This easy cranberry apple margarita recipe is a crowd pleaser! Cranberry juice and apple cider join tequila and a splash of orange juice for a tart, extra fruity spin on a cocktail classic with a golden sugar rim.
If there's one mixed drink that I'm nearly always a fan of, it's a margarita.
Tart, citrus-y, and not too sweet, this festive version of a cranberry apple margarita incorporates tequila, of course, but also apple cider, cranberry juice, and a splash of orange juice (or orange liqueur!) in place of lime for the citrus element.
Fitting as a Thanksgiving margarita? I think so.
- Tequila: Blanco tequila (also known as silver tequila) is used for this cranberry apple margarita.
- Apple cider: Regular, unfiltered apple cider is used, not sparkling apple cider. I love this variety as it has a bolder apple flavor and adds some heft to this drink, though I've subbed in hard apple cider to good results. I haven't tried sparkling apple cider. If using something carbonated, stir, don't shake as the carbonation will cause a big mess.
- Cranberry juice: Either cranberry juice cocktail or 100% juice cranberry juice is a good option in a cranberry apple cocktail. That latter kind isn't a typo, this variety is 100% juice but cranberry is cut with naturally sweeter juices like white grape and apple. Real deal, 100% cranberry juice is unsweetened and may be too tart in a cocktail.
- Orange juice/liqueur: Instead of lime, orange juice or liqueur brings the citrus element and ties together all the flavors here. Freshly-squeezed orange juice is best if going that route, otherwise I like to use Cointreau.
How to Make This Cocktail
- Start by stirring together granulated and brown sugars on a small plate. It doesn't have to be really precise, just enough of each to make a "golden" sugar blend.
- Wet the outside edge of the rim with water, then press the moistened edge into the sugar until the glass is coated all the way around.
- Add ice cubes to a cocktail shaker.
- Pour in the tequila, apple cider, cranberry juice, and orange juice/liqueur. Shake well until chilled, then pour/strain into glasses.
Tips and Tricks
- As with just about every drink recipe, feel free to tweak it to your tastes.
- Thinly-sliced apples and/or orange peel twists make a wonderful garnish.
- When it comes to mixing up cocktails, I love my mini angled measuring cup (affiliate link). I couldn't find the exact one I have, but the one I linked to is the same capacity and just as inexpensive. Love that it has both ounce and tablespoon measurements, visible both on the side and the top from the angled edge.
To Make a Pitcher
This cranberry margarita recipe can be easily scaled up to make a pitcher. The quantities below would make a pitcher that serves six drinks.
- 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) tequila
- 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) apple cider
- 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) cranberry juice
- ¾ cup (6 ounces) orange juice/liqueur
If you're serving the drinks quickly after pouring you can add ice to the pitcher, but it may be easier to just add ice to the individual glasses. That way you don't risk diluting the margarita pitcher if it melts.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Cranberry Apple Margarita
- 2 ounces blanco tequila
- 2 ounces apple cider
- 2 ounces cranberry juice
- 1 ounce orange juice or orange liqueur such as Cointreau
- Brown sugar and granulated sugar for rimming glass
- On a small plate, stir together small, relatively equal amounts of brown sugar and granulated sugar until evenly combined. Wet the outer edge of the rim of the serving glasses with water, then press it into the sugar mixture until the rim is coated evenly.
- Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Pour in the tequila, apple cider, cranberry juice, and orange juice/liqueur. Shake well, then pour/strain into the rimmed glasses. Serve with ice and/or with thin apple slices for garnish if you like.
- Cranberry juice: Either cranberry juice cocktail or "100% juice" cranberry juice (usually cut with white grape or apple juices) works here. Pure unsweetened cranberry juice would likely be too tart in a mixed drink
- Orange juice/liqueur: This margarita works well with either. If using juice, freshly-squeezed is recommended.
- 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) tequila
- 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) apple cider
- 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) cranberry juice
- 6 ounces (¾ cup) orange juice or orange liqueur
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer
Jennifer Teves says
My husband and I love these! Sooo good. I’ll definitely keep this recipe.
So glad to hear that! 🙂
If making a pitcher should I add ice to the pitcher or just put ice in glass and pour over margarita?? Looking for our thanksgiving drink 🙂
Either way would work! If you're not serving it all soon after making it, it might be a better option to just add ice to glasses and pour it over. That way it doesn't get diluted if the ice sits awhile and melts. Hope you enjoy!
What would the measurements be for a pitcher?
Hi Jessica, 1 1/2 cups (12 oz) tequila, 1 1/2 cups apple cider, 1 1/2 cups cranberry juice, and 3/4 cup (6 oz) orange juice will make 6 servings. That along with ice should be able to fit in a pitcher!
We always have “adult treats” for our neighbors when they bring their little ghosts and goblins for trick or treat, I found party favors that look like a blood bag (with a syringe to fill them) and labels to put on them. I think using this concoction in those bags would be perfect.
What a fun, festive idea!! I love that. Hope you all enjoy! 🙂
What an incredible flavour combo in this tequila cocktail! And I LOVE the brown sugar rim.