Holiday Drinks

This year, it’s a sure bet that holiday gatherings will likely be more intimate, with perhaps more celebrating online rather than around a table. As you cozy up to the chimney…or computer, it’s nice to have a drink in hand either to take the chill off or to make things feel more festive. Unless you’re the lovely Ina Garten, who prefers to make drinks by…

This year, it’s a sure bet that holiday gatherings will likely be more intimate, with perhaps more celebrating online rather than around a table. As you cozy up to the chimney…or computer, it’s nice to have a drink in hand either to take the chill off or to make things feel more festive. Unless you’re the lovely Ina Garten, who prefers to make drinks by the pitcher, individual drinks are a nice way to celebrate more intimate gatherings and you can make just one to two, or scale ’em up to make four or six, if necessary. My hot chocolate recipes (below) can easily be made in advance – in fact, they’re better if they are – then rewarmed right before serving. Marshmallows and whipped cream are optional, but if I’m going to be honest, they’re encouraged.

Here are my favorite and most popular drink recipes on the blog that’ll warm you up, including two types of hot chocolate (there are several others in Drinking French, including a Salted Butter Caramel version), French mulled wine, an apple-based cocktail, and a few libations with cranberries. There’s also a brown-buttery Old Fashioned, a pink Cosmo to brighten things up, a creative Kir, and Jeff Morgenthaler’s amazing eggnog. So no matter where you are, whether you’re at home with friends and family or able to gather out and about, here are some drinks I hope will help make this holiday season more enjoyable…

Vin Chaud

A winter classic in many countries, when they’re open (they’re closed at the moment), cafés in Paris will have the words ‘Vin chaud’ scribbled on a blackboard either inside or out, beckoning people to come in from the cold to have a glass. Patrons are usually huddled around terrace tables or standing at the bar, sipping glasses of warm spiced wine, but this year, mulled wine maison will be in fashion. My version of vin chaud is spiced with cardamom, star anise, cloves, and fresh ginger. And it’s even better if you tip a bit of brandy in it!

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5 Riffs on The Original Margarita That Are Perfect for Summer Grilling

We’ve partnered with Cointreau to share all the delicious ways you can riff on The Original Margarita—the iconic cocktail recipe that dates back to 1948. Bonus: a handful of our top grilled dishes to serve with them.

There’s nothing better than chil…

We’ve partnered with Cointreau to share all the delicious ways you can riff on The Original Margarita—the iconic cocktail recipe that dates back to 1948. Bonus: a handful of our top grilled dishes to serve with them.


There’s nothing better than chillin’ poolside, grilling up some bites on the BBQ (currently dreaming of these spicy shrimp skewers), and washing them down with a delicious summer sipper.

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Strawberry Margarita

I have another recipe on the site for Strawberry Margaritas that uses fresh strawberries, but this recipe uses strawberry-infused vermouth, which I had on hand after making a Strawberry Spritz. I like it so much, I decided to give it a go in a Margarita. It worked so well, even better than expected, that I just had to share. I think you’ll like it, too….

I have another recipe on the site for Strawberry Margaritas that uses fresh strawberries, but this recipe uses strawberry-infused vermouth, which I had on hand after making a Strawberry Spritz. I like it so much, I decided to give it a go in a Margarita. It worked so well, even better than expected, that I just had to share. I think you’ll like it, too.

Continue Reading Strawberry Margarita...

For More Refreshing Tequila Cocktails, Just Add Heat—Seriously

We’ve teamed up with Don Julio, makers of top-shelf tequilas since 1942, to highlight creative (yet totally doable!) ways to shake up your cocktail game. Here, Chef Claudette Zepeda shares two spring-ready tequila drinks with a smoky twist—plus, a vege…

We've teamed up with Don Julio, makers of top-shelf tequilas since 1942, to highlight creative (yet totally doable!) ways to shake up your cocktail game. Here, Chef Claudette Zepeda shares two spring-ready tequila drinks with a smoky twist—plus, a vegetarian-friendly riff on al pastor tacos to serve them with.


In my mind, you can never go wrong with a margarita.

