharing this recipe with you plenty early so you’ll have time to try it out a few times before the big day.  The alcohol burns off and the flavors of the rum, cider, cloves and dark brown sugar concentrate as it simmers.

Cranberries are such versatile fruits, I keep bags in the freezer all year long so I don’t miss out once the season’s passed.  My HOT PEPPER CRANBERRY RELISH is one of our favorites, we use it on cheese plates throughout the year.  The heat of the peppers with the sweet tang of the cranberries is to die for!

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Spiked Cranberry Sauce with Hard Cider and Spiced Rum


  • 1 12 oz bottle of hard cider
  • 1 50 ml bottle spiced rum You don't need to buy a big bottle, use a mini!
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 12 oz package of cranberries rinsed


  • Bring the cider, rum, sugar and cloves to a boil in a 2 qt saucepan. Let it boil for about 10 minutes until reduced to about a cup.
  • Fish out the cloves, and then add in the cranberries. Bring back to a boil. After the cranberries begin to pop, boil gently for about 6 minutes until the sauce is deep red and thickened. Let cool in the pan, and then pour into a serving dish or storage container. The cranberry sauce will thicken further as it cools.

Make it your own ~

  • You can spike cranberry sauce with all kinds of alcohol and liqueur, so experiment with your favorites.


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  • Reply
    December 2, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Found this on Pinterest last minute this year for Thanksgiving and will be making this every year from here on out. DELICIOUS! Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 2, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      Yay for Pinterest, I’m so glad you found it Amanda! We made our cranberry sauce with cinnamon and spiced rum this year and it was fabulous. Thanks for taking to time to let me know!

  • Reply
    Susan Lindquist
    October 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I’ve been looking around for a newer version of cranberry sauce … it being Fall and all … will be trying this version!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    October 23, 2012 at 9:29 am

    How rich and red do those cranberries look. Cider and rum just screams Christmas!

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    October 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    oh yum! I can think of a million things to put this one! How creative

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    October 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Sue, you made such a fun and I’m sure, delicious variation. I’m tasting, in my head, how amazing this must be! I just happen to have a BIG bottle of the spiced rum so all I need is the cider, YUM! I bet this would also be yummy on crackers with a bit of Brie and a sprinkle of fresh herbs!

  • Reply
    Cathy at Wives with Knives
    October 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    How did you know that I just put a bottle of spiced rum into the cupboard? I’m using it to make vanilla…and now some cranberry sauce as well.

  • Reply
    Eat Live Love
    October 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Beautiful pictures! And it looks delicious!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    oh man, this is happening ASAP! I have a note on my food list to try a spiked cranberry sauce. You literally read my mind! Thanks again!!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Hi Sue,
    Sounds interesting! Want to mention I just saw the Minimal Mondays and Cookie tabs (in addition to the 5 o’clock Fridays tab I saw a bit ago) and want to say Thank YOU! They are awesome… will help immensely!

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    October 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Love the boozed up version! I love cranberry sauce that I’ve spiked…with everything from mangoes to rum to vanilla. Need to try your hard cider idea next!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I’ve been pondering homemade cranberry sauce this year – and this sounds wonderful. I have leftover spiced rum too – it’s a sign! Thanks Sue 🙂