Entertaining is not something I’ve been naturally good at from the start.  Since my first very small holiday party for family and friends in our first college apartment, it’s been a learning experience with trial and error every step of the way.  Each time I host any sort of meal, party or gathering, I find something new that’s a smashing hit and probably also something that didn’t go quite the way I had hoped.  Thankfully I have an awesome crowd of family and friends who are still willing participants through all of my successes and failures.  One of the main things I have noticed over time is that details matter.  A few well planned details can take a party from nicely done to impressively polished.  And even though it is a little bit of extra planning, that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated.

Serving a signature cocktail is an excellent detail that is a crowd pleaser in more ways than one.  Guests will appreciate an option for a festive drink beyond the usual assortment of beer and wine, and of course a good seasonal beverage is a hit in and of itself.  These cranberry margaritas are especially convenient because you can mix up a large batch in advance and have a pitcher ready when your guests arrive. Just be sure to make a big batch because in my experience, they disappear quicker than you might anticipate.  These will be making an appearance at our Thanksgiving meal and we are most definitely looking forward to them.


  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ cup tequila
  • ¼ cup triple sec (or other orange liqueur)
  • 3 tbsp. simple syrup*
  • Coarse sugar or salt
  • Ice
  • Lime wedges and/or fresh cranberries, for garnish


  • 01

    Combine cranberry and lime juices, tequila, triple sec and simple syrup in a large liquid measuring cup. Stir well to combine. Serve over ice in glasses rimmed with coarse sugar or salt, if desired.

  • 02

    *In a small saucepan, combine equal parts sugar and water.  (I usually use 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar, and keep on hand in the fridge for use in beverages.) Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves completely. Transfer to a heat-proof pitcher and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes before use in a drink.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 months.

  • This cocktail has so many beautiful christmassy flavours and colours. Sounds delish

  • My mom and I both LOVE margaritas, so this will definitely be the drink of the day on Thanksgiving!

  • allyson

    Wow this looks SO good! I am such a fan of margaritas and this would be perfect for the holidays! Thanks!

  • Ali @ Solano’s Kitchen

    Yum these look perfect for Thanksgiving! Maybe I’ll have to sample one tonight, you know, just to trial it :)

  • sweetsugarbelle

    Is it sad that I am ready to be unpregnant, just so I can have one of these? Or even a cranberry margarita popsickle, LOL! This is a WINNNER!

  • Liz N.

    I cannot wait to serve these up next week for Thanksgivukkah. However, i may not be able to wait that long! YUM!

  • Amelia

    Yum! Anything that makes a big batch and can be made in advance is a WIN! (Almost typed wine ;) and it’s only 11 am). I am going to serve this in addition to the ‘ambrosia’ cocktail that I’m making. Thanks!

  • Louann Zundel

    I have been searching for the perfect cocktail for Thanksgiving and here it is! Thanks, Annie!

  • This cranberry margaritas looks splendid. Just pinned

  • Pretty sure I’m going to have to make these this weekend. I have all the ingredients!

  • I love entertaining, but the drinks before dinner is an area that I don’t ever remember since we don’t really drink much. Having something like this around might just jog my memory though. :)

  • Diana

    I’d love a post on some of those little details that make a party! I’m proud of myself if I make labels for the food!

  • What a fun drink idea! Definitely bookmarking this for use over Christmas :)

  • Jenn V

    I made these tonight and they were a hit! So pretty and festive with the cranberries and lime garnish :)

  • Steph in Lex

    These look awesome! Can’t wait for a chance to try them.

  • The devil’s in the details, as they say. But so is being a rockstar hostess! I am definitely still in the learning part of the dinner party curve and even when mistakes are made, it’s always fun! I’ve yet to attempt a signature cocktail at a party but it really is such a great idea. Definitely keeping this in mind for some winter soirees I’ll (hopefully) be having!

  • Carolyn McCambridge

    These were a hit at our dinner party! Ended up making a triple batch and still ran out. Thank you for the fantastic recipe!

  • Elizabeth from Indy

    My sisters and I aren’t getting together until Christmas, but these will definitely be on the menu then! And I will have to test them out before then…maybe several times just to make sure they are as great as they sound. :)

  • Tracy

    Perfect cocktail for the holidays, I’m excited to try it out!

  • mary doman

    I just made this for our Friendsgiving party! (http://minutespermile.com/2013/11/25/freezing-run-friendsgiving-fun/) — we noted that cranberry cocktail, not 100% cranberry juice, tastes a lot better/easier to drink (100% cranberry juice is too bitter.) thanks for the recipe!

  • I made these yesterday and they were a huge hit! I used vanilla simple syrup, and loved the creamy undertones it added. I made a virgin version for non-drinkers, which was also a big hit! Thanks for the great recipe. Made your sparkling cranberries, too–so pretty and festive!

  • Amanda Brewer

    I haven’t had one of these since Christmas last year and I plan to serve them at a Friendsgiving celebration this year. It’s seriously so good. Tequila is my favorite liquor! I’d make one today if I had cranberry juice.