Christmas, Cocktails, Winter

Best Christmas Margarita Recipe – How to Make a Cranberry Orange Margarita

The Christmas margarita is the perfect holiday cocktail. It combines the festive flavors of cranberry and orange with lime and tequila.

The holidays are a great time for gathering with family and friends over good food and even better holiday cocktails. This Christmas Margarita is the perfect holiday cocktail because it contains so many Christmas flavors. This easy recipe contains five simple ingredients, tart cranberry juice, smooth blanco tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice, and a splash of orange juice. The result is a delicious cocktail, perfect for the holiday season.

Christmas margarita in a low ball glass with fresh cranberries, lime peel, and orange slice.

Serve Christmas Margaritas at your next Christmas party or holiday gatherings. Your friends and family will love this festive holiday cocktail!

For another fun festive cocktail, try this Christmas Martini recipe!

What is a Christmas Margarita?

A classic margarita is traditionally made with tequila, orange liquor, and lime juice. This Christmas margarita recipe combines the traditional recipe with classic holiday flavors, cranberry and orange. Both fruits are in season during the holidays, making them the perfect holiday cocktail ingredients.

This cranberry orange margarita contains tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice, cranberry juice cocktail, and a splash of orange juice. It is served with a sugar rim rather than a traditional salt rim. The sugar provides a balance to the tartness of the cranberry cocktail. It is one of my favorite Christmas drinks.

Ingredients Needed for This Festive Margarita

  • Tequila – Silver tequila, also called tequila blanco, is the best tequila for this cocktail. Silver tequila has a stronger, clearer taste than gold tequila. It is better for flavored margaritas because it doesn’t mask the additional flavors.
  • Triple Sec – This orange liqueur enhances the citrus flavors of the margarita. Substitute triple sec for Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or any other orange liqueur you have on hand.
  • Lime Juice – Add additional brightness and acidity to the margarita with fresh lime juice. You can’t have a margarita without a splash of lime!
  • Cranberry Juice – This tart and sweet juice is the perfect addition to a festive cocktail. Fresh cranberries are in season in the late fall, which makes them a key holiday flavor.
  • Orange Juice – This ingredient is controversial, but a splash of orange juice goes a long way! It adds more acidity to the cocktail to counteract the sweet cranberry juice. And it adds a distinct orange flavor. Cranberry and orange go hand in hand with many holiday recipes because the flavors complement each other.
Christmas margarita in lowball glass on a wooden table.

Cranberry Juice vs. Cranberry Juice Cocktail

What is the difference between regular cranberry juice and cranberry juice cocktail? 100% cranberry juice does not contain any added sugar. So the flavor is more tart and a little bitter. If you use cranberry juice in a cocktail, be sure to add a sweetener, like simple syrup or agave nectar!

I recommend using a cranberry juice cocktail instead. This is the traditional way most of us drink cranberry juice. It is still tart but with plenty of added sweetener.

How to Add a Sugar Rim

Sugaring the rim of a cocktail glass enhances the flavor of this tart cocktail. Plus, it adds a special visual touch to the drink as well.

What You Need
  • A shallow dish larger than the rim of your glass
  • Lime
  • Sugar

Fill the shallow dish with sugar, about 1/2 a centimeter deep.

Run a slice of lime along the lip of the cocktail glass. The lime juice gives the sugar something to stick to. Then place the glass upside down into the dish with the sugar.

Overhead view of a Christmas margarita topped with cranberries, lime, and orange on a wooden table.

The result is a lovely sugar rim. It’s the perfect garnish for a tart cocktail like this cranberry margarita.

This Margarita Pairs Well With:

How to Make a Christmas Margarita

This holiday margarita is a huge hit this time of year. It is tart, sweet, and a little salty, as a margarita should be! The sugar around the rim of the glass enhances the flavor and beauty of the cocktail.

Step One – First, add tequila, triple sec, lime juice, cranberry juice, and orange juice to a cocktail shaker. 

Step Two – Add a handful of ice to the shaker. Then firmly place the lid on the cocktail shaker. Shake for 30 seconds to combine the cocktail ingredients and chill them.

Step Three – Strain the cocktail in a margarita glass with a sugar rim.

Garnish this winter cocktail with a few fresh cranberries and orange slices. A lime wedge or a sprig of rosemary would also be a great garnish since red and green are Christmas colors.

Christmas margarita made with cranberry juice in a short glass with a sugar rim.

Can I Make This Cocktail in Advance?

Absolutely! You can mix all of the ingredients for this recipe, except the ice, in advance! Simply mix all of the liquids and store the cocktail in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve. If storing for more than 24 hours, keep the cocktail in an airtight container. Do not store for more than 7 days.

Make It In Bulk

If you want to make this cocktail for a large group of people, multiply the ingredients on the recipe card below by the number of holiday guests you need to serve. Then mix the holiday margaritas in a large pitcher.

You could even make a batch and keep it on hand for an evening cocktail throughout the week. Perfect for watching Christmas movies on the couch! These are a few of my favorite Christmas movies on Hallmark to watch!

This cranberry orange margarita is the perfect Christmas signature cocktail for margarita lovers! The combination of cranberry and orange fills your favorite traditional margarita recipe with holiday cheer. Serve a big batch of the best Christmas margaritas at your next holiday party.

Christmas Margarita

The Christmas margarita is the perfect holiday cocktail. It combines the festive flavors of cranberry and orange with lime and tequila.
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Beverage
Cuisine Drinks & Smoothies
Servings 2 people


  • 3 oz Tequila Blanco
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 2 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 4 oz cranberry juice


  • Add tequila, triple sec, lime juice, orange juice, and cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker.
  • Shake until mixed
  • Serve over ice in a sugar rimmed glass
  • Garnish with cranberries and a slice of orange.
Keyword holiday cocktail, margarita

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