Merry Margaritas – Cocktails for Christmas

I’m rather a fan of a Christmas Margarita. I don’t recall why it started as a tradition in our household, but I remember making my very first on Christmas morning nearly 20 years ago and I’ve rarely missed it since. Sometimes it’s had to be lemon juice rather than lime, but it’s always been fresh.

The recipe has varied slightly over the years, but as someone who likes the simple life (and an equal parts Martini), I tend to use an amount of tequila that equals the combined quantities of juice and liqueur.

50ml Tequila Blanco

25ml Fresh Lime

25ml Orange Liqueur

To make, simply shake with ice and strain into a glass. I like my Margarita served “up” (without ice) in a stemmed cocktail glass, although a wine glass will do.

A selection of orange liqueurs tried in a Margarita

Your choice of orange liqueur will certainly make a difference to the final drink; as I had a few on hand, I thought I’d try them out in my Christmas Day Margarita recipe to see how they varied.

Grand Marnier – A richer orange flavour comes through, along with woodiness and floral flavours. It makes a more luxurious drink, but the lime notes seem to be less zingy and the drink lacks the crisp refreshment that many of its fans adore.

Mandarine Napoleon – The lime is rather subdued, as is the drink’s characteristic tartness, but the agave character of the spirit does come through more and the floral mandarin complements it nicely. This wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is still a lovely, elegant drink.

Cointreau Rogue – This produces a very typical and classic Margarita. The orange shines through well, complementing the lime and adding a slight zestiness reminiscent of shredless marmalade.

Cointreau Noir – Delightfully elegant. It is crisp, it is sweet, it is slightly salty and there is a lovely ripple of dark chocolate running through the whole thing – very much a high-end Margarita.

Cointreau Blood Orange – This blood orange liqueur has a slightly musty character to it, which means that it clashes a tad with the other ingredients. Not recommended, but can be rescued with a splash of regular Cointreau.

Cognac Ferrand Yuzu Curacao – An exceptionally fun alternative. This has a delightfully creaminess to it, followed by notes of candied peel and delicate floral hints of rose and jasmine, all before a clean, almost lemon-curd-esque tartness. A balanced dessert of a Margarita if there ever was one – sensational!

Margarita with Ferrand Yuzu Dry Curacao

For those who like to try something a little different, I’ve also come up with some festive variations on the Margarita.

Merry Margarita (Christmas)

[60ml Tequila Blanco, 15ml Fresh Lime, 15ml Sweet Cream Sherry, 2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters]

Shake the ingredients with ice, before fine-straining into a glass. Serve with a twist of orange peel and a small square of Christmas cake on the side.

Merry Margarita

Candy Cane Margarita

[50ml Tequila Blanco, 25ml Lime Juice, 15ml Cointreau, 10ml Green Crème de Menthe]

Shake the ingredients with ice and fine-strain into a chilled, stemmed glass. Garnish with a mini candy cane and red cherry.

Candy Cane Margarita

Hot-buttered MargaritaHOT!

[20ml Reposado Tequila, 10ml Lime Juice, 10ml Grand Marnier, 5-10ml Sugar Syrup, Heaped teaