Let’s celebrate winter citrus season in the best way possible — with this Cara Cara margarita! Made with freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange juice, this winter citrus margarita balances the perfect sweet and tart combination for one refreshing cocktail. You’ll want to sip on this tasty little number all season long.
Why You Need to Make This Recipe
Winter citrus is at its best this time of year, and there’s no better way to enjoy these seasonal fruits than with a delicious cocktail. My blood orange margarita has always been a favorite, and now we’re adding this Cara Cara cocktail to the list.
A Cara Cara orange is a cross between two types of navel oranges with a beautiful pink flesh. This ultra juicy orange variety is sweeter and less acidic than your typical navel orange, so it wonderfully melds with classic margarita flavors.
Sounds delicious, right? This is truly one of my favorite winter fruits, but we need to enjoy it while we can. Cara Cara orange season only lasts from December to April, so that means we need to whip up as many of these margaritas as possible. Lucky us.
Let’s make sure we’re ready to start mixing. Here are the ingredients for a Cara Cara orange margarita.
- Fresh Cara Cara juice: The star of our cocktail show!
- Fresh lime juice: You don’t want bottled lime juice. Fresh is the way to go.
- Tequila: I like my margaritas with reposado tequila, which spends time aging in oak barrels to give it a more complex taste than blanco tequila. But feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
- Orange liqueur: For a top-shelf margarita, you can’t go wrong with Gramd Marnier or Cointreau. Triple sec works for a more economical option.
- Simple syrup: The touch of sweetness helps round out the citrusy flavors. If you prefer a more tart margarita, you may find the simple syrup is unnecessary, but I think it's best with some added sweetness.
- Ice: To make our winter citrus margarita as refreshing as possible.
- Garnishes: I like a salted rim with lime and Cara Cara orange slices.
- Bar tools: We need a cocktail shaker, a jigger or small measuring cup, and a citrus juicer.
Let’s grab a cocktail shaker and start mixing. We begin by adding the Cara Cara orange juice, lime juice, tequila, orange liqueur, simple syrup and a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker. We pop on the top and give it a good shake for about 30 seconds.
If we’d like a fancy rim, which I always enjoy, we rum a lime slice along the lip of the glass. This moistens the glass, so we can then swirl the it on a small plate with coarse sea salt. Just like that, we have our salted rim.
Now we strain our margarita into our rimmed glass and add lime slices and Cara Cara orange slices for an extra pretty garnish. And that’s it! Sip and enjoy winter’s best flavors.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- You can use store-bought or homemade simple syrup. To make simple syrup, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. For an even stronger Cara Cara flavor, we could even add zest from one orange to the mixture. This will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks when stored in an airtight container.
- If your store is out of Cara Cara oranges, feel free to substitute another citrus. It will still make for a delicious winter citrus margarita.
- If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, a mason jar with a lid works as well.
- When picking limes, get those that feel plump and have some give when you press on them. If they’re too hard, that’s a sign the juice has dried up.
- Before juicing the lime, firmly roll it and on the countertop under the palm of your hand a few times. This gets the juices flowing.
- If you need an nonalcoholic version, skip the tequila and liqueur and replace with a sparkling water topper.
Since we’re all about winter citrus, let’s keep the theme going with my slow-roasted blood orange salmon. This salmon features a blood orange glaze with honey and ginger, which perfectly meld with the Cara Cara orange, and this citrusy cocktail helps keep our palate refreshed after eat bite of the rich salmon.
I hope you make the most of winter citrus season with this Cara Cara margarita. Please let me know how you enjoyed this seasonal margarita recipe in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You can also catch me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Looking for More Winter Citrus Cocktails?
- Grapefruit gin mule
- Blood orange mojito
- Italian margarita
- Blood orange gin and tonic
- Rosemary-grapefruit vodka spritzer
- Blood orange gin fizz
Cara Cara Margarita
- Cocktail shaker
- Jigger or small measuring cup
- Citrus juicer
- 2 ounces tequila preferably reposado
- 2 ounces freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange juice
- 1 ounce orange liqueur preferably Grand Marnier or Cointreau
- 1 ounce simple syrup (see note)
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice about 1 lime juiced
- Coarse sea salt for garnish, optional
- Additional lime and Cara Cara orange slices for garnish, optional
- In a cocktail shaker, add the tequila, Cara Cara orange juice, orange liqueur, simple syrup, lime juice and a handful of ice. Put on the top and shake until cold, about 30 seconds.
- If desired, pour sea salt onto a small plate. Moisten the rim of the serving glass with an extra lime slice and then swirl the rim in the salt.
- Strain the margarita into an ice-filled serving glass. Garnish with additional lime and Cara Cara orange slices. Enjoy!
- If you prefer a more tart margarita, you can leave out the simple syrup. I like the touch of sweetness and think it rounds out the flavors.
- Before juicing, roll the lime firmly under the palm of your hand a few times and use a handheld juicer to get as much lime juice as possible.
- To make enough for a 12-serving pitcher, you'll want 3 cups tequila, 3 cups Cara Cara juice, 1 ½ cups orange liqueur, 1 ½ cups simple syrup and 1 ½ cups lime juice (or 12 limes).
- Need a different serving amount? The calculation is easy: Calculate the ounces by the number of servings, and then divide by eight. That will give you the cup equivalent.
- For full tips, please see blog post.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.