Margarita Granita

Margarita Granita

Is it a cocktail or a dessert? Chefs love to play tricks on food and diners. This icy dessert is all about fun. A granita couldn’t be easier to make, yet it’s a special-occasion food. Now, that’s my kind of dish. It’s a sweet ending to a meal that won’t weigh you down. This also makes a refreshing palate cleanser between courses.

Granitas are as flavorful as ice creams, but they’re lighter, more refreshing, and easier to make—even easier than sorbet. Both sugar and alcohol lower the freezing point, keeping the mixture from freezing into a rock-hard block of ice. Too much of a good thing, however, and the liquid won’t freeze enough to scrape up into a granita or will melt too quickly when you serve it.–Joey Altman

LC Tequila Tasting Note

Okay, so you need quality ingredients to turn out quality desserts. However, in the words of the author, “You don’t have to use your most expensive tequila for this, but do use a tequila you like well enough to drink.” Amen to that. The author continues, explaining just which tequilas to consider. “A fruity silver or white (clear) tequila, or the oak-aged, mellower añejo, will work well.”

Margarita Granita

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 11 H
  • Makes 8 servings
Print RecipeBuy the Without Reservations cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)


  • 1. Heat the sugar with 2 1/2 cups 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 mixed.
  • 2. Pour the mixture into a 13-by-9-inch glass baking pan or covered plastic container, and clear a flat space in the freezer for the pan. Freeze until slushy, about 3 hours, then break up the mixture by running the tines of a fork through it several times.
  • 3. Repeat every 2 hours or so, until the granita is icy throughout, about 8 hours. (It will not freeze hard, as alcohol has a very low freezing temperature.) At the end, you will have piles of fine slivers of very flavorful ice that melt when they hit your tongue. Pack the granita loosely in a covered plastic container and freeze for up to 3 days.
  • 4. To serve, scoop the granita into martini glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint, or mint leaves cut into thin ribbons, if desired. Serve quickly it melts fast!

Recipe Testers Reviews

What a hit for the summer season! As stated, the granita could either be a cocktail or a dessert. I served it as suggested, as a dessert in a tall glass with sweetened whipped cream, and it was a light and refreshing end to the meal. I would definitely make this again—we had no leftovers.

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 this treat 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. Although 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.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Upload a picture of your dish