Margaritas

All you need are 3 ingredients to make my favorite margarita recipe!  Instructions included for how to make a single serving margarita or pitcher margaritas for a crowd. Raise your hand if you love a good margarita! ♡ This famously sweet, sour and salty drink will forever and always be my all-time favorite cocktail. But […]

All you need are 3 ingredients to make my favorite margarita recipe!  Instructions included for how to make a single serving margarita or pitcher margaritas for a crowd.

Classic Margarita Recipe in Glass with Lime

Raise your hand if you love a good margarita! ♡

This famously sweet, sour and salty drink will forever and always be my all-time favorite cocktail. But while I adore just about any kind of margarita — frozen or on the rocks, tequila or mezcal, fruity or spicy or fizzy or creamy, you name it — a classic margarita cocktail in my book simply cannot be beat.

By contrast to many of the diluted, super-sweet, and sometimes fizzy huge mugs of margaritas that are often served in restaurants around the world nowadays, a traditional margarita is actually a strong, tart cocktail made with three simple ingredients — good-quality tequila, orange liqueur, and freshly-squeezed lime juice. This simple margarita mix is incredibly quick and easy to make, either for a single serving or a larger batch for a crowd. And it is downright delicious served on the rocks, with or without a salted rim.

I have become quite partial over the years to making margaritas with mezcal instead of tequila, which I highly recommend if you love a good smoky cocktail. And if you feel like spicing your drink up a bit, I’ve also included tips below for how to make a spicy salted rim or muddle a few chile peppers into your drink — so good!

Bottom line, if you love margaritas as much as I do, take a moment to read through my tips below and memorize this simple 3:2:1 ingredient ratio. Then let’s make a round of margaritas together. Cheers!

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Christmas Margarita

The Christmas margarita is the best holiday drink! This brilliant cranberry spin is irresistible and perfect for festivities. Looking for a Christmas cocktail that’s fun and a little…unexpected? It’s not often that tequila features in holiday cocktails. But this one is absolutely stellar: try the Christmas Margarita! Why not bring everyone’s favorite drink to your holiday festivities? This one keeps all the character of a classic margarita and adds cranberry juice for a vibrant color and sweet tart nuance. With a garnish of fresh cranberries and rosemary, it’s holiday perfection. We created this drink especially for a virtual holiday party with our friend Sierra: it could not be more festive! What’s in a Christmas margarita? Who doesn’t love a good margarita? (No one.) This classic cocktail is one of the most iconic in the world: it was invented in the 1930’s and is even more popular today. In fact, the classic margarita is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means there’s an “official” definition of how its made: it’s just three ingredients: lime juice, Cointreau, and tequila. The Christmas margarita is a spin-off on the classic. We’ve kept all the classic ingredients and added 100% cranberry juice. […]

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

The Christmas margarita is the best holiday drink! This brilliant cranberry spin is irresistible and perfect for festivities.

Christmas margarita

Looking for a Christmas cocktail that’s fun and a little…unexpected? It’s not often that tequila features in holiday cocktails. But this one is absolutely stellar: try the Christmas Margarita! Why not bring everyone’s favorite drink to your holiday festivities? This one keeps all the character of a classic margarita and adds cranberry juice for a vibrant color and sweet tart nuance. With a garnish of fresh cranberries and rosemary, it’s holiday perfection. We created this drink especially for a virtual holiday party with our friend Sierra: it could not be more festive!

What’s in a Christmas margarita?

Who doesn’t love a good margarita? (No one.) This classic cocktail is one of the most iconic in the world: it was invented in the 1930’s and is even more popular today. In fact, the classic margarita is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means there’s an “official” definition of how its made: it’s just three ingredients: lime juice, Cointreau, and tequila.

The Christmas margarita is a spin-off on the classic. We’ve kept all the classic ingredients and added 100% cranberry juice. Because it’s unsweetened and very tart, we added a splash of simple syrup to balance things out. Here’s what you’ll need to make a Christmas margarita:

  • 100% cranberry juice
  • Tequila (use blanco or reposado)
  • Cointreau
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Simple syrup or maple syrup
Christmas margarita recipe

100% cranberry juice vs sweetened: what to know

When you’re shopping for the cranberry juice for your Christmas margarita, make sure to find 100% cranberry juice, which is unsweetened. You can easily find it at most grocery stores, but it’s right next to the sweetened cranberry juice. Here’s what to know for when you’re shopping:

  • Sweetened cranberry juice aka cranberry juice cocktail has added sugars and sometimes high-fructose corn syrup as sweetener. This type of cranberry juice has been available since the 1940’s for making classic cranberry cocktails like the Vodka Cranberry. However, we like using the modern 100% juice.
  • 100% cranberry juice is unsweetened and made only with cranberries: no added sugar! The benefit? The color is brighter, and you can sweeten your drink to taste.

Did you buy unsweetened? That’s ok, just don’t sweeten your drink as much. Use half of the simple syrup in the recipe below — or even add it to taste.

