This delicious and gorgeous Cranberry Margarita is the perfect cocktail to make this holiday season. Garnished with a skewer of sugared cranberries and an orange twist, this festive drink is sure to get your guests in the spirit of the season and spread some cheer!

A festive cranberry margarita served with a skewer of sugared cranberries and a sugared rim in a martini class on a wooden cutting board with rosemary and orange slices as garnish. The perfect Christmas cocktail or Thanksgiving drink!

Why You’ll Love This Festive Cocktail

Move over cranberry sauce, and say H-E-L-L-O to this refreshing cranberry margarita! Cranberries always remind me that the holidays are right around the corner. One day, while making some cranberry sauce, I decided to blend the berries, add some tequila, and a splash of Grand Marnier as a reward for my hard work. One sip of this festive potion, and I was sold — pure heaven! (Or close to it.)

If you love cranberries like I do (and let’s not forget tequila), then you’ll love this spunky blend. One look at this gorgeous red cocktail dressed up with a crystallized cranberry swizzle stick and you’ll say, “H-O-L-A Margarita!”

Salud, and happy holidays from my kitchen to yours!

Key Ingredients

This cranberry margarita recipe is twofold — the cocktail and the swivel sticks.

For the cranberry margaritas, you’ll need:

  • Freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 4 oranges)
  • Granulated sugar
  • Fresh cranberries (one package; found in the produce section of the grocery store)
  • Your favorite tequila
  • Orange Liqueur (I recommend: Grand Marnier) 
  • Cranberry puree

And for the swivel sticks, all you’ll need is bamboo skewers, more fresh cranberries, light corn syrup, and granulated sugar. That’s it!

Festive Garnish

First, make the cranberry swizzle sticks, skewer several cranberries onto 10 skewer sticks, leaving enough skewer exposed on one end. Lightly brush each cranberry skewer with the light corn syrup, and then sprinkle granulated sugar over the cranberry skewers. Place the cranberry swizzle sticks on wax paper and place in the freezer to set.

an overhead view of three sugared cranberry skewers to be used as a garnish for these cranberry margarita Christmas cocktails

How To Make Cranberry Puree

Melt the sugar in the orange juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cranberries, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Set aside, and let it cool.

A white colander filled with bright red cranberries to be used in the cranberry puree for this cranberry margarita recipe

Blend the cranberry mixture in a blender, and then strain to make the puree.

Shortcut: Want a quick cranberry margarita? Replace cranberry puree with bottled cranberry juice!

In a shaker, add crushed ice, 1 1/2 ounces of tequila, 1/2 ounce of Grand Marnier, and 1 1/2 ounces of cranberry puree or cranberry juice. Shake well to mix.

Pour drink into a sugar-rimmed glass. Add a cranberry swizzle stick for garnish, and enjoy!

Make a Cranberry Margarita Pitcher

Want to whip up a batch of cranberry margaritas for a crowd? Make a pitcher that serves eight! 

  • 1 ½ cups cranberry puree or cranberry juice
  • 1 ½ cups tequila blanco
  • 1 cup Grand Marnier
  • ½ cup orange juice (omit if using puree)

A festive cranberry margarita served with a skewer of sugared cranberries and a sugared rim in a martini class on a wooden cutting board with rosemary and orange slices as garnish. The perfect Christmas cocktail or Thanksgiving drink!

Serving Suggestions

This cranberry margarita is the perfect cocktail to serve around the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas! It pairs well with classic Mexican dishes served during these holidays like Chicken Pozole Verde and Capirotada.

Additionally, this festive cocktail is a fun drink to make for a tamalada, weeknight dinners, or get-togethers with friends and family!

I like serving this cocktail straight, but can be served on the rocks, or made into a frozen cranberry margarita. You could also serve it with some fresh mint leaves to create a gorgeous red and green theme perfect for this Christmas cocktail!

A festive cranberry margarita served with a skewer of sugared cranberries and a sugared rim in a martini class on a wooden cutting board with rosemary and orange slices as garnish. The perfect Christmas cocktail or Thanksgiving drink!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this cranberry margarita a mocktail (aka nonalcoholic)?

Absolutely! You can make this a virgin cranberry cider by replacing the tequila and Grand Marnier with 2 ounces of sparkling cider.

Can I use any other citrus in this cocktail?

Orange really is the best citrus to pair with cranberries, but you could use any type of orange you like! Blood oranges, navel oranges, and even clementines produce a delicious juice that works beautifully with the cranberry puree, tequila, and Grand Marnier.

Can I use another type of liquor?

Go for it! It just won’t be a margarita. But it would still be delicious! Gin or vodka would be great substitutions for this Christmas cocktail recipe.

How can I make this a frozen margarita?

You could keep it simple and just blend it in a high-speed blender with some ice cubes, or you could freeze the orange juice and cranberry puree ahead of time, and then blend them with the remaining ingredients before serving. Serve with a sugared rim, and you’re set!

Can you eat raw cranberries?

Yes, it’s safe to eat raw cranberries, but I would not recommend eating them. Their tangy taste can be off-putting to some people, and they tend to be very bitter on their own. 

More Cocktail Recipes To Try

Have you made this easy cranberry margarita recipe as your signature Christmas cocktail? Please be sure to rate and review it below!

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A festive cranberry margarita served with a skewer of sugared cranberries and a sugared rim in a martini class on a wooden cutting board with rosemary and orange slices as garnish. The perfect Christmas cocktail or Thanksgiving drink!

Cranberry Margarita

5 (1 rating)
If you love cranberries like I do and let’s not forget tequila, then you’ll love this spunky blend. One look at this gorgeous red cocktail dressed up with a crystallized cranberry swizzle stick and you’ll say, “H-O-L-A Margarita!”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, about 4 oranges
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 16 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 ½ ounces tequila blanco
  • ½ ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1 ½ ounces cranberry puree

Cranberry Swizzle Sticks:

  • 10 skewer sticks
  • 16 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup light Karo corn syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Instructions 

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the sugar in the orange juice. Add the cranberries and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Set aside and let it cool. Blend cranberries in a blender, then strain to make the puree
  • In a shaker add crushed ice, 1 1/2 ounces of tequila, 1/2 ounce of Grand Marnier, 1 1/2 ounces of cranberry puree and shake to mix.
  • Pour drink into a sugar-rimmed glass. Add a cranberry swizzle stick for garnish.

Cranberry Swizzle Sticks:

  • Skewer several cranberries onto 10 skewer sticks but leave enough skewer exposed on one end. Lightly brush each cranberry skewer with Karo syrup and then sprinkle granulated sugar over the cranberry skewers. Place the cranberry swizzle sticks on wax paper and place in the freezer to set.

Virgin Cranberry Cider:

  • Replace the tequila and Grand Marnier with 2 ounces of sparkling cider.

Notes

  • Shortcut: Want a quick cranberry margarita? Replace cranberry puree with bottled cranberry juice.
  • Mocktail/Virgin option: replace the tequila and Grand Marnier with 2 ounces of sparkling cider.
  • No cocktail shaker? Use a spill-proof, to-go coffee mug or mason jar.
  • Cranberry Margarita Pitcher: To make 8 servings, mix together in a pitcher: 1 ½ cups cranberry juice or cranberry puree, 1 ½ cups tequila, 1 cup Grand Marnier, and ½ cup orange juice. Serve over ice.
Calories: 168kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 3mg, Potassium: 48mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin C: 8mg

Photography by Jenna Sparks 
Originally published: November 2010. This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook.