A glass filled with margarita granita, topped with a lime sprig and a spoon resting in the glass.

Margarita Granita

5 / 2 votes
This margarita granita, made with frozen tequila, orange and lime juice, and Cointreau, is for those evenings when you can’t decide between summer cocktail and dessert. Why decide?!
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories160 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 hours 45 minutes
Total Time11 hours


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)


  • In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the tequila, lime and orange juices, and Cointreau until well combined.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: You don't have to use your most expensive tequila for this, but do use a tequila you like enough to drink. Silver or clear tequila tends to be milder in tequila taste. Oak-aged añejo will be more pronounced.

  • Pour the mixture into a 13-by-9-inch glass baking pan or plastic container and clear a flat space in the freezer for the pan. Freeze until slushy, about 3 hours.
  • Run the tines of a fork through the granita several times to break it up. Return to the freezer and repeat, breaking it up every 2 hours or so, until the granita is icy throughout, about 8 hours total. The granita will remain slushy rather than freeze hard.
  • Transfer the granita to a resealable container, being careful to pack it very loosely, and freeze for up to 3 days.
  • To serve, scoop the granita into martini glasses and, if desired, garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve with a spoon and a word of caution to imbibe slowly.
Without Reservations by Joey Altman

Adapted From

Without Reservations

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 160 kcalCarbohydrates: 29 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 5 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 28 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2008 Joey Altman. Photo © 2008 Nata Vkusidey. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This cocktail couldn’t be simpler. Lime and orange juice mixed with tequila, Cointreau, and sugar. I love making granitas. They’re so refreshing. If you don’t like tequila, you may not go for this. I, however, sat on my balcony on a 96-degree day with it and felt very happy.

Wonderfully simple to prepare, easy to coax along with the tines of a fork, and thoroughly enjoyable on a hot summer day. The slivers of ice do indeed melt quickly away once inside the mouth.

I would have added more tequila to satisfy my personal preference, the overall sweetness and flavors of the Cointreau and orange and lime juices made for a very refreshing drink. I served the granita in martini glasses with a couple sprinkles of mint chiffonade.

What a hit for the summer season! As stated, the margarita granita could either be a cocktail or a dessert. I would definitely make this again—we had no leftovers.

I served it as a dessert in a tall glass with sweetened whipped cream and it was a light and refreshing end to the meal.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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