Made with cranberry juice, tequila, orange liqueur, and lime, this cranberry margarita is a perfectly balanced cocktail that is delicious any time of year but especially welcome during the chilly fall and winter months.
The deep red colour from the vibrant, tart cranberry juice will look stunning on your holiday table. Decorate with sprigs of rosemary and sugared cranberries for a pretty mistletoe margarita, or simply rim the glass with margarita salt. This drink comes together in minutes with just a few ingredients.
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What is a Cranberry Margarita?
A cranberry margarita is a beautiful and refreshing cocktail made with fresh cranberry juice, tequila, orange liqueur and lime.
This cocktail is simply shaken and then poured into glasses that have been filled with ice.
This margarita has a bold, tart flavour from the cranberry and is slightly sweet from the tequila and orange liqueur. The balanced flavours of this cocktail are refreshing any time of the year but make an especially festive cocktail around the holidays, such as Christmas and New Year’s.
It can be dressed up with a sprig of fragrant rosemary and a skewer of sugared cranberries to make a beautiful mistletoe margarita to serve with Christmas brunch or parties.
This margarita is quick and easy to make and can be made into a larger pitcher if you want to serve a crowd. You can mix all of the ingredients ahead of time and simply shake them with some ice when ready to serve.
You will want to serve this cocktail over a glass that has been filled with ice to keep it cool and refreshing. The more ice you use, the colder and less watered down the drink will become, so be sure to use a lot of ice.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Cranberry, or mistletoe margaritas, come together with just a few ingredients. You will need the following:
- Tequila Blanco – You can choose your favourite brand, but we do highly recommend choosing one that is of good quality for the best flavour. If you are new to tequila and need help selecting one to try then you can check out the list of the top 10 tequilas for margaritas. It will give you a good overview and help you decide which one is right for you.
- Orange liqueur – We like Triple Sec for its vibrant orange flavour and because it is affordable and readily available. You can use Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or even orange curacao, but each will lend a slightly different flavour to the finished drink.
- Cranberry juice – Choose real cranberry juice for this recipe rather than cranberry cocktail for best flavour.
- Ice – Ice cubes are prefered over crushed ice. Crushed ice will melt faster, resulting in a watered down drink. If you can find clear, purified ice, even better. You should be able to locate it in most grocery stores or gas stations and some fast food restaraunts will even sell you some. Be sure to use lots!
- Garnish – Margarita salt, sugared cranberries, lime slices, or fresh rosemary sprigs all make pretty garnishes for this simple cocktail.
Pro Tip – Be sure to use real cranberry juice for this recipe instead of a cranberry cocktail, as it will give it a better flavour and brighter colour. Cranberry cocktail can be substituted, if needed, but will result in a sweeter drink with a slightly different flavour.
Step by Step Instructions
All you need to do to make this delicious cranberry margarita is measure the ingredients into a cocktail shaker that has been filled with ice.
Shake the margarita for approximately 20 seconds or until the outside of the shaker is frosty and cold.
Pour the margaritas into two cocktail glasses and garnish as desired.
You can rim your glasses with margarita salt before you pour your margarita if you like. Cut a wedge from a lime and run it along the rim of the glass, then dip it in a shallow bowl of margarita salt.
While you really don’t need anything other than something to shake the cocktail and a couple of glasses, there are some things that will make your cocktail experience more enjoyable.
Cocktail shaker – A cocktail shaker will help you mix your drinks quickly while chilling them. There are many styles to choose from, and you don’t need anything fancy. One of my favourites is a mason jar style shaker, and if you don’t have a proper cocktail shaker, a mason jar with a lid will work too.
Cocktail glasses – Any cocktail glasses will work for shaken margaritas. I like to use whisky glasses; they are versatile, stable and easy to hold. But you could use traditional margarita glasses if you prefer.
Jigger – A jigger will allow you to measure your ingredients precisely. It is small and designed to measure and pour the smaller quantities that are generally used in cocktails. You can use a small measuring cup or glass if you don’t have a jigger.
Cocktail picks – Cocktail picks are not essential but will allow you to add fun garnishes without them falling to the bottom of the glass.
Top Tips & FAQS
While making it at the time of serving is best, you can mix it ahead of time if needed. Mix all of the ingredients except the ice. When it comes time to serve, just add some ice to a cocktail shaker, add some of your premixed cocktails, shake and serve.
More Cranberry Recipes
More Holiday Drinks
- 3 oz tequila blanco
- 2 oz triple sec
- 1 oz lime juice freshly squeezed
- 6 oz cranberry juice 100% pure
- Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice.
- Measure and pour the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and cranberry juice into the cocktail shaker.
- Place the lid on the shaker and shake for 20-30 seconds or until the outside of the shaker is frosty and cold.
- Fill two cocktail glasses with ice and pour the margarita.
- Garnish as desired with sugared cranberries, rosemary sprigs, or lime wedges.
- This recipe can be scaled as needed. To make a single drink, divide the ingredients in half.
- Ice cubes are preferred over crushed ice as crushed ice will melt faster and dilute the drink.
- Select a good quality tequila blanco for this recipe for the best flavour.
- Triple sec can be substituted with Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or Orange
Curaçao, but it will change the flavour profile slightly.
- Choose 100% cranberry juice for the best result. Cranberry cocktail will result in a sweeter drink and less pure flavour.
- If you want to rim the glass with margarita salt, run a lime wedge around the edge, then dip the glass in a shallow dish of salt before filling it with ice.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.