When a margarita meets a tequila sunrise in a cranberry bog, you get the best cranberry margarita to celebrate the season!
A Festive Cranberry Margarita Recipe
I have been waiting for cranberry season with bated breathe just so I can make these cranberry tequila cocktails!
A good margarita is one of my favorite things, and this festive spin makes it even more fun. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart with the bonus of being the prettiest cranberry margarita ever (h/t tequila sunrise). 😉
If you’ve ever made homemade cranberry sauce, or mixed up a margarita at home, you totally got this. Make the Christmas Sunrise Margarita your signature cocktail this holiday season!
Cranberry Margarita Ingredients
- Cranberry simple syrup – frozen or fresh whole cranberries, granulated sugar and water combine to make a gorgeous red syrup.
- Silver tequila – also referred to as blanco tequila; it’s a clear or colorless tequila. (My favorite tequila is Espolòn!)
- Triple sec – a type of orange liqueur commonly used in margaritas.
- Fresh lime juice – nothing beats freshly squeezed for margaritas.
- White cranberry juice – it’s important to use white cranberry juice to keep the margarita light in color so the sunrise effect shines through.
- Optional garnish ideas – sanding sugar, coarse sea salt (or kosher salt), lime wedge, sprig of rosemary, whole cranberries.
This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you (thank you!). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the full Disclosure for more information.
Tools of the Trade
How to Make a Tequila + Cranberry Cocktail
- Make a cranberry simple syrup – in a small saucepan, bring cranberries, granulated sugar and water to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes. Use a fine mesh strainer to drain the mixture into a bowl, pressing the cranberries with a silicon spatula to express the juice. Cool completely.
- Create a sugared or salted rim – cut a slit in the center of a lime wedge and rub it around the rim of your glass. Dip the rim into a dish of sugar or coarse salt. Fill with ice.
- Shake the margarita – add ice cubes to a cocktail shaker, then pour in tequila, triple sec, lime juice and white cranberry juice. Shake it vigorously until the outside of the shaker is screaming cold. Strain the cocktail into the prepared glass.
- Create the sunrise – slowly pour some cranberry simple syrup over the back of a spoon so it glides into the glass and sinks to the bottom. Add your garnishes and enjoy!
One More Step Before You Enjoy
After you admire the pretty sunrise of your perfect holiday cocktail, stir the cranberry simple syrup into the margarita to experience a blended balance of sweet & tart flavors! A rosemary sprig makes the perfect drink stirrer.
Need a Pitcher of Margaritas?
Follow these steps to prepare 8 servings at a time for holiday parties!
- Make the cranberry simple syrup.
- Stir together 8 oz. tequila, 4 oz. triple sec, 8 oz. lime juice and 24 oz. white cranberry juice in a 48 oz. or larger cocktail pitcher. (Or, blend the ingredients together with just a few ice cubes to get a frothy finish.) Refrigerate until party time.
- Rim cocktail glasses with sugar or salt and fill with ice.
- Pour the margaritas directly from the pitcher into prepared glasses, then add cranberry simple syrup to create the sunrise effect. Don’t forget the garnish!
Make it a Mocktail
It’s easy to turn this into a non-alcoholic party drink! Substitute the tequila and triple sec for zero-proof alternatives and still enjoy that classic margarita flavor. Make it truly family friendly by simply omitting the booze – make up for the volume by using additional white cranberry juice, fresh orange juice, or a splash of seltzer water (make it a flavored seltzer for bonus points!).
Helpful Recipe Tips
- Type of tequila – I like silver tequila for this cocktail because it is colorless and really lets the cranberry simply syrup pop. However, the best tequila for this recipe is your favorite…so if you prefer gold tequilas or a reposado tequila, go for it.
- Lime juice – When making a big batch of cranberry margaritas, you might be hesitant about juicing enough limes for the recipe. I’ll admit, I often reach for a bottle of Santa Cruz organic lime juice. It’s a premium product and the next best thing to fresh squeezed!
- Use those cooked cranberries – after you’ve strained the cranberry simple syrup, you’ve basically got yourself cranberry jam! Add it to sandwiches and wraps, make a cranberry and brie appetizer, add it to holiday desserts or spread it on toast and biscuits.
When to Serve This Delicious Margarita
The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a seasonal cocktail, so this is the perfect libation for a Christmas party, holiday happy hour or New Years celebration!
But, it’s pretty pink hue makes it just as ideal for Valentine’s Day, a girls night in, or a bachelorette party.
More Seasonal Cocktails!
- Sparkling Pear + Kumquat Sangria
- Big Batch Frozen Pink Cadillac Margaritas
- Grapefruit Pomegranate Cocktail
- Thanksgiving on the Cape (a holiday Cape Cod)
- Winter Sunset on the Seine
- Cranberry-Lime Wine Sparkler
Cranberry Tequila Cocktail: Christmas Sunrise Margarita
Cranberry Simple Syrup (makes about 1-1/4 cups, enough for 20 margaritas)
- 6 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup water
Margarita for One (pitcher instructions in Notes section)
- 1 oz silver tequila
- 1/2 oz triple sec
- 1 oz lime juice
- 3 oz white cranberry juice
- 1/2 oz cranberry simple syrup
- sugar or coarse salt for rimming glasses
- lime wedges or wheels
- rosemary sprigs
- whole cranberries fresh or sugared
- Cranberry Simple Syrup: Bring cranberries, sugar, and water to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing juice from the cranberries with a silicon spatula. Allow to cool completely before using. (Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks.)
- Margarita: If desired, rub a wedge of lime around the rim of a cocktail glass, then dip the glass in sugar or salt. Fill with ice. Pour tequila, triple sec, lime juice and white cranberry juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into the cocktail glass. Slowly pour 1/2 oz of cranberry simple syrup over the back of a spoon into the margarita so it sinks to the bottom. Garnish with cranberries, lime and rosemary.
- To enjoy: include a swizzle stick or cocktail stirrer to stir up the margarita and distribute the cranberry simple syrup. It blends with the tart lime for a perfectly balanced cocktail.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only. I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying ingredient purchases.