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Virgin Margarita

This virgin margarita tastes just as good as the real thing! This mocktail is tangy and lightly sweet, with a secret ingredient that takes it over the top. Craving a margarita but can’t drink? Or serving a crowd and need a non-alcoholic option? Enter this virgin margarita! It’s tangy and refreshing, punctuated by that classic salt rim. Even better, it’s got a surprise that brings a bit of “funk” to the flavor that’s reminiscent of tequila. With a focus on tart flavors and balanced with just enough sweet, it’s truly the mocktail version of our Classic Margarita! (Side benefit: it’s lower calorie too!) Here are all our secrets. What’s in this virgin margarita? Here’s how to make everyone’s favorite cocktail into a margarita mocktail! The margarita is a classic alcoholic drink on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means that there’s an “official” definition of the margarita: tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. But how to make that taste as intriguing…with no alcohol at all? (A zero-proof margarita, if you will?) Here’s what we used did: Lime juice: Always. Lemon juice: Using lemon as well as lime brings nuance to the citrus. Tonic water: Bubbles add a sparkle! […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This virgin margarita tastes just as good as the real thing! This mocktail is tangy and lightly sweet, with a secret ingredient that takes it over the top.

Margarita mocktail

Craving a margarita but can’t drink? Or serving a crowd and need a non-alcoholic option? Enter this virgin margarita! It’s tangy and refreshing, punctuated by that classic salt rim. Even better, it’s got a surprise that brings a bit of “funk” to the flavor that’s reminiscent of tequila. With a focus on tart flavors and balanced with just enough sweet, it’s truly the mocktail version of our Classic Margarita! (Side benefit: it’s lower calorie too!) Here are all our secrets.

What’s in this virgin margarita?

Here’s how to make everyone’s favorite cocktail into a margarita mocktail! The margarita is a classic alcoholic drink on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means that there’s an “official” definition of the margarita: tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. But how to make that taste as intriguing…with no alcohol at all? (A zero-proof margarita, if you will?) Here’s what we used did:

  • Lime juice: Always.
  • Lemon juice: Using lemon as well as lime brings nuance to the citrus.
  • Tonic water: Bubbles add a sparkle!
  • Maple syrup or simple syrup: Just a drizzle balances the tartness.
  • Pickle juice: Yes, pickle juice adds that tequila “funk”! Keep reading for why…
Virgin margarita

The secret? Pickle juice.

The secret to making this virgin margarita taste over the top delicious? Pickle juice. Adding intrigue to the flavor of a mocktail is essential to making them more than just fruit juice. It’s customary to experiment with all sorts of things, including non-alcoholic spirits. But we didn’t want to add a special ingredient you’d have to purchase specially.

That’s where pickle juice comes in! It brings a briny funk to this virgin margarita that makes you feel like there’s a little alcohol in it. But it’s not so much that it’s noticeable! It’s also totally optional, so you don’t have to do it if it weirds you out. But after multiple taste tests, pickle juice in a virgin margarita was the clear winner!

Less sugar than the standard virgin margarita!

We love our cocktails crisp and tart around here. So just like our Classic Margarita, there’s barely any added sugar in this margarita. This stands out from the standard margarita mocktail, which is usually so sickly sweet it’s barely a margarita at all! This shouldn’t taste like sweet syrupy juice: it should be crisp and tart. The sugar comes from two sources:

  • Only 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup or simple syrup (use whichever you’d like: maple syrup is a great natural sweetener with no refined sugar)
  • A hint of sugar in the tonic water
Virgin margarita

What is tonic water? Can I use sparkling water?

Tonic water is a carbonated water that also contains quinine and is lightly sweetened. It was originally was used against malaria, but these days the quinine levels are much lower. Quinine adds a slightly bitter flavor, but its not as detectable with today’s lower levels. Even so, if you taste tonic water there’s something about the nuance of bitter and sweet which is hard to replace.

True cocktails and mocktails use tonic water, so we’d recommend finding some if you can! Sparkling water adds only bubbles, but doesn’t have the nuance in flavor. We buy a brand that comes in small cans, which is nice since you’ll only use a little in this virgin margarita.

Virgin margarita

More margarita variations

If you also drink alcohol (or have friends who do), we’ve got lots more variations on this classic drink! Here are some of our favorites:

Margarita mocktail

When to serve a virgin margarita

Anytime works for a virgin margarita! This one is perfect as a:

  • Zero proof margarita for guests who don’t drink alcohol
  • Mocktail for pregnant women
  • Baby shower drink (make one for mom, then classic margaritas for guests)
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Virgin margarita

Virgin Margarita


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This virgin margarita tastes just as good as the real thing! This mocktail is tangy and lightly sweet, with a secret ingredient that takes it over the top.


