Two glasses with Cranberry Margaritas and lime wedges. The glass on the right has a salted rim.

Cranberry Margarita

The simplicity of something like the Margarita or Daiquiri allows mixologists great leeway in experimenting. And as Melba pointed out a couple of days ago, the bounty of ingredients available around this time of year lend themselves to novel cocktails. I was making some stewed cranberries, and it occurred to me that cranberries go excellent with lime, and lime always makes me think of a Margarita.

The cranberries were stewed in apple juice, had a mild amount of spice, and a bit of molasses and sugar. They were stewed until the broke apart and the pectin jelled the mixture. I took a bit of this and added it as an ingredient in a Cranberry Margarita.

Cranberry Margarita

  • Servings: 4oz.
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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The original DnU Cranberry Margarita.


  • 2 Tbs of fresh, cooled cranberry sauce or 1 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Triple sec
  • 1.5 oz tequila, any age or color
  • enough ice to fill bottom third of the large cup to a Boston Shaker
  • course salt to rim the glass
  • lime wedge


Add lime juice and cranberries together. Shake and strain juice over ice and add Triple sec and tequila, or, if using cranberry juice, add all ingredients over ice. Shake and strain again, into salt-rimmed rocks glass with a lime wedge.

The tartness of the cranberries makes this Margarita pretty bold. Reposado or añejo tequilas bring additional complexity that don’t overwhelm the drink, but blanco or plata tequilas work as well. If the cranberry sauce or juice is particularly sweet, I would use a less-sweet Triple sec to balance. Mrs. Ferment, who can handle gin-based cocktails that make me swoon, needed an additional ounce of lime juice in hers, because she felt it was too strong, so it’s a good idea to have a extra limes on hand when attempting this cocktail.