How to make a salt rim

Of course, a perfect Christmas margarita needs a salt rim! Why is salt used in margaritas? Salt brings out the sweet and sour flavors in the drink. Plus, it’s ultra classic. For the Christmas margarita you could also make a sugar rim if you’d like! Just use superfine or granulated sugar and follow the instructions below. Here’s how to make a salt rim:

  1. Use kosher salt or flaky sea salt (not table salt!). These types of salt are chunky and make for just the right texture on the rim. Or, you can make festive Margarita Salt!
  2. Take a lime wedge and cut a notch in the middle. Then slide it around the rim of the glass. This moistens the rim without having to use your fingers.
  3. Rim the outside edge only. Spread the salt on a plate in an even layer. Tilt the glass into the salt so that the sugar sticks to the outside edge. Shake off any loose salt into the sink.
Christmas margarita

How to make a Christmas margarita!

Once you’ve rimmed the glasses, making a Christmas margarita is very simple: all you have to do is shake the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker! Here’s what to do:

  1. Rim the glass with salt. See above!
  2. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Shake the cranberry juice, tequila, lime juice, Cointreau and simple syrup together with ice in a cocktail shaker (or use a mason jar with a lid).
  3. Strain into a glass and add ice. Strain it into a glass and serve with ice! You can also add fresh cranberries and a sprig of rosemary as a beautiful garnish. Speaking of ice…

Step it up with clear ice

Want to have the most beautiful look for this Christmas margarita? Look in the photos: see that beautiful crystal clear ice block that looks like it’s cut off a glacier? It’s called Clear Ice. Clear ice is artisan style ice that’s crystal clear, unlike normal ice that’s cloudy. It’s very easy to make at home: Alex created a method that we do with all of our cocktail recipes! Go to How to make clear ice.

Salt rim and clear ice

What to serve with a Christmas margarita

This Christmas margarita is ideal for holiday gatherings: especially a holiday cocktail party! We made this cocktail and our Christmas martini for a special virtual cocktail party with our friend Sierra from Eclectic Kurves. These drinks pair perfectly with nibbles and appetizers! You can make up a holiday platter with some of the ideas below:

When to serve a Christmas margarita

The Christmas margarita is ideal for holiday gatherings in the fall and winter. It works as a:

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Christmas margarita

The Christmas Margarita


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

Description

The Christmas margarita is the best holiday drink! This brilliant cranberry spin is irresistible and perfect for festivities.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) tequila blanco or reposado**
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) 100% cranberry juice (not sweetened)*
  • 3/4 ounce (1 1/2 tablespoons) Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce (1 1/2 tablespoon) fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup or maple syrup*
  • Kosher salt or flaky sea salt, for the rim (optional)
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice)
  • For the garnish: cranberries, rosemary sprig

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 salt (or for a festive look, use Margarita Salt).
  2. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Shake until cold. Strain the margarita into the glass with the salted rim. Fill the glass with ice, garnish with cranberries and a rosemary sprig, and serve.

Notes

*If all you can find is sweetened cranberry juice, use half the simple syrup quantity (or add to taste). 

**To make a pitcher of 8 servings, mix together in a pitcher: 1 1/2 cups tequila, 2 cups 100% unsweetened cranberry juice, 3/4 cup Cointreau, 3/4 cup lime juice, 3 tablespoons simple syrup. Add three handfuls of ice and stir until cold. Pour into individual glasses. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Christmas margarita

More Christmas drinks

There are so many great cocktails to serve in the holiday season! Here are a few ideas:

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

Coup de Roulis cocktail

This rosy coup holds a drink from Cocktails de Paris, a book of cocktail recipes from Paris, published in 1929. (It’s available to download* for free here.) I was attracted to it because it called for Cherry Rocher, a French liqueur produced by a distillery that was founded in 1704 and is still making it today. Coup de roulis translates to “strong blow,” referring to…

This rosy coup holds a drink from Cocktails de Paris, a book of cocktail recipes from Paris, published in 1929. (It’s available to download* for free here.) I was attracted to it because it called for Cherry Rocher, a French liqueur produced by a distillery that was founded in 1704 and is still making it today. Coup de roulis translates to “strong blow,” referring to the strong sway or roll of a boat. My guess is that maybe it got its name because it has four different spirits in it? No matter, I needed a strong drink last week when my apartment sprung a fuite d’eau, causing a flood.

The Paris cocktail book is an excursion back in time, as was the leak, harkening back to other, um…issues I’ve had with my apartment. In the pages, there are words used, such as Angustura (with an alternative spelling that may be from days of yore) and ‘focking,’ a term I’d never heard of either, and when I searched Google for “cocktail focking,” let’s just say most of the search results were adult-only…and I don’t mean in the cocktail department.

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Lucien Gaudin Cocktail

Note: I’ll be making this cocktail today at 6pm CET (Noon ET, 9am PT) on my IG Live Apéro Hour on Instagram. To watch, head to my profile on my IG profile page at that time, and when the circle around my profile pic says “Live” – click on it to tune in. More info, as well as how to watch it in replay in…

Note: I’ll be making this cocktail today at 6pm CET (Noon ET, 9am PT) on my IG Live Apéro Hour on Instagram. To watch, head to my profile on my IG profile page at that time, and when the circle around my profile pic says “Live” – click on it to tune in. More info, as well as how to watch it in replay in my IGTV channel archives, is here.

