Cranberry Margarita

Hola, tequila. Meet the luscious, gorgeous, ruby red cranberry. Together these two make a holiday drink that’ll dazzle your taste buds. Cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving sauce anymore. Now you can enjoy this tart berry with a little Grand Marnier, tequila, and freshly squeezed orange juice. I love cranberries, so it was only a matter of time before I concocted a drink marrying cranberries and tequila. The crystallized swizzle stick gives the cranberry margarita an extra little sparkle to impress your guests.–Veronica Gonzales-Smith

LC The Perfect Thanksgiving Cocktail Note

The author says above that cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving anymore, and that’s true. Yet you gotta admit, this sweetly tart tequila concoction is really the most brilliant thing to happen to Thanksgiving since football. Think about it. You thought talking politics with Aunt Emma was fun after she’d had a few sips of wine. Imagine what’ll happen when you give her something a little stronger to sip. Say, a cranberry margarita.

Special Equipment: Cocktail shaker; margarita or martini glasses; swizzle sticks (optional)

Cranberry Margarita Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 10 drinks

Ingredients

  • For the cranberry swizzle sticks (optional)
  • One 16-ounce package fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • For the margaritas
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for glasses
  • Juice of 4 oranges
  • One 16-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Crushed ice
  • 10 to 15 ounces silver tequila [Editor’s Note: Use a good one!]
  • 5 ounces Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • Orange twist, for garnish

Directions

  • Make the cranberry swizzle sticks (optional)
  • 1. Rinse the cranberries in a colander and let dry at room temperature. Skewer several cranberries onto each swizzle stick, leaving enough of the stick exposed on 1 end so it can be held.
  • 2. In a large cup, mix the corn syrup and water. Lightly brush the skewered cranberries with the corn syrup mixture until lightly but completely coated. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar over each cranberry skewer and shake off any excess.
  • 3. Place the cranberry swizzle sticks on wax paper and place in the freezer to set for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  • Make the margaritas
  • 4. In a saucepan over low heat, warm the sugar and the orange juice, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.
  • 5. Meanwhile, rinse the cranberries in a colander.
  • 6. Add the cranberries to the pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Set the cranberry mixture aside and let cool.
  • 7. Once cool, pour the mixture into a blender and purée it. Strain the mixture into a pitcher, discarding any solids. (You can cover and stash it in the fridge until ready to use. It will gel as it cools, so you’ll need to stir it just prior to using.)
  • 8. For each margarita, put some crushed ice, 1 to 1 1/2 ounces tequila, 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier, and 2 ounces cranberry purée in a shaker. Shake well.
  • 9. To serve, pour the margarita into a sugar-rimmed margarita or martini glass. Add a cranberry swizzle stick and/or an orange twist for garnish.

Virgin Cranberry Margarita Variation

  • Replace the tequila and Grand Marnier with 2 ounces or 1/4 cup sparkling cider per margarita.
Thirsty for more? Sip on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Ralph Knauth

Dec 01, 2013

A very elegant, gorgeous-looking, and quick cocktail. It’s especially gorgeous when you do the cranberry skewers, which can easily be prepared a day in advance, as can the cranberry purée. I did both margaritas—the regular one and the virgin one. I liked both, though I preferred the regular a little bit more. The virgin margarita was a lot sweeter, which wasn’t so much to my liking, but it’s a good choice for kids or the designated driver. I used a good silver tequila, El Jimador, and Cointreau as well as frozen cranberries. I made the cranberry purée and the skewers a day in advance. The purée turned into a very stiff gel in the fridge, but dissolved without problems in the shaker. A very nice cocktail with a great appearance.

Testers Choice
Helen Doberstein

Dec 01, 2013

Even given how hard it is to find cranberries, fresh or frozen, this drink was worth the effort. I opted not to use the cranberry swizzle sticks since I couldn’t find fresh cranberries. As for the drink itself, what more can one say besides, oh boy!? The cranberries, juice, and sugar go together so well. The resulting purée is delicious and such a pretty color. The drink is easy to assemble and more than one taster asked for a second. I found the extra 1/2 ounce tequila made it a little strong for me, but using just 1 ounce tequila and keeping the other ingredients the same was a perfect cocktail for before-dinner appetizers. I should say that the editor is right in that a very good tequila should be used, as it’s the shining ingredient.

Testers Choice
Jennifer V.

Dec 01, 2013

This is a nice festive holiday drink. While I usually associate cranberries with the winter holidays, there’s no reason they couldn’t be brought out for spring and summer as well. I used frozen cranberries as I couldn’t currently find fresh ones. And, as always, I used a good silver tequila (I opted for 1800) and real Grand Marnier (rather than a cheap orange-flavored liqueur), which makes all the difference. The orange juice adds a nice fruity depth to the margaritas as well. If you have the time, definitely make the swizzle sticks—they’re not complicated and take only a little bit of plan-ahead time to complete, and they add quite a lot of extra pizzazz to the drink.

Comments
Comments
  1. Jared says:

    Anything with silver tequila has got to be great!

  2. Jared says:

    I’ll take one. Or five!

  3. Jean says:

    I made these Thanksgiving weekend to take to a birthday celebration. Delicious!

    • David Leite says:

      Superb, Jean. And I think these cranberry Margaritas are something you can sip right up to the last seconds of 2013 on New Year’s night.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail