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Cranberry Margarita

The cranberry margarita recipe makes a festive, red drink with a lovely balance of tart and sweet flavors. Adding cranberry juice to the classic tequila cocktail’s usual ingredients gives it a holiday twist.

The short glass with salt on the rim filled with the margarita with cranberries on the table
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

I’ve enjoyed margaritas ever since I worked at a Mexican restaurant so many years ago. We offered them in a variety flavors, and I used to enjoy rattling off the list to my customers. I definitely had a few favorites.

My all time favorite is the Cadillac margarita, which wasn’t one of the flavors I rattled off at the restaurant, but I had to mention it here because it’s so good. But some other favorites were the raspberry margarita, peach margarita and this one, the cranberry margarita.

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The restaurant only served this margarita frozen because they used a cranberry sauce to make it. I prefer mine on the rocks. I love that you can taste the balance of the ingredients to their greatest advantage that way.

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Helpful tips

  • I recommend using unsweetened cranberry juice, so you can control how sweet the cocktail is without worrying about what’s already in the juice. I buy mine at Whole Foods.
  • If you can’t find unsweetened cranberry juice, cut down the simple syrup to .50 ounce.
  • Wash your limes before juicing them. Here’s how: squirt some natural, unscented foaming soap into your hand. Rub the lime between your hands to cover it with soap. Use a vegetable brush to scrub the skin and then run the lime under cold water, making sure all the soap has been washed off.
  • You can use any type of tequila, but I prefer to use a tequila blanco like Patron Silver.
  • Make your own simple syrup as it saves you money and is so easy. Here’s how: add equal amounts of water and sugar to a saucepan: 1 cup each. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower to a simmer for 5 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool before using it in a cocktail.
  • I don’t really think this margarita needs a salted rim, but other people like it so I only salted one glass. Here’s how: Pour just enough kosher salt or a flake salt like Maldon salt to cover the bottom of a small, flat plate. Wet your finger with either lime juice or simple syrup and rub it around the rim of the glass. Take the glass and dip or roll it in the salt so the rim is covered with as much as you like. With the glass still upside down, gently shake it so any loose salt is dislodged. Set the glass upright. Just a note: when you pour the liquid into the glass, don’t let it run over the salt or you’ll have a salty margarita.
  • Some people like to add lime wedges to this margarita, but I prefer just cranberries.

Ingredients and substitutions

  • Tequila – Check out my guide to tequila for a list of recommended brands by price categories
  • Cointreau – or other orange liqueur like triple sec which is a budget conscious choice
  • Cranberry juice – unsweetened
  • Lime juice – squeezing your own is best
  • Simple syrup – I’m a fan of home made
A double old fashioned glass filled with the cranberry drink with cranberries on the table and as garnish
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

How to make a cranberry margarita

Pre-step

Get out your cocktail shaker and fill it halfway with ice. Also get your measuring glass and two margarita glasses.

Add 4 cranberries to each martini pick and set aside.

After measuring out the ingredients, add to the cocktail shaker.

Step one

Gather the ingredients – tequila, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, limes, and simple syrup. (A)

Step two

Measure 4 ounces of tequila. (B)

Left - tequila, lime, cointreau, cranberry juice and simple syrup. Right - tequila measured out
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step three

Measure 2 ounces orange liqueur. (C)

Step four

Measure 2 ounces fresh lime juice. (D)

Cointreau and fresh lime juice measured out
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step five

Measure 6 ounces of red cranberry juice. (E)

Step six

Measure 1 ounce of simple syrup. (F)

Cranberry juice and simple syrup measured out
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step seven

Cap the cocktail shaker and shake for 15 seconds. Add fresh ice to the glasses. I prefer large cubes like these because they stay frozen longer. Strain and divide the liquid between the glasses.

Garnish each glass with a spear of cranberries.

The big glass of red margarita in front of the shorter glass with cranberries on the table
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Let’s take a closer look.

Close up of the cranberry cocktail with a spear of cranberries as garnish and the bowl glass in the background
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Yum. I hope you enjoy this cranberry margarita recipe as much as I do.

Other margaritas

And as always, may all your dishes/drinks be delish!

If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

A wide margarita glass filled with the cranberry drink with cranberries on the table

Cranberry Margarita

The cranberry margarita takes the usual tequila, Cointreau, and lime and adds a little cranberry juice to make a tasty red cocktail that has just the right balance of tartiness and sweet flavors.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cranberry margarita, holiday margarita
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cocktails
Calories: 288kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces Cointreau (or other orange liqueur like triple sec)
  • 6 ounces cranberry juice (unsweetened)
  • 2 ounces lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (OR if you can't find unsweetened cranberry juice and have to use sweetened, use only .50 ounces)

Garnish

  • 8 cranberries (as garnish)

Instructions

  • Get your cocktail shaker and fill it halfway with ice. And spear 4 cranberries on each martini pick.
  • Add tequila, Cointreau, cranberry juice, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup.
    4 ounces tequila, 2 ounces Cointreau, 6 ounces cranberry juice, 2 ounces lime juice, 1 ounce simple syrup
  • Cap the shaker and shake for 15 seconds.
  • Add fresh ice to the glasses. Strain and divide the margarita between the two glasses and add the ice from the shaker as well.
  • Add a cranberry filled martini pick to each glass.
    8 cranberries
  • Sip
  • Smile
  • Enjoy
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Notes

Helpful tips
  • The cranberry juice I use is unsweetened and I get it at Whole Foods. I recommend using unsweetened because that way you can control how sweet the cocktail is without worrying about what’s already in the juice.
  • If you can’t find unsweetened cranberry juice, cut down the simple syrup to .50 ounce.
  • Wash your limes before juicing them. Here’s how: squirt some natural, unscented foaming soap into your hand. I get mine at Whole Foods. Rub the lime between your hands to cover it with soap. Use a vegetable brush to scrub the skin and then run the lime under cold water, making sure all the soap has been washed off.
  • Make your own simple syrup as it saves you money and is so easy. Here’s how: add equal amounts of water and sugar to a saucepan. 1 cup each. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower to a simmer for 5 minutes. Allow the syrup cool completely before using it in a cocktail.
  • I don’t really think this margarita needs a salted rim, but other people like it so I only salted one glass. Here’s how: Wet your finger with either lime juice or simple syrup and rub it around the rim of the glass. Pour a small amount of either kosher salt or some flake salt like Maldon salt on a small plate. Take the glass and roll it in the salt so the rim is covered as much as you like. With the glass upside down, gently shake it so any loose salt is dislodged. Set the glass upright. Just a note: when you pour the liquid into the glass, don’t let it run over the salt or you’ll have a salty margarita.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktail | Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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12 Comments

  1. Huge Margarita fan here. Never thought to put cranberry juice in it. Very festive and perfect for the holiday season.

    1. Thanks so much! You’re going to love this margarita. And thanks about the glasses, one is from Crate and Barrel and the other I got at a thrift store (the bowl looking glass).

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