Cranberry Margaritas with Sugared Cranberries

Just when I was trying to decide whether to make some more sparkling cranberry cheese bites with the leftover sugared cranberries I had in the fridge or snack on them by themselves–and by myself, I stumbled across a recipe for cranberry margaritas which actually called for sugared cranberries.  It was a sign!

Timing is everything, isn’t it?  I put those margaritas on the fast track, knocking pumpkin and apple recipes out of the way.  The original recipe called for making not only a vanilla ginger syrup but also for making fresh cranberry juice.  Normally, I would have had no problem with making the fresh cranberry juice—it’s easy enough, but let’s get real.  With the holidays looming and my pile of holiday recipes growing out of control, I had to rein myself in and just bought a bottle of cranberry juice.  The end result was still so spectacularly good that it’s hard to imagine this margarita tasting even better than it did.  If I had to describe it in three words—I’d say “Wow, wow…wow!!!”  Yes, repetitive—but fully descriptive.

If you’re a margarita fan, you will absolutely love this sweet and salt-ringed margarita.  It is so colorful and festive that I just wanted to sit and look at it for awhile before I drank it.  But—as Yoda would say—drink it, I did.

Next year, I will be retiring; and Roger and I will be heading back to Massachusetts to live on Cape Cod, home of the cranberry bogs.  Until then, drinking these cranberry margaritas will make the Cape seem just a little bit closer.

One year ago:  Nantucket Cranberry Pie

Two years ago:  Pecan Pie Bars

Cranberry Margaritas with Sugared Cranberries

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Yield:  makes 1 margarita, is easily multiplied

Ingredients for Margaritas

  • 2 1/2 oz. cranberry juice
  • 2 1/2 oz. vanilla ginger syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/2 oz. silver tequila
  • Coarse salt for glass rimming
  • Limes for garnish and sugared cranberries to pop in drinks

Ingredients for the Vanilla Ginger Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger

Directions for the Vanilla Ginger Syrup

Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan.  Scrape the beans out of the vanilla bean and add them and the whole pod to the saucepan along with the ginger.  Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking until the sugar dissolves.  Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes; then set it aside to cool to room temperature.  If you’re making this ahead of time, store it in the fridge with the vanilla bean pod and ginger still in the syrup.  If you’re using it as soon as it cools, remove the ginger and the pod.  This will make about 1 cup of syrup – keep it stored in the fridge for a week or so.  Note:   My vanilla seeds really clumped up, so I decided to strain the syrup.

Directions for Margaritas

To make the margaritas, rim the ridge of your glass with a lime wedge and dip in coarse salt.  Fill the glass with ice.  In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, Grand Marnier, simple syrup and lime juice with ice, and shake for about 30 seconds.  Pour over ice and garnish with lime slices and sugared cranberries.

Fran’s Notes

The sugared cranberries make a pretty garnish but are totally optional.

If you want to tone down the sweetness, just squeeze the juice from the lime garnish into your margarita.

Source:  A recipe from

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