The clever cocktail, seemingly another riff on the Negroni (like The Tunnel), is named after French fencing champion Lucien Gaudin, who won gold and silver medals in the Olympics during the 1920s. Other than that, I’ve never found any other information about it; who came up with it or why the cocktail is associated with a French fencer.

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The White Lady cocktail

Note: Join me and Romain today on my IG Apéro Hour at 6pm CET, Noon ET, and 9am PT while I mix up this White Lady cocktail and Romain prepares an appetizer to go with it. To watch, go to my Instagram profile at that time and click on my profile picture when there is a red circle around it, which means we are live….

Note: Join me and Romain today on my IG Apéro Hour at 6pm CET, Noon ET, and 9am PT while I mix up this White Lady cocktail and Romain prepares an appetizer to go with it. To watch, go to my Instagram profile at that time and click on my profile picture when there is a red circle around it, which means we are live. You can also watch us in replay on my IGTV channel. More information about how to tune in, and watch live, as well as in replay, here.

It’s no secret that Romain has fallen in love with the Rosemary Gimlet. He’s featured in Drinking French sipping the drink. But I’ve been trying to shake things up, so to speak, and get him to branch out to similar cocktails. And the White Lady is a good one, especially if rosemary isn’t available. But it’s an equally bracing gin and citrus cocktail, that’s easy to make, and drink.

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Pegu Club

Invented in Burma, at a British club called the Pegu Club, this tropically-tinged cocktail found its way into the Savoy Cocktail Book. It’s pleasantly tangy and fruit-forward. The ingredients come together in the glass, resulting in a savvy cock…

Invented in Burma, at a British club called the Pegu Club, this tropically-tinged cocktail found its way into the Savoy Cocktail Book. It’s pleasantly tangy and fruit-forward. The ingredients come together in the glass, resulting in a savvy cocktail with gentle citrus notes. One sip and you’ll understand why it’s still a cocktail classic!

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Cosmopolitan Cocktails and Roasted Nuts with Rosemary

I’ve had my blog for a while, over twenty years now, and one of the first recipes I posted on it was for a Cosmopolitan cocktail. Back then, in the 1990s, Cosmopolitans were still the rage. Much of it was due to Sex in the City, where they were the drink of choice for four women who were close friends, trying to find their way…

I’ve had my blog for a while, over twenty years now, and one of the first recipes I posted on it was for a Cosmopolitan cocktail. Back then, in the 1990s, Cosmopolitans were still the rage. Much of it was due to Sex in the City, where they were the drink of choice for four women who were close friends, trying to find their way in New York City, navigating through boyfriends, parties, careers, and cocktail bars. During their get-togethers, the cocktail of choice was always a round of Cosmos.

Roasted Nuts with Rosemary

The cocktail become somewhat of a cliché and faded from popularity as the craft cocktail movement elbowed in. But everyone once in a while, I still like a Cosmopolitan.

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French Manhattan

Someone told me that “cocktails” is one of the most used search terms right now on the internet. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time. Other times, I feel as if things might go the other way. Right now, I feel a little bit of both. When my planned book tour was nearing the start date, the news cycle…

Someone told me that “cocktails” is one of the most used search terms right now on the internet. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time. Other times, I feel as if things might go the other way. Right now, I feel a little bit of both. When my planned book tour was nearing the start date, the news cycle shifted and when it looked as if it didn’t seem like the right time to get on a lot of airplanes and invite people to join me at large gatherings to share food and drink, I hit the pause button.

So here I am, and there you are. Thankfully the internet can keep us connected. I don’t know if people are searching for Chocolate Chip Kitchen Sink Cookies, but I’ve got tons of cookie dough on hand from developing and retesting the recipe five times in the last ten days. In nineteen years of baking between two countries, I’ve never had any issues with French butter versus butter elsewhere, but that seemed to be the culprit.

Fortunately, liquor is a different story and what we get here is what you get everywhere else. But unlike all the butter, oats, chocolate, and eggs I used working on that recipe to get it right so it worked for everyone, after writing Drinking French, I’ve still got plenty of alcohol on hand, so there’s zero possibility of running out.

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Breakfast Martini

I don’t go to many press events. It’s not that I don’t like getting to taste new and interesting things, or check out restaurants before they open and to get a glimpse of what they’re going to do. But I prefer to go and have a relaxing time, and to enjoy and experience the place as a customer would. Another thing that’s challenging about press…

I don’t go to many press events. It’s not that I don’t like getting to taste new and interesting things, or check out restaurants before they open and to get a glimpse of what they’re going to do. But I prefer to go and have a relaxing time, and to enjoy and experience the place as a customer would. Another thing that’s challenging about press events is that they can sometimes be a scrum, as anywhere where there’s complimentary food or drink involved.

That happened to me when I attended a cocktail soirée at a very posh hotel. I was personally invited by the publicist and the bartender was quite well-known and quite competent. And as I found out when I arrived, also quite dashing.

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