Cranberry Margaritas

Cranberry orange syrup mixed with tequila, orange liqueur, and fresh lime juice.

Margaritas are a regularly served cocktail at my house. They are lightly sweet, tart, and sometimes salty! So why not add some cranberries to the mix?

As you can see, I’m still on my cranberry kick. I wanted to add cranberry into a cocktail but did not want to use bottled juice. I thought about using my juicer to make fresh juice, but not everyone has this option. That left me with making syrup from the cranberries. Making a syrup also allowed me to add other flavors. I went with the classic combo of cranberry and orange.

With the syrup made, on to the cocktail. I thought about mixing it with gin, rosemary, and a splash of tonic. Or shaking it with vodka and ice for a martini. Both would be good. But then I remembered I had a bunch of fresh limes. Ok, perfect. Margaritas it is!

Normally when I make margaritas, I use a 2:1 ratio of syrup to lime juice. With the added tartness from the cranberries, this recipe needed a little more sweetness. I beefed up the syrup to a 3:1 ratio and added orange liqueur. The liqueur also accents the orange flavor in the syrup. The brand of liqueur used will affect the sweetness and flavor of the margarita. Some are sweeter than others and have a deeper orange flavor. Use what fits your taste, but keep in mind the sweetness may need to be adjusted.

On to the final ingredients, tequila and salt. I prefer to use a silver tequila for mixed cocktails, and a salted rim is a must. The salt brightens the flavors and mellows the tartness. Altogether, this makes a fruity sweet-tart twist on the classic margarita.

Cranberry Margaritas

Course Drinks
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2 quarts


  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 1 orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 15 ounces tequila
  • 5 ounces orange liqueur
  • orange slices for garnish
  • cranberries for garnish
  • kosher salt for garnish


  • In a pot bring water, sugar, orange zest, and cranberries to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until all of the cranberries have burst. Cool and strain off the liquid. Makes 4-4 1/2 cups of syrup.
  • Mix the cranberry syrup with the lime juice, tequila, orange liqueur, orange slices, and cranberries. Rub the rim of a glass with an orange and dip in the salt. Fill the glass with ice and pour in margarita mix. Garnish with an orange slice and cranberries.
  • For a single serving, make the syrup as directed and mix with the lime juice. In a salted glass with ice, pour 1 1/2 oz tequila, 1/2 oz orange liqueur, and fill with cranberry lime mix.

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