If it’s 5 o’clock and you need a Christmas cocktail, then you simply must make these festive Cranberry Margaritas! This classic drink gets a holiday twist and uses cranberry juice as well as the usual margarita ingredients. Cheers!
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The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions and to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required as well as understand the steps and timings involved.
Traditionally, margaritas are considered a warm weather drink, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this delicious and popular cocktail all year long!
This holiday-friendly version lends a festive twist with its bright splash of color and a fun, seasonal garnish made with fresh cranberries threaded onto fresh rosemary sprigs.
After the year we’ve had, it definitely feels like it should be 5 o’clock all, the, time, right?! And if margaritas are your favorite cocktail then give this seasonal recipe a try!
Ingredients Used In This Cocktail
For your convenience, I’ve linked any specialized ingredients needed for this recipe to Amazon below.
- Cointreau – or other orange liqueur.
- Cranberry Juice – use 100% juice and not a “juice drink” which is diluted juice.
- Fresh Lime Juice – you can also use fresh lime wedges for garnish.
- The [optional] garnish is made using fresh rosemary and fresh cranberries.
This cocktail is shaken, but don’t worry if you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you could just use a container with a tight-fitting lid – like a mason jar or even the cup on a blender or smoothie maker.
How Do You Salt the Rim of a Margarita Glass?
Traditionally, margaritas are served in the eponymous margarita glass, a stepped-diameter variant of a cocktail glass or champagne coupe. The rim of the glass is often dipped in salt, however, as you can see we used regular glasses and didn’t dip!
However, there is no reason why you can’t rim your glass with salt. You don’t have to use the margarita-shaped glasses for this cocktail – use any glass you have! The method for adding salt to the rim of a glass is exactly the same!
- Pour some salt (kosher salt/sea salt flakes work well) onto a small plate or saucer.
- Cut a wedge of lime and then cut a notch/sit into the flesh – and run it round the rim of the glass to add juice to the insider and outside edges.
- Dip the glass rim into the salt and give it a twist or two (like you’re cutting cookies from dough).
- And you’re done!
You can actually buy cocktail rimming dishes online (there is a gadget for everything!) but a small plate or saucer will work just fine.
More Cocktails To Make
Want to make more cocktails? I think you’re going to love these ones:
- Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail with Citrus Vodka & Lime
- Reindeer Cocktail – Vodka Cranberry Spritzer
- Naughty Elf Cocktail
Cranberry Margarita Variations
I like to try and give variations on the cocktails shared on The Purple Pumpkin Blog, and especially turning the cocktail into a mocktail so that non-drinkers (and kids if suitable) can enjoy the drink too!
Virgin Cranberry Margarita Mocktail (non-alcoholic)
So that non-drinkers can enjoy an alcohol-free version of this festive cocktail, we are removing the alcohol and using a Sun-Dried Orange Syrup to replace the orange liqueur. You can add some extra lime juice for the tequila, or if you’re in the US, you could try Ritual Tequila Alternative – a zero-alcohol tequila!
I love the Monin brand of syrups as there are lots of flavors and they are a very versatile ingredient that can be used in cocktails, mocktails, coffee, cocoa, shakes, smoothies, and more.
To make a Cranberry Margarita Mocktail, follow the recipe card, but replace the alcoholic elements with the syrups suggested above.
I haven’t made the mocktail version, so I recommend adding the syrups to taste as they may add a sweetness that you may not necessarily get from alcoholic liqueurs.
Frozen Cranberry Margaritas
Want to turn this festive margarita into a frozen slushie? Easy! Put all the ingredients in a blender with a generous amount of crushed ice – then blend till smooth. Serve with a straw, and watch out for brain freeze! You could do the same with the mocktail version too.
Cranberry Margarita Party Punch
Want to make this cranberry tequila drink for a crowd? It’s so easy! Here’s how to do it!
As long as you use the same measuring container (glass, cup, jug, etc.,) for the “1 part”, the ratios will be correct and you can make as much as you need to.
Make sure you add plenty of ice to your serving receptacle of choice to keep the cocktail chilled. You could add lime slices and fresh cranberries in there too if you like.
Provide margarita glasses and/or other cocktail glasses in the bar/serving area along with a filled ice bucket, stirrers, straws, and festive cocktail decorations if suitable!
You could also prep a bunch of rosemary and cranberry skewers for guests to garnish their drinks.
To make a big batch of Cranberry Margarita Party Punch, mix together:
- 3 parts Tequila
- 2 parts Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)
- 2 parts Cranberry Juice
- 1½ parts Lime Juice
This cocktail recipe is intended for adults of the legal drinking age in your country of residence. Please drink responsibly. Do not drink and drive.
How Do I Make Cranberry Margaritas?
Just check out the recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. You can print the card out too (don’t worry, any pics don’t print to save your ink!).
- 3 oz tequila
- 2 oz Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)
- 2 oz cranberry juice
- 1½ oz fresh lime juice
- Fresh rosemary sprigs, bottom leaves removed, approximately 2-3"/5-7cm long
- Fresh cranberries
- Fresh lime wedges
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add tequila, Cointreau, and both juices.
- Shake well and strain into ice-filled glasses.
- If using, make the cranberry sprig garnish, carefully thread 3 fresh cranberries onto the bottom of each rosemary stem.
- Garnish with rosemary sprigs and/or lime wedges, if desired, before serving.
- Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 478Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 6gSugar: 26gProtein: 1g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Meal!
The beverage is covered, but what about other dishes to make this recipe into a full meal? Here are my suggestions!
- Appetizer: Baked Coconut Shrimp with Avocado-Lime Dip
- Main Dish: Pecan Crusted Pork Chops with a Fresh Plum Sauce
- Side Dish: Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Dessert: Poached Pears with Honey Mascarpone Cream
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.
The Create the Holidays (formerly Create Christmas) series on The Purple Pumpkin Blog is filled with free printables, crafts, recipes, and more for Christmas and the Winter Holidays! You can check out Create the Holidays from 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 and 2012 for tons of awesome Holiday ideas and inspiration!