Mistletoe Margarita

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Mistletoe Margarita

Skip to the recipe

It’s convenient that the shortest days of the year are always the ones leading up to Christmas, because longer nights plus holiday celebrations create the perfect scenario for a new cocktail. This festive twist on a classic margarita features muddled rosemary and cranberries to add sweet, warming notes to the sour, bright lime and tequila base. The color is to die for and the flavor is even better. What more could you ask for in a holiday drink?

In true New Mexican fashion, my family has a tradition of eating tamales and posole, both with tons of red chile, on Christmas Eve. This year Sean and I made the tamales from scratch too and I am soooo excited to share them with my family. We used this recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch for the masa and general how-to, and then I made 2 fillings, one with poblano peppers + green chile and another with pork + red chile. BUT, that’s not why we’re here!

As fun as the idea of mulled wine is, I wanted to drink something this Christmas that was seasonal and festive, and also went really well with our New Mexican dinner. This Mistletoe Margarita is just that!

First, if you want a salted rim, run a lime wedge around the rim of your glass of choice and then dip it in a shallow plate or bowl of course sea salt until you have the desired amount. I prefer to use an old-fashioned glass, but any size or shape of glass you like will work! Then, fill your glass with ice (whether it be 1 large ice cube in an old-fashioned glass, more smaller cubes in a taller glass, or no ice in a martini or other glass) and set aside.

To make the drink, muddle about 1/4 cup of fresh cranberries and a nice sized rosemary sprig in a cocktail shaker. I usually include the whole sprig of rosemary, but you can remove the leaves and just use those if you prefer. Either way, you want to muddle until the cranberries are pretty much pulp, and make sure to crush a good amount of the rosemary too – it has only a subtle flavor in this drink so you don’t want to miss out.

Once everything is nice and crushed, then you can add in your tequila of choice, Cointreau (you could also use Grand Marnier or Triple Sec here), lime juice, and simple syrup. (To make the simple syrup, bring equal parts of water and sugar to a boil and stir until the mixture is completely dissolved. Allow to cool to at least room temperature before adding to drinks.) Then, shake it all up with ice for about 15 seconds and strain into your glass!

Garnishing your drinks with sugared cranberries and rosemary adds a really festive and beautiful touch, especially if you’re serving for a (COVID-appropriate) crowd. To do this, bring equal parts water and sugar to simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, for example, 1 cup each. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from the heat, and then transfer to a heat-proof bowl. Add 1 cup (equal amounts) of fresh cranberries and several sprigs of fresh rosemary (i.e. the number of drinks you plan on serving) to the water-sugar mixture and stir to completely coat. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, and then cover and place in the refrigerator to chill. Once chilled, strain the cranberries and rosemary sprigs (which will be nice and sticky) out of the water and toss them in about 1/4 cup granulated or sparkling sugar. Toss to coat, and then serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Of course, you can adjust the proportions here depending on how many drinks you plan to make.

Stay tuned this week for more Christmas recipes leading up to the big day, and of course enjoy!

xoxo Katie

The Recipe

Mistletoe Margarita

A holiday twist on your favorite margarita.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 drink


  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • course sea salt for the rim of the glass, optional
  • sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs for garnish


  1. To salt the glass (if desired), run a lime wedge around the rim of a glass and dip the rim into a shallow bowl filled with course sea salt. Add ice to the glass (if desired) and set aside.
  2. Muddle the fresh cranberries and rosemary in a cocktail shaker until the berries burst and their juices are released. Add the tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and simple syrup and shake with ice for 15 seconds. Strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with sugared cranberries and a sugared rosemary sprig.

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