Treat yourself to a taste of the tropics with this absolutely perfect passion fruit margarita! With just the right balance of sweet and tart notes, this passion fruit cocktail is one drink you’ll want to sip on all summer long. Plus, this party favorite takes only a matter of minutes to whip up, and you can easily batch it to make a pitcher of margaritas.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Instantly whisks you away to Hawaii: Also known as lilikoi in Hawaii, passion fruit is a favorite of the island. One taste of this lilikoi margarita and you’ll think you’re on a relaxing Hawaiian vacation without ever leaving your backyard.
No mixes: We use only fresh ingredients here to make a superior margarita. A great cocktail should never rely on some sticky-sweet, fake margarita mix.
Simple for home bartenders of all skill levels: Whether you’re new to home bartending or an expert mixologist, this recipe will guide you in making the perfect margarita. The process couldn't be easier.
Pitcher-perfect recipe: Want to make a pitcher of passion fruit margaritas? No problem. This recipe is great for batching. Summer entertaining doesn’t get easier than this.
Tequila: The most common types of tequila for margaritas are blanco and reposado, also known as silver tequila and gold tequila, respectively. I much prefer reposado for my margaritas. Blanco tequila goes straight into stainless steel barrels while reposado tequila ages in oak barrels for two months to a year. The barrel-aging process makes for a smoother finish with more complexity.
Passion fruit purée: You can use fresh or frozen passion fruit purée. Fresh passion fruits aren’t always available, and they’re a bit pricey. Frozen fruit goes into the freezer at peak ripeness, so you’re still getting good-quality passion fruit purée with this option.
You might also come across passion fruit juice. While it can work in a pinch, highly recommend opting for frozen or fresh passion fruit purée if possible for the best flavor. This alternative just isn't quite as brightly flavored as the real deal.
Orange liqueur: For a house margarita, triple sec works just fine. If you prefer a top-shelf margarita, however, use Cointreau or Grand Marnier.
Lime juice: Don’t skimp and use bottled juice. We want freshly squeezed lime juice for the best flavor. And, of course, don't forget a lime wedge for serving.
Simple syrup: With the tart lime juice and passion fruit, this adds just the right touch of softness. You can substitute it with agave nectar if you prefer.
Make the Salted Rim
Step 1: Before we make our very best margarita, let’s prepare that fun salted rim. For this step, we dip the glass onto a small plate with water or run a lime slice along the rim to moisten, and then we swirl the glass in coarse sea salt or kosher salt (photo 1). We set aside the glass for now.
Tip: If you'd like to add extra flavor to your salt rim, mix in a little chili powder for a kick or freshly grated orange and lime peel for a zesty touch. You can even combine salt with sugar for a little sweetness.
Mix the Drink
Step 2: Now we grab our cocktail shaker and add the tequila, passion fruit purée, fresh lime juice, orange liqueur, sugar syrup and a handful of ice (photo 2).
Step 3: From here, we put the cap on the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for about 15-30 seconds (photo 3).
Step 4: After shaking, we remove the cap and strain the margarita into our salt-rimmed, ice-filled margarita glass (photo 4).
Add the Garnish
Step 5: For our finishing touch, we add a lime wheel to the rim of the glass (photo 5). A passion fruit slice floating in the center of the glass also makes for a nice presentation. Who doesn’t love a pretty garnish?
In a few easy steps, we now have the perfect passion fruit margarita ready for sipping. Grab some chips and mango salsa, find a spot on the patio and enjoy the evening.
How to Make a Pitcher of Margaritas
Want to make multiple margaritas in one swoop? Here’s how to prepare a pitcher.
- Stir together the tequila, passion fruit purée, orange liqueur, lime juice and simple syrup in a large pitcher.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. You don’t want to go longer than that because the lime juice will start to lose its brightness.
- When it's party time, stir the drink again and shake the margaritas as originally directed (plan for about ¾ cup per serving). I recommend this method so that you still get the proper dilution and aeration for a better texture.
- If you prefer for guests to serve themselves, add a couple handfuls of ice, stir for about 15-30 seconds and use a slotted spoon to remove the remaining ice. This accounts for the dilution you get with shaking, but you won't get the aeration.
You can find the exact proportions for the pitcher in the notes section of the recipe card.
This varies on your location, but in Denver, I can find passion fruit at specialty grocers, such as Whole Foods and Sprouts. As of today, I’ve never seen it at your more common big-chain grocery stores, but that could be different in other states. Fortunately, I’ve seen frozen passion fruit purée at both specialty and big-chain stores, and it works beautifully in this drink recipe.
Don’t let the wrinkly skin fool you. A ripe passion fruit is dark purple with wrinkly skin. If the passion fruit is green and smooth, it may be too tart.
The process truly is simple: bring 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. As it boils, we want to stir it occasionally to help dissolve the sugar.
To store it, allow the syrup to cool completely and then keep it in a sterile, airtight container in the refrigerator. With proper storage, it should last for several weeks. You know it’s time to make more simple syrup when the mixture darkens and turns cloudy.
Absolutely, simply leave out the tequila or use a nonalcoholic tequila, and you have yourself a passion fruit margarita mocktail. Another option is to replace the tequila with another tropical fruit juice, such as orange juice, pineapple juice or passion fruit nectar.
Variations and Substitutions
If you’d like to put your own stamp on this recipe, these are some fun ideas to try. Please let me know if you add your own spin. I always love hearing new ways to make a unique margarita.
- Instead of simple syrup or agave nectar, use a flavored sweetener, such as passion fruit syrup for even more tropical flavor or this ginger syrup for a touch of warm spice. Cream of coconut would also be fun.
- Give it some heat by first muddling jalapeño slices with the syrup and then build the drink as directed.
- Or give it a sweeter touch and muddle some fresh fruit, like strawberries or peaches.
- Substitute orange liqueur for passion fruit liqueur — I'm especially partial to Chinola.
- Turn it into a frozen passion fruit margarita. I like to blend ½ cup crushed ice per drink — crushed ice blends much more easily than whole ice cubes. Make sure you use frozen, unthawed passion fruit purée here too.
Get juicy limes: You don’t want rock-hard, dried-out limes. Instead, look for limes that have a bit of give when you press your fingers into the peel.
Make your own seedless passion fruit purée: To do this, blend the fresh pulp with a splash of water and strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the passion fruit seeds. Alternatively, you can add the fresh passion fruit pulp right to the cocktail shaker, and then you can double strain those crunchy seeds with a fine-mesh cocktail sieve.
Use a citrus juicer: This helps maximize your juice output.
Shake hard: For the proper shaking technique, use two hands to get enough force behind the shake. Think of it as a quick arm workout before indulging.
Quality matters: Use the best tequila that fits your budget. By no means should you get the most expensive tequila, but let’s avoid anything that comes in a plastic bottle, like the stuff I used to drink in college. These days, I’m partial to Corralejo, but here’s a list of the best tequilas for margaritas if you need some ideas for your shopping list.
Obviously, this margarita calls for some beachy Mexican food. As a starter, you’ll love this tropical pico de gallo, and then follow that with some lobster tacos, salmon tacos or both — hey, you can never have too many tacos. You can serve some coconut-lime rice on the side and then finish with this orange-spice tres leches cake.
For those times you’re ready to kick back with the ultimate tropical cocktail, you’ll come back to this passion fruit margarita recipe over and over again. It’s sure to be your favorite cocktail for summer.
Up Your Margarita Game With More Recipes
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Perfect Passion Fruit Margarita
- Cocktail shaker
- Jigger or small measuring cup
- Citrus juicer
- Water or lime wedge cut in center for salted rim, optional
- Coarse kosher or sea salt for salted rim, optional
- 2 ounces tequila preferably reposado
- 2 ounces passion fruit purée fresh or thawed from frozen (see notes)
- 1 ounce orange liqueur such as triple sec, Cointreau or Grand Mariner
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ ounce simple syrup can substitute agave nectar
- Lime wheel for garnish, optional
- For an optional salted rim, pour some water onto a small plate and mix together the coarse sea salt and zests on a separate small plate. Dip the rim of the glass in the water to moisten. Alternatively, you can run a lime slice along the glass. Swirl the moisten rim into the salt mixture. Set aside.
- Add the tequila, passion fruit purée, orange liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup and a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker.
- Put the top on and shake vigorously for 15-30 seconds.
- Strain into the serving glass filled with ice. If desired, garnish with a lime wheel. Enjoy!
- To make fresh passion fruit purée, cut several passion fruits in half, add the pulp to a blender with a splash of water and process. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any larger bits and seeds. Alternatively, you can use 2 ounces of straight passion fruit pulp, but you will get seeds. You can use a fine-mesh cocktail strainer to remove them when pouring the drink into the serving glass.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.