For many years, my family has enjoyed a version of frozen cranberry margaritas which includes cranberry sauce. My copy of the recipe doesn’t include a source, but red stains and splotches dot the page and speak to how often we prepare and enjoy it. I love the richness that the sauce brings to the margaritas, but I wanted to reduce the sugar content and avoid canned cranberry sauce which often has added ingredients such as corn syrup. This is my “fresher” alternative which is tart, slightly sweet and a wonderful substitute for the original version. We’ve enjoyed this recipe at Christmastime, but it’s a perfect cocktail for your Valentine’s Day romantic dinner as well.
- 2 ounces tequila blanco, 100% de agave
- 4 ounces cranberry juice 100% juice preferred
- 4 Tablespoons cranberry sauce See recipe in blog post
- 2 ounces lime juice freshly squeezed
- 2 ounces orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1 cup ice
- Coarse salt, sugar, lime wedges and/or fresh cranberries as garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Run a lime wedge over the rim of two highball or margarita glasses. Dip the glass rims in coarse salt or sugar.
- Pour the margarita mixture into the glasses. Garnish with fresh cranberries and a lime wedge.
You’ll need the following ingredients for these Cranberry Margaritas(See the recipe for specifics):
- 100% de agave blanco tequila
- Cranberry juice, preferably 100% juice
- Cranberry sauce, canned or better yet the freshly made sauce recipe below
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Freshly squeezed orange juice
- Garnishes optional, coarse salt or sugar, fresh cranberries and/or lime wedges
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Run a lime wedge over the rim of two highball or margarita glasses. Dip the glass rims in coarse salt or sugar.
Pour the margarita mixture into the glasses. Garnish with fresh cranberries and a lime wedge.
To prepare cranberry sauce from scratch you’ll need
- 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- zest of one orange
- 2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
- ½ cup water
In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, orange zest and juice and water. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
Things you might like to know about this recipe for margaritas…
You can purchase cranberries either fresh or frozen. If purchased fresh, they should be hard and smooth. Fresh cranberries should bounce. Cranberries are tart and sour and harvested in the fall mainly in Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
According to Healthline.com, they are primarily comprised of fiber and carbohydrates. Cranberries are often described as superfoods because of their high content of vitamins and minerals as well as bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. Compounds in cranberry juice may help to prevent urinary tract infections, stomach cancer and heart disease. Although cranberries are safe to eat, Webmd.com cautions that too much consumption of cranberry juice over time may lead to kidney stones and those taking warfarin should check with their doctors about safety.
Fresh lemon juice is a must for this recipe. Lemons can be expensive, so you want to get as much juice out of them as possible. There are a number of ways to do this, but the quickest and my favorite way is to heat whole lemons in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. Be careful not to overheat the lemon or the juice will literally spill out of the pores.
Some recipes list whole or parts of lemons as ingredients. I prefer not to do that because each lemon can produce a significantly different amount of juice. If you google how much juice is in a lemon, you’ll find anywhere from 3-5 Tablespoons. If a recipe requested 3 lemons, those lemons could produce as much as 15 Tablespoons to as little as 9 Tablespoons of lemon juice. 15 Tablespoons is a little under a cup of juice and 9 Tablespoons is a little over a half cup of juice.
If you have leftover juice, you can store it in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days, but it does not stay fresh for long, so if you aren’t planning to use it, freeze it in ice cube trays, and once frozen, add the lemon cubes to a freezer bag or freezer safe container and store in the freezer until you’re ready for lemon juice again.
Maple syrup comes from the sap of sugar maple trees. It is available in 4 grades based on its color. Grade A is light amber, medium amber and dark amber and Grade B is the darkest syrup available and has the strongest maple flavor. Grade B is usually for baking whereas the lighter grades are for drizzling on foods such as pancakes. Read food labels carefully when buying maple syrup to make sure that it is pure and not maple flavored syrup with added ingredients such as corn syrup or refined sugar.
All “maple syrups” may not be vegan. Check the ingredients and label carefully to make sure there are no added ingredients.
Microplane(for zesting the orange)
If you don’t own a microplane, check in here for an article on alternatives. The zest of fruits add beautiful color and flavor to your dishes. Whether you use a microplane or an alternative, watch out not to add any of the white pith just under the bright skin of the fruit. It has a bitter taste.
Tequila is a distilled spirit made from the blue weber agave plant and produced in only five areas of Mexico. 99% of tequila is made in Jalisco. According to Decantur.com, there are
6 type of tequila:
“Blanco (white) or plata (silver) – can be bottled directly after distillation or rested in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels to allow oxidisation for up to two months. These have a bold taste and work well in cocktails.
Joven (young) or Oro (gold) – sometimes blends of unaged and aged tequilas but more commonly unaged tequilas produced in the same way as blancos but given a golden hue from the addition of colouring and additives for flavour.
Reposado (rested) – must be aged in oak barrels of unspecified size or vats called ‘pipones’ for a minimum of two months and up to a maximum of 12 months. Best for mixed drinks and sipping.
Añejo – must be aged in oak casks with a maximum capacity of 600 litres for at least one year, or between one and three years. These often have a toasty, vanilla and citrus flavour.
Extra Añejo – must be aged at least three years in oak barrels with a maximum capacity of 600 litres. These generally have more of a smoky flavour and can be compared to fine French Cognacs with similar price tags.
Curados – a new category launched in 2006 – tequilas flavoured with natural ingredients such as lemon, orange, strawberry, pineapple and pear. A minimum 25% agave spirit must be used with 75% of the fermentable sugars coming from cane or corn and the addition of sweeteners, colouring and/or flavourings up to 75ml per litre.”
100% agave is recommended to avoid added ingredients such as sugar, other distillable products, flavorings and colorings which can impact the taste and are not required to be disclosed.
Fresh orange juice is a must for this recipe. It is high in nutrients including vitamin c, folate and potassium. According to Healthline.com, orange juice is also high in antioxidants, may help prevent kidney stones, may improve heart health and may decrease inflammation.
You can sometimes purchase freshly squeeze orange juice at the market, but you can also squeeze it yourself. You’ll find some tips and options for squeezing fresh orange juice here.
You might also enjoy these Dark Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bites to add to your Valentine’s Day celebration.