Ingredients

  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup or simple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon pickle juice (optional but recommended!)
  • 3 ounces tonic water
  • For the garnish: Lime wheel

Instructions

  1. Cut a notch in a lime wedge, then run the lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of flaky sea salt (or for a festive look, use Margarita Salt).
  2. In the serving glass, stir together the lime juice, lemon juice, maple syrup, and pickle juice (adds just the right funky flavor to mimic tequila). Add the tonic water and ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve.

  • Category: Mocktail
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Virgin Margarita, Margarita Mocktail, Zero Proof Margarita

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Smoky Cider Mezcal Margarita.

New favorite cocktail alert! Say hello to the apple cider mezcal margarita. It’s shocking, I realize. I’m back with another apple cider drink! I mean, when you buy one of those huge gallon jugs of it, you need ideas, right?  Enter the smoky mezcal margarita. With apple cider. Waaaay back in the day I perfected […]

The post Smoky Cider Mezcal Margarita. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

New favorite cocktail alert! Say hello to the apple cider mezcal margarita.

This apple cider mezcal margarita is a delicious, smoky cocktail for fall! It's warming and refreshing and delicious all at once. Cheers!

It’s shocking, I realize. I’m back with another apple cider drink!

I mean, when you buy one of those huge gallon jugs of it, you need ideas, right? 

spiced sugar for margaritas

Enter the smoky mezcal margarita.

With apple cider.

Waaaay back in the day I perfected an apple cider margarita. A few years ago, I created a maple honeycrisp version. Sort of like a caramel apple margarita without the caramel but tastes like caramel because honeycrisps are everything. Both are SO good. 

If you’re an apple cider freak like I am, then you wait all year to create delicious recipes and drinks in your kitchen with said cider. 

And if I had to choose, the classic is probably what I gravitate toward the most.

This apple cider mezcal margarita is a delicious, smoky cocktail for fall! It's warming and refreshing and delicious all at once. Cheers!

I use that recipe ALL the time (just made them last weekend!) and it’s as close to fall margarita perfection I can get.

Or at least I thought so. 

Lacy reminded me that I had a bottle of mezcal on our bar and the wheels started spinning. It’s so smoky! It’s so… warming. Almost tastes charred, like your grilled your margarita or something. Just the thought was reminding me of an autumn bonfire and hayride. 

So I knew we had to try and perfect ANOTHER fall margarita. Once that was close to my original, but with a few extras, a few changes. 

This apple cider mezcal margarita is a delicious, smoky cocktail for fall! It's warming and refreshing and delicious all at once. Cheers!

Those of you that love mezcal will probably prefer this one. Those of you that enjoy tequila more will go for my old recipe. I personally like to switch it up and do both depending on the day, my mood and what else we are serving with it.

It’s a little smoky. A little citrusy… slightly heavy on the orange. Lots of cinnamon-y cider. And rimmed with spiced sugar!

This apple cider mezcal margarita is a delicious, smoky cocktail for fall! It's warming and refreshing and delicious all at once. Cheers!

Put me by a bonfire with a big plaid blanket and this in my hand! I’m done.

This apple cider mezcal margarita is a delicious, smoky cocktail for fall! It's warming and refreshing and delicious all at once. Cheers!

Apple Cider Mezcal Margarita

Smoky Apple Cider Mezcal Margarita

This apple cider mezcal margarita is a delicious, smoky cocktail for fall! It’s warming and refreshing and delicious all at once. Cheers!

to rim the glass:

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoons coarse sugar
  • orange wedges

margarita

  • 3 ounces sweet apple cider
  • 2 ounces mezcal
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier or orange liqueur
  • 1 lime wedge
  • cinnamon sticks for garnish
  • apple slices for garnish
  1. Stir together the cinnamon, allspice and sugars. Rub the rim of a glass with the orange wedge and dip the rim into the spiced sugar. Fill the glass with ice.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the apple cider, mezcal and grand marnier. Squeeze in the lime wedge. Shake for 30 to 60 seconds. Pour the mixture in the glass. Garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks. Drink!

This apple cider mezcal margarita is a delicious, smoky cocktail for fall! It's warming and refreshing and delicious all at once. Cheers!

Craving it already.

The post Smoky Cider Mezcal Margarita. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.