Elevate your cocktail game with a sparkling cranberry-ginger margarita this holiday season! Made with a fresh ginger simple syrup, tart cranberry juice and bubbly ginger ale, this holiday margarita is one jolly cocktail that’s sure to put everyone in a festive mood. You won't find a more perfect cranberry cocktail for your next holiday gathering.
The holidays call for a celebration, and I can’t think of a better cocktail for the occasion than a margarita. Margaritas are always a crowd favorite, they're easy to make, and they’re so customizable that you can prepare them with just about any seasonal ingredient, which makes them great for entertaining.
I especially love these these easy cranberry margaritas come with a bubbly kick. Bubbles give this margarita a fancier feel that makes this cocktail perfect for the holidays. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s or just this wonderful time of year, a bubbly cocktail instantly adds a festive vibe with a touch of elegance.
Let’s gather our ingredients. Here’s everything we need to make our sparkling holiday margarita.
- Tequila: My favorite tequila for margaritas is a reposado, which spends time aging in oak barrels. This process gives the tequila a more complex, richer taste. Blanco tequila works as well — I just prefer the flavor of reposado.
- Fresh ginger simple syrup: A touch of sweetness helps round out the tart cranberry and lime while adding the perfect touch of holiday spice.
- Ginger liqueur: This specialty liqueur is like ginger candy, and you’ll want to put it in all your holiday drinks after one sip. I especially love the ginger liqueur from Domaine de Canton.
- Cranberry cocktail juice: We use the cocktail variety rather than pure cranberry juice, which is too tart for some people’s taste, especially with the lime.
- Ginger ale or ginger beer: This gives us those sparkling bubbles that make this margarita extra special for the holidays. Ginger ale makes for a sweeter drink while ginger beer gives a spicier kick.
- Freshly squeezed lime juice: Because it’s not a margarita without plenty of fresh lime juice. To get as much lime juice as possible, I recommend firmly rolling the lime under the palm of your hand several times and then using a handheld juicer.
How to Make Ginger Simple Syrup
Before we make our cranberry margarita, we first need to prepare our fresh ginger simple syrup. We begin by combining white sugar, water and 1-inch chunks of ginger in a saucepan.
If you’re a big ginger fan — and you must be if you’re here — I recommend keeping peeled ginger root in the freezer. That way, it’s always ready to go, and all we have to do is cut a few chunks.
Once combined, we bring the mixture to a boil while giving it a stir every so often to help dissolve the sugar. We then turn off the heat and allow the syrup to steep for about 15 minutes or so. Now we strain our syrup and chill.
For easy entertaining, we can take care of this step well ahead of time. In fact, as long as we store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it should stay good for about three to four weeks.
How to Make Holiday Margarita
With our fresh ginger simple syrup chilled, we’re ready to start mixing, so let’s grab a cocktail shaker and add our tequila, ginger liqueur, lime juice, cranberry juice, ginger simple syrup and a big handful of ice. We pop on the top and give it a good shake — about 15 to 30 seconds does the trick.
From here, we strain our margarita into ice-filled glasses — bonus points for a cinnamon-sugar rim — and then top with ginger ale or ginger beer. All that’s left is to turn on some Christmas music and sip away.
Can You Make Nonalcoholic Margarita?
Absolutely. Sometimes you need a nonalcoholic option, and this margarita is just as delicious if you need to hold the tequila. To turn this drink into a holiday mocktail, simply leave out the tequila and add an extra splash of cranberry juice and ginger ale or ginger beer.
Can You Serve Pitcher Style?
You sure can. In the main recipe card, I give instructions for one drink. I always default to a single serving for cocktails because it’s easier to scale that way, but it’s the holidays. You’re busy, so I did the math and included measurements for a pitcher in the notes section.
This festive margarita is perfect for your holiday meals, and I have several delicious options. I love how the tart cranberry and lime contrast the sweetness in these maple-braised turkey legs and thighs. My braised apple cider short ribs and apple cider pot roast also make nice options -- the spice of the cider matches well with our cranberry and ginger.
For one jolly margarita this holiday season, I hope you try this sparkling cranberry-ginger margarita. Please let me know how you enjoyed this 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 Holiday Cocktails?
- Sugar Plum Fairy Martini
- Cranberry-spice Christmas mimosa
- Chai-cranberry bourbon smash
- Sparkling pomegranate martini
- Thanksgiving mimosa
- Apple Bellini
Sparkling Cranberry-Ginger Margarita
For Fresh Ginger Simple Syrup
- 1 cup fresh peeled ginger cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white sugar
For Sparkling Cranberry-Ginger Margarita
- 1 lime juiced
- 2 ounces tequila preferably reposado
- 2 ounces cranberry cocktail juice
- 1 ounce ginger liqueur
- 1 ounce fresh ginger simple syrup
- Sugar for garnish, optional
- Ground cinnamon for garnish, optional
- Splash of ginger beer or ginger ale
For Sugared Cranberry Garnish (Optional)
- ½ cup sugar divided
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- For Fresh Ginger Simple Syrup
- Add ginger, water and sugar to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Turn off heat once it boils and the sugar dissolves.
- Allow the syrup to steep for at least 15 minutes and strain. Chill and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for several weeks.
- For Sparkling Cranberry-Ginger Margarita
- Add the lime juice, tequila, cranberry cocktail juice, ginger liqueur, fresh ginger simple syrup and a handful of ice in a cocktail shaker. Put on the top and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- If you would like a cinnamon-sugar rim, mix together the cinnamon and sugar on a small plate. On another small plate, add water and lightly dip the rim of the serving glass into the water to moisten. Then, swirl the moistened rim in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Add ice to the serving glass and strain the margarita into the glass. If desired, garnish with sugared cranberries. Enjoy!
- For Sugared Cranberry Garnish (Optional)
- In a small sauce pan, add ¼ cup sugar and water over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve sugar.
- Once the sugar dissolves, stir in the cranberries and turn off the heat. Make sure they’re well-coated with the simple syrup.
- On a large plate, spread the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Drain the cranberries and roll in the sugar. Allow to set on a wire rack for about an hour.
- To make in a 64-ounce pitcher with eight servings, use 8 limes, 2 cups tequila, 2 cups cranberry juice, 1 cup ginger liqueur, 1 cup fresh ginger simple syrup and 1 cup ginger beer or ginger ale. Add the ginger beer or ginger ale right before serving.
- To get the most juice out of the lime, I recommend firmly rolling the lime on the counter several times under the palm of your hand before cutting, and then use a handheld juicer to extract as much juice as possible.
- Ginger beer makes for a spicer cocktail while ginger ale makes for a sweeter cocktail. Both are delicious -- it just comes down to personal preference.
- 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.