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Who says summer has to own margaritas? This Cranberry Margarita recipe is going to change the way you look at margaritas!
By infusing a classic margarita with seasonal flavors like cranberry, orange and maple, we can transform our favorite summer cocktail into a sparkling holiday sipper.
This cranberry tequila cocktail is one of my favorite things to serve during the holiday season. Because really, who doesn’t love a margarita?
Whether you’re enjoying a cozy night at home or partying like it’s 1999 on New Years, I promise you’re going to love celebrating with this festive cocktail!
Ingredients for this Cranberry Margarita
Just a few simple ingredients is all it takes to create this cranberry tequila cocktail:
- Tequila. Look for a quality brand of silver tequila or blanco tequila. See the section below to learn more about how to choose the right type of tequila for a margarita.
- Cranberry juice. Sweetened or unsweetened? It’s really up to you. More on that in the section below.
- Triple sec. This is the generic term for orange liqueur. The brand or type of orange liqueur doesn’t matter, so just choose one that you like.
- Maple syrup. We’re using maple syrup instead of regular simple syrup to add an autumnal, holiday essence to this cranberry cocktail.
- Club soda. Just a splash on top will make this refreshing cocktail really sparkle.
- Lime. A standard ingredient in the classic cocktail, we’ll use it in this margarita as a garnish.
How to Make this Cranberry Margarita
Prepare the salted rim
First, zest the lime and combine the zest with margarita salt. If you don’t have margarita salt, substitute with either kosher salt or flaky sea salt. They both have the larger crystals that we’re looking for.
Once you’ve zested the lime, cut it open and rub it on the rim of your margarita glass. Then, dip the rim of the glass into the lime salt. Set the glass aside while you craft the cocktail.
Create the cocktail
Fill your margarita glass with ice. Pour the tequila, cranberry juice, triple sec and maple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Give the cocktail a good shake and pour it into your glass. So easy!
What’s the best tequila to use for this Cranberry Margarita?
There are several types of tequila, so it’s important to know which kind is best for making a margarita. Here are some general guidelines:
- Silver/Blanco Tequila: Silver tequila, also known as blanco, is the most commonly used tequila for margaritas, and it’s an excellent choice for a cranberry margarita. This tequila variety is unaged and has a crisp and clear taste, which offers a perfect balance to the cranberry’s tartness.
- Reposado Tequila: For those seeking a slightly more complex and nuanced cranberry margarita, a reposado tequila could be an excellent choice. Aged in oak barrels for a few months, reposado tequila has a subtle woodsy character, adding depth and warmth to the cocktail while still allowing the cranberry to shine.
- Añejo Tequila: While not a traditional choice for margaritas, an añejo tequila’s rich and oaky profile can lend a unique, upscale twist to the cranberry margarita. The cranberry’s tanginess will harmonize beautifully with the tequila’s complex flavors, creating a sophisticated and elegant cocktail.
What kind of cranberry juice should you use for this cranberry margarita?
Choosing the right cranberry juice for your cranberry margarita is almost as important as choosing the right tequila. You’ve got two basic options: sweetened cranberry juice (or cranberry juice cocktail), which is more common in stores, or unsweetened cranberry juice, which is a bit harder to find but preferred by mixologists.
- Sweetened Cranberry Juice: Also known as cranberry juice cocktail, this variety of cranberry juice is readily available and typically contains added sugars. It can make for a sweeter cranberry margarita, which appeals to many people. Cranberry juice cocktail is also a brighter shade of red than unsweetened juice, which can make your cocktail more visually appealing.
- Unsweetened Cranberry Juice: For a purer, more tangy cranberry margarita, unsweetened cranberry juice is the right choice. A tart cranberry juice is favored by those who appreciate the bold, zesty character of the cranberry, as it ensures a less sugary, more refreshing cocktail.
How to make a Pitcher of Cranberry Margaritas
If you’re hosting a happy hour or holiday party, why not whip up a big batch of these cranberry margaritas? They’re a total hit at our holiday parties!
Here’s what to do:
For a pitcher that will serve 10 people, combine the following ingredients in these measurements:
- 3 3/4 cups tequila
- 2 1/2 cups cranberry juice
- 1 1/4 cups triple sec
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
Stir everything together vigorously and store in the refrigerator in a covered container. When you’re ready to serve your margaritas, give the pitcher another good stir. Set the pitcher next to a bucket of ice for your guests.
Serve the pitcher of margaritas along with lime wedges or other fresh fruit like cranberries or oranges. Put the homemade lime salt in a small dish for those who want to rim their glass.
When you make this Cranberry Margarita, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Cheers!
For more holiday drink recipes, try these:
- Creamy Pumpkin Spice Martini
- Cranberry Ginger Cocktail (A Thanksgiving Gin Drink)
- Holiday Moscow Mule with Pomegranate & Sage
- Apple Butter Vodka Cocktail
- Fig Old Fashioned Cocktail
Cranberry Margarita Recipe (Easy Tequila Cocktail)
- 3 oz. tequila blanco or silver
- 2 oz. cranberry juice
- 1 oz. triple sec
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 lime
- 2 Tbsp. margarita salt or kosher salt/sea salt
- club soda for topping off
- Zest the lime. Combine the lime zest and margarita salt in a shallow bowl or small dish. Moisten the rim of a glass with lime juice. Dip the glass in the lime salt to coat the rim. Set aside.
- Pour cranberry juice, tequila, triple sec and maple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds.
- Fill the glass with ice. Pour the margarita into the glass. Top off with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge and fresh cranberries, if desired.