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This Christmas cranberry margarita is perfect for the ho-ho-holidays! It's cranberries muddled with tequila and a homemade rosemary simple syrup. It's easy to scale into a pitcher, and it's ready in just 15 minutes!
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and as an adult that gets us excited for all the food, fun, and drinks! Every holiday needs a special cocktail and this Christmas cranberry margarita is refreshing, crisp, and bursting with cheer.
We love a good lime margarita, and we never tire of creating new versions of our favorite drink. This Christmas take on the classic margarita recipe is simple yet full of festive flavor and might be our favorite yet.
It's made with fresh or frozen cranberries, tequila, and an easy-to-make rosemary simple syrup. You can easily make a few of the elements ahead of time so all you have to do when the time comes is mix and serve.
It's the perfect festive sip for Thanksgiving, Christmas parties, and holiday gatherings throughout the season!
Christmas cranberry margarita ingredients
Here's what you'll need for the cranberry margarita:
- White tequila: also called blanco tequila or silver tequila, it's characterized by its clear appearance. It's the first spirit produced with distilled agave juice, and is typically not aged like other tequilas.
- Cranberries: fresh or frozen cranberries work equally well.
- Rosemary simple syrup: just the right amount of rosemary flavor makes this holiday cocktail extra Christmassy.
- Lime juice: fresh lime juice is best for that classic margarita tang.
- Salt: for that classic salt rim.
Rosemary simple syrup ingredients
You only need three simple ingredients for the rosemary simple syrup:
- Water: a 2:1 ratio of water to sugar is the standard ratio for simple syrup.
- Sugar: regular granulated sugar will give this syrup a crisp, clear appearance.
- Rosemary: find fresh rosemary at the grocery store or snip some sprigs from your garden.
How to make a Christmas cranberry margarita
Christmas margaritas are everything we love about a classic margarita, with extra Christmas cheer! They're one of those holiday cocktail recipes you'll come back to again and again. Here's how to make it in a few simple steps:
- Start by salting the rims of your glasses. Run a cut lime around the rims, dip them in salt, and set them aside.
- With a cocktail shaker or 1-liter mason jar, add the tequila and cranberries and muddle until the tequila turns pink. Then add the simple syrup and lime juice, top with ice, and stir. Strain into the salt-rimmed glasses.
- Garnish with sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.
How to make rosemary simple syrup
Rosemary simple syrup adds that sweet festive touch to seasonal cocktails and non-alcohol drinks, like our cranberry lemonade. We've even used it to moisten layer cakes and dress fruit salads. Here's how we make it in just one easy step:
- Bring water, sugar, and rosemary to a boil then lower to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Allow it to cool then remove the rosemary, pour it into a jar or container, and store it in your fridge.
Make it festive
How to make the sugared cranberries and rosemary
Sugared cranberries and rosemary make a beautiful garnish, and they're easy to make! Here's how to make them:
- Dip the cranberries and rosemary into some of the rosemary simple syrup, then shake off any excess. Dip them into sugar, then set them aside to dry on a parchment-lined plate.
How to make festive ice cubes
If you'd like to serve your Christmas cranberry margarita over ice, make it festive! Here's how:
- Put several cranberries into your ice cube mold and then fill it with water. Once it's frozen, the cranberries will cling to the ice and look like a Christmas decoration!
Make it a pitcher
This Christmas margarita recipe is easy to scale into a pitcher (aka party) size by using cups instead of ounces. The ratio for a pitcher of Christmas margarita is 2 cups of tequila, 1 cup of cranberries, 1 cup of rosemary simple syrup, and 1 cup of lime juice.
What to serve with a Christmas cranberry margarita
Every holiday needs a special cocktail to serve to guests, and this Christmas margarita is that perfect drink. Serve it at Christmas, New Year's Eve, or anytime during the holiday season to kick off a festive gathering.
Appetizers that pair well with a Christmas cranberry margarita
How long do sugared cranberries last?
Sugared cranberries and rosemary can be made a few days in advance. Store them uncovered at room temperature until you're ready to use them.
How long does the rosemary simple syrup last?
When stored in a sealed jar or container in the fridge, rosemary simple syrup will keep for 1-2 weeks.
Can I prepare the cocktail ahead of time?
Yes, you can definitely get a head start with this recipe. It's easy to prepare the simple syrup and the sugared cranberries and rosemary in advance. Just wait to muddle and stir the cocktail ingredients together until right before serving for the best taste.
Can I make this alcohol-free?
We sometimes make ‘margaritas' for the kids by using water or bubbly water instead of tequila, which makes it taste more like lemonade. For a different non-alcoholic treat, try this Christmas punch (mocktail)!
- 2 parts white tequila
- 1 part fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed if frozen)
- 1 part rosemary simple syrup (recipe below)
- 1 part lime juice (save one squeezed lime for rimming the glasses)
- Salt for rimming the glasses
Rosemary Simple Syrup
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 small stems of rosemary (about ½ ounce)
Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary
- Cranberries (3 per glass)
- Rosemary (1 small twig per glass)
- Rosemary simple syrup
- Granulated sugar
Christmas Cranberry Margaritas
- Pour some salt onto a plate. Run a cut lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the rim into the salt then set the glass aside.Salt for rimming the glasses
- Add the tequila and cranberries to a shaker or 1-liter mason jar. Muddle the cranberries until they have broken down and the tequila is pink. Add the simple syrup and lime juice to the shaker then top with ice. Stir until cold then strain into glasses.2 parts white tequila, 1 part fresh or frozen cranberries, 1 part rosemary simple syrup, 1 part lime juice
- Garnish with sugared cranberries and rosemary.
Rosemary Simple Syrup
- Bring the water, sugar, and rosemary to a boil in a small pot over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool then strain the rosemary from the syrup. Store the syrup in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.2 cups water, 1 cup granulated sugar, 6 small stems of rosemary
Sugared cranberries and rosemary
- Dip the cranberries and rosemary into some rosemary simple syrup then shake off the excess. Place some sugar in a small bowl then dip the wet cranberries and rosemary into the sugar. Set them aside on a parchment-lined plate to dry.Cranberries, Rosemary, Rosemary simple syrup, Granulated sugar
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.