So I don’t mean to be a total hater, but eggnog is kind of the worst. Like, who made eggnog the king of Christmas beverages? Not anyone I know! I mean look, I know that in theory people like eggnog. There has to be a reason it is as popular as it is. I guess the origin of its popularity is irrelevant. I’m never going to drink it. My point in this rant is to make you aware that there are in fact other festive things you can be drinking during the holidays. These Cranberry Margaritas are the perfect example. Do yourself and your guests a favor and serve these instead of the nog. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Let’s learn how to make them!
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Ingredients Needed for Cranberry Margaritas
- 100% Cranberry Juice: For this particular drink it is important to use 100% unsweetened cranberry juice. It’s important to realize that this will allow you to control the sweetness of each individual cocktail you make with the simple syrup, removing the guesswork.
- Tequila: I am not a tequila snob by any means. As far as I’m concerned, any tequila will do in this drink. However, if you are keen to do this properly, you should know that using silver tequila (blanco), will give your margarita a clean, agave-forward flavor.
- Orange Liqueur: In recipes, orange liqueur can also be called Triple Sec or Curaçao. While these are often confused as brands of orange liqueur, they are actually additional generic terms for the same ingredient. The most well-known brands of orange liqueur are Cointreau and Grand Marnier. When used in baking, orange liqueur adds a nice punch of citrusy orange flavor without the falseness that typically accompanies an extract. When added to cocktails and other beverages, it supplies a kind of orange perfume to the drink making it feel light and fresh.
- Rosemary Simple Syrup: Simple syrup consists of water and sugar that have been boiled down on the stove. The result is a light syrup that can be added to drinks and cocktails to control the level of sweetness. These syrups can easily be infused with additional flavors. In this case, rosemary is added to give wonderful herbal notes to the margarita. Recipe included in recipe card.
- Lime Juice: Lime juice is the key to a fresh, cleaner tasting margarita. Do yourself a massive favor and don’t use store-bought lime juice. Instead, get your hands on some limes and squeeze them yourself. You can also use the leftover wedges for garnish.
Steps to Make Cranberry Margaritas
- Begin by preparing the rosemary simple syrup. Bring fresh rosemary sprigs, sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for a minute before removing pan from heat. Set aside to cool for 30-60 minutes. Timeframe will depend on how strong you want the rosemary flavor to be.
- Prep the margarita glass. Pour a small amount of simple syrup onto a plate. Set a cocktail glass rim side down on the plate to coat. Put some flaky sea salt on another plate and repeat the same process here. The flaky salt should stick to the rim where you applied the simple syrup.
- Make the cocktail: Combine cranberry juice, simple syrup, tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Cap and shake for about 30 seconds.
- Garnish and Serve: Pour contents of cocktail shaker into a cocktail glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, fresh rosemary sprigs and fresh cranberries if desired. Serve immediately.
Tips for Making Cranberry Margaritas
Making homemade cranberry margaritas can be a festive and refreshing way to enjoy this classic cocktail with a seasonal twist. Here are some tips to help you create the perfect cranberry margaritas:
- Adjust sweetness to your taste: The level of sweetness in a margarita is a matter of personal preference. Start with a smaller amount of simple syrup and adjust to your liking. You can also add more if needed.
- Chill your ingredients: For the best taste, make sure your cranberry juice, tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice are all chilled before mixing the cocktail. This will ensure your margarita is nice and refreshing.
- Shake, don’t stir: When mixing the ingredients, shake them vigorously in a cocktail shaker with ice. This helps to blend the flavors and chill the drink properly.
- Strain the mixture: After shaking, use a strainer to pour the margarita into your glass. This will prevent any ice chips or pulp from ending up in the drink.
- Get creative with garnishes: In addition to fresh cranberries and lime wedges, you can also add a sprig of rosemary or mint for an aromatic touch. The garnish not only adds to the presentation but can also enhance the aroma as you drink.
- Consider a salt or sugar rim: The classic margarita is often served with a salt rim, but you can also use sugar or a mix of sugar and salt for a sweeter variation.
- Make a large batch for parties: If you’re hosting a gathering, consider making a pitcher of cranberry margaritas in advance. Just multiply the ingredients to match the number of servings needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of cranberry juice should I use for homemade cranberry margaritas?
It’s best to use 100% cranberry juice or fresh cranberry puree for the most authentic and robust cranberry flavor.
Can I use frozen cranberries instead of fresh ones for garnish?
Yes, frozen cranberries can be used as a garnish for your cranberry margaritas. They will add a nice touch of color and keep your drink chilled.
What kind of tequila is recommended for cranberry margaritas?
Cranberry margaritas generally prefer a good quality blanco or silver tequila Its clean and smooth taste complements the cranberry and citrus flavors well.
Can I make a large batch of cranberry margaritas in advance?
Absolutely! You can prepare a pitcher of cranberry margaritas in advance for parties or gatherings. Just scale up the ingredients accordingly and keep the mixture chilled until serving.
Can I make a non-alcoholic version of cranberry margaritas?
Absolutely! For a non-alcoholic version, you can replace the tequila and orange liqueur with equal parts of cranberry juice and either club soda or a non-alcoholic citrus soda.
How to Serve/Store Cranberry Margaritas
Serving cranberry margaritas can be an enjoyable experience, especially when you want to impress your guests. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to serve cranberry margaritas:
- Chilled Glasses: Before pouring the margaritas, make sure to chill your serving glasses. You can place them in the refrigerator or fill them with ice and water for a few minutes before serving. If you prefer a salt or sugar rim, prepare it beforehand.
- Shake and Strain: Before serving, give the margarita mixture a good shake in a cocktail shaker with ice. This helps to blend the flavors and chill the drink properly. Then, use a strainer to pour the margarita into your chilled glasses. This ensures that the drink is smooth and free of ice chips or pulp.
- Garnish: Add a finishing touch to your cranberry margaritas with garnishes. Drop a few fresh cranberries into each glass to enhance the festive look. You can also add a lime wedge or twist to the rim for an extra pop of color and aroma.
- Presenting the Drink: Arrange the cranberry margaritas on a serving tray or a stylish drink cart. If you have made a large batch, you can use a pitcher for self-serving at parties. Be sure to have some cocktail napkins or coasters available for guests to use.
It’s best to consume cranberry margaritas shortly after preparation to enjoy their freshness and flavors. However, you can store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days. Stir before serving, as the ingredients may separate over time.
Please remember if you make this recipe to snap a pic and share with @censoredbaker on instagram!Print
Want to participate in the holiday drinking but hate eggnog? This Cranberry Margarita is for you! Loaded with sweet, holiday flavor and free of the richness you’ll be getting plenty of in your desserts.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
- Category: Beverages
2 oz 100% cranberry juice (unsweetened)
1 1/2 oz tequila
1 oz orange liqueur
1/2 oz rosemary simple syrup (see below)
juice of 1/2 lime
flake salt for rim
For Rosemary Simple Syrup
1 c water
1 c sugar
4 sprigs rosemary
- Make the Simple Syrup: To make rosemary simple syrup, bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Once mixture comes to a boil once more, add in rosemary sprigs. Boil rosemary for one minute and then remove pot from heat. Allow mixture to sit for 30-60 minutes to steep. The longer the rosemary steeps the stronger the flavor in your rosemary simple syrup will be. Place in a sealed jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Rim the Glass: To prep your margarita glass, poor a small amount of rosemary simple syrup onto a plate and carefully roll the rim of the glass in the syrup. Place about a tablespoon of flaky sea salt onto another plate. Roll the sticky rime of your glass through the salt. Add desired amount of ice to the glass and set aside.
- Prepare the Margarita: To make the margarita, combine cranberry juice, tequila, triple sec, simple syrup and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Cap and shake for 30 seconds. Poor drink over ice in prepared glass. Serve with a garnish of rosemary, cranberries or orange slices if desired.
*If you don’t have a cocktail shaker you can still make this drink pitcher style! Multiply the recipe by how many drinks you would like to make and mix ingredients together in a large pitcher. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve over ice.
Keywords: Cranberry Margarita, Cranberry Cocktail, Cranberry Drink, Christmas Cocktail, Holiday Cocktail