This cranberry margarita is a great cocktail for the holidays! It starts with a honey simple syrup mixed with blanco tequila, tart cranberry juice, and zesty lime juice for a crisp and refreshing drink. Gluten-free with a vegan option.
This margarita is nice and crisp and adds the right touch of color to your festivities. If you’re looking for a family-friendly option, this Christmas Morning Punch is made of 100% fruit juice.
To make the cocktail, add tequila, cranberry juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until it’s chilled.
Then add some fresh ice to your favorite glass, strain the margarita into the glass, and add fresh cranberries to garnish to create a fun cocktail with a holiday twist.
Honey simple syrup
To make the honey simple syrup, you’ll need 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of honey. It’s enough to make 4 cocktails, but it’s super easy to halve or double.
All you do is add the ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat, bring it to a boil and cook until the honey has dissolved – about 2 minutes.
Cool at room temperature, then pour into a glass jar with an airtight lid and store it in the fridge until you’re ready for a drink.
I recommend making the honey syrup beforehand so it has time to chill before using. It should keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks. It’s also good for sweetening tea or a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice.
If you don’t want to use honey syrup, you can use regular simple syrup instead. Or even easier – maple syrup!
How to choose the right honey
Different types of honey have different flavors. I once bought chestnut honey, and it had a deep nutty flavor that wouldn’t work in this margarita but was great on pancakes.
I think the best honey flavor would be one with floral notes or an orange blossom honey would also be a good pairing.
I chose a blanco tequila that’s bad quality, but not expensive.
White tequila is aged for only a couple of months in stainless steel containers, which lends to a crispier taste that is not oaky like gold tequila. It mixes well with fruit juice and sweeter flavors.
Gold tequila is aged in oak, which gives it a distinct woody taste. Color additives are added to give it that sunny golden hue.
So, for this recipe, I recommend keeping it crisp and clear so there’s no contrast between the strong, woody flavors mixed with the tart cranberries.
I used pure 100% cranberry juice, not cranberry juice cocktail, which is why I sweetened it with the honey simple syrup. Its way too tart without any sweetener.
If you use cranberry cocktail, like Ocean Spray, halve the sweetener and then add to taste.
And should you have any unsweetened juice left over, check out this great Virgin Cosmopolitan!
Fresh lime juice
Freshly squeezed lime juice is key to a great margarita! It adds freshness and acidity to the cocktail. Using the freshest ingredients makes the perfect cocktail.
I would highly recommend avoiding bottled lime juice, if you can.
Rimming the glass is optional, but it’ll enhance the flavor.
To do this, run a lime wedge around the rim and dip it in coarse salt, sugar, or a mix of the two.
I used fresh cranberries because they add to the festiveness of the cocktail.
You could also use a lime wedge, an orange wheel or a sprig of fresh rosemary to build on the aromatics of the cocktail.
Gluten-free and vegan
This cocktail is naturally gluten-free and vegan.
According to Beyond Celiac, “Pure distilled tequila, usually made with blue agave plant, is considered gluten-free. Even if the tequila is mixtos, meaning that it contains at least 51% agave with other sugars added, it will still be safe for people with celiac disease.”
Most tequila is vegan, except those with cream or other flavorings. Here’s an article with 10 of the best brands of vegan tequila in case you’re hunting for a good brand.
Like I said above, if you’re vegan, you should skip the honey simple syrup. You can use plain simple syrup made with sugar or just use maple syrup.
More festive cocktails
I hope you’ll enjoy this cranberry margarita! If you make it, please let me know how it turned out by leaving a comment. Thanks and enjoy! :)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 1
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
- 1/2 cup (160 grams) honey
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) blanco tequila
- 1 ounce (2 tbsp) 100% cranberry juice 1
- 1 ounce (2 tbsp) fresh lime juice
- 1/2 to 1 ounce (1-2 tbsp) honey simple syrup or maple syrup, to taste, for a vegan version
- lime wedge
- coarse salt and/or sugar
For the honey simple syrup (skip this if vegan and use maple syrup):
For the cocktail:
- Add the honey and water to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the honey has dissolved – about 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Add the tequila, cranberry juice, lime juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until well chilled – about 30 seconds.
- Optional – to rim your glass, run a lime wedge around the rim and then dip it in coarse salt, sugar, or a mix of the two.
- Fill your glass with fresh ice and strain in the margarita. Garnish with a few fresh cranberries and enjoy.