Rinse and sort the cranberries: This is optional because the cranberries often come prewashed before packaging. However, it’s important to pick out the bad ones before cooking them.
Combine all ingredients: Place the cranberries in a medium saucepan, add the water, orange juice, sugar or maple syrup, a pinch of salt, and one, two, or all the add in’s.
Boil: Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered until the cranberries begin to burst stirring occasionally—about 10 minutes. Cook for a few more minutes or mash a bit for a smoother sauce.
Leave to cool: The sauce thickens as it cools, so leave to cool for a bit. Serve or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.