Looking for a quick and easy holiday cocktail? Look no further than this bright, vibrant cranberry margarita! Fresh cranberries add color, while tart cranberry juice plays perfectly against sweet orange liqueur, fresh lime juice, and of course, tequila.
I remember the first time I tried a real margarita (as opposed to the frozen rail version most of us are used to). This was smooth and crisp; a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness.
It was a revelation! I typically consider this to be a summer drink, but there’s no reason to limit it. Margaritas work wonderfully with seasonal ingredients like cranberries, pomegranates and blood oranges, making them a great choice if you’re looking for a holiday cocktail.
(Speaking of which, if you’re more of a gin fan, I highly recommend my blood orange gin and tonic).
- You can either purchase fresh cranberries and freeze them ahead of time, or buy them already frozen. Go with what’s available or what you prefer.
- Always use fresh squeezed lime juice as opposed to bottled. The bottled varieties tend to have an aftertaste that will be especially noticeable when there are so few ingredients.
- Don’t substitute 100% cranberry juice for the cranberry juice cocktail; it will be too sour. Trust me on this; I tried.
- These margaritas truly shine when you use quality ingredients. Good tequila and orange liquor can be pricy, but they make a huge difference.
- I’m usually a big fan of Grand Marnier when it comes to orange liqueur (check out my Orange Grand Marnier Skillet Jam), but I especially love the way Cointreu tastes in a margarita.
- 1/4 cup kosher salt (optional; for rimming the glass)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional; for rimming the glass)
- 1/2 cup frozen cranberries (see notes)
- 4 ounces good quality tequila, such Casa Noble
- 4 ounces good quality orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
- 6 ounces cranberry juice cocktail (see notes)
- 1 1/2-2 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
- Combine the salt and sugar in a small bowl. Spread in a thin, even layer on a small plate. Run a lime wedge around the rim of each serving glass and dip in the sugar salt mix. Fill each glass with ice and top with the cranberries.
- In a cocktail shaker filled with ice (or a liquid measuring cup), combine the tequila, orange liqueur, cranberry juice cocktail, and lime juice. Shake (or stir) to combine.
- Pour into the prepared glasses. Garnish with lime wedges and serve.
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