Cranberry Margarita

Happy One Week Before Thanksgiving… pressure!! Stacie from Southern Sophisticate our reigning Queen of Cocktails is back this month with a truly Thanksgiving inspired cocktail.  I, myself, am not a big fan of cranberry sauce, but I think I could probably get on board to drink this tasty Cranberry Margarita!  Take it away, Stac! 


Hey guys! It’s Stacie from Southern Sophisticate!

I’m back on Amanda’s blog, and just in time for a little Thanksgiving prep. While many of you are working on the dishes you will bring to the table, my focus is on the initial part of the celebration.. cocktail hour. It eases tension, brings people together and literally breaks the ice. While choosing wines to go with an elegant meal is important, I believe that welcoming guests with a fun libation is what sets the tone for the gathering. At my house, things are always casual and fun, so a margarita seems completely appropriate.

Of course, it’s not a typical ‘rita—and certainly doesn’t involve one of those crazy machines. This is a bit more refined and includes tastes of the holiday.

At first glance, this may seem like a lengthy or complicated recipe, but it isn’t. I simply make a big batch of the ‘jam’ so that I can whip 1-2 of these at any time. This amount will make 12+ cocktails (and it’s great on toast, too). Keep the cranberry mixture in your fridge for up to a month if your group is small and use it for a little self-soothing concoction post holiday.

Cranberry Cocktail

Cranberry Cocktail


    For the Jam
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • One 4-6” sprig rosemary
  • 1/3 cup Sugar in the Raw
  • 1.5 packets Stevia in the Raw sweetener
  • (* you can use simply 2/3 cup granulated sugar instead of the 2 above)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. orange zest
  • For the Cranberry Margarita
  • 1 tsp. Sugar in the Raw
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. 5 spice powder
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 3 oz. premium tequila


    For the jam
  1. Bring cranberries, rosemary sprig, water, sugar and orange juice to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to med/low and simmer for about 20 min, stirring often. I like to use a wooden spoon to mash up the berries. You’ll know when it get’s ‘jammy’ in consistency. Remove from heat, take out rosemary, and stir in stevia and orange zest. Cool to room temperature.
  2. For the Cranberry Margarita yields 2 cocktails
  3. Put 3 Tbsp. of the jam in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Rub lime wedge over the rim of 2 old-fashioned glasses or small jars (get them pretty wet).
  4. Put spices onto plate and mix. Rub glass rims into spice/sweet/salt mixture to coat.
  5. Fill glasses with mini ice cubes or crushed ice. Pour tequila and juice from orange and lime over ice. Shake well with jam. Strain into 2 rimmed glasses.

There are no rules —its not baking or science. If you want more cranberries, use more jam. If you want a stronger drink, use more tequila. For those who are avoiding alcohol, skip the booze and put in a bit of sprite/soda and more lime juice. It all depends on what you like. My husband loves this cocktail as is. But, I like mine to last longer and to be a little lighter if I’m planning on more than one. For my personal drink, I use a bigger glass and mix in some club soda for a ‘cran-rita’ spritzer. No matter how you prefer yours, the point is to have fun and enjoy the flavors with family and friends!

Another fun thing to do in advance of the holiday is to infuse some of your favorite spirits so that guests can sample something creative no matter what their spirit of choice. Here’s a little guide on how to get your bar stocked with amazing flavors on my blog Southern Sophisticate.

See y’all next month!



Stacie never fails to impress me with her cocktail creations and what a perfect drink for a pre-dinner aperitif!  If you want a fantastic damage control drink for all our Thanksgiving indulgences, check out her Pina Colada Smoothie that will help get that waistline back under control!

Pina Colada Smoothie

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