Cranberry Margarita

published Nov 12, 2021
Cranberry Margarita Recipe

The tartness of the cranberries pairs beautifully with the classic margarita trifecta: tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.

Serves1

Prep5 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Drew Aichele

Whenever I’m out for a drink, I will almost always order a margarita. Tequila is hands-down my liquor of choice, and there’s something timeless about the classic three-ingredient cocktail. Plus, there are no shortage of varieties to try, from frozen to flavored.

Today, I’m sharing my latest favorite flavor: cranberry! The tartness of the cranberries pairs beautifully with the tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice, and you avoid the overly sweet taste that often plagues a flavored marg. This result is a simple, straightforward, and incredibly festive cocktail — the perfect addition to any holiday spread.

Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Drew Aichele

What Type of Cranberry Juice Should I Use?

The best juice for a cranberry margarita is no-sugar-added cranberry juice blend, which is typically a blend of four different juices from concentrate (cranberry, grape, apple, and pear juice). The tart cranberry juice is the most prominent, while the other juices lend a natural sweetness that balances it all out. If you can’t find it, here are a few alternatives.

  • 100% unsweetened cranberry juice: This juice is made entirely from cranberries, resulting in a cranberry-forward margarita but also a very, very tart one. If you go this route, you’ll want to use less cranberry juice and add simple syrup to the cocktail. (You can find this variation in the Recipe Notes below).
  • Cranberry juice cocktail: This juice is also 100% cranberry juice, but with added sugar. It can be used interchangeably with the no-sugar blend.

What Tequila Should I Use?

This recipe calls for silver tequila. Silver tequila packs more of a punch than gold tequila, which has aged for longer and has more of a mellow taste. My general rule is to use silver tequila in mixed drinks and gold tequila when I’m taking a shot.

How to Serve a Cranberry Margarita

To make this drink look and feel extra special, I like to line the rim of each glass with salt and garnish with fresh cranberries.

Cranberry Margarita Recipe

The tartness of the cranberries pairs beautifully with the classic margarita trifecta: tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.

Prep time 5 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

Salt rim (optional):

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 1

    lime wedge

For the cocktail:

  • Ice

  • 3 ounces

    no-sugar-added cranberry juice blend

  • 1 1/2 ounces

    tequila blanco

  • 3/4 ounce

    freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 medium lime)

  • 1/2 ounce

    orange liqueur, such as Cointreau

  • Fresh cranberries, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

For the salt rim:

  1. Cut a wedge from 1 medium lime, reserving the rest of the lime for the cocktail. Pour 1 tablespoon kosher salt into a small dish. Moisten the rim of a 12-ounce glass with the lime wedge. Invert the glass into the salt, turning it as needed, to coat the rim.

For the cocktail:

  1. Fill a 10- or 12-ounce Old-Fashioned glass with ice. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and add 3 ounces cranberry juice, 1 1/2 ounces tequila blanco, 3/4 ounce lime juice, and 1/2 ounces orange liqueur. Seal the shaker and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosty, about 20 seconds. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into the glass. Garnish with cranberries if desired.

Recipe Notes

Unsweetened Cranberry Juice variation:
1 1/2 ounces tequila blanco
1 ounce 100% unsweetened cranberry juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1/2 medium lime)
1/2 ounce orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
Fresh or frozen cranberries, for garnish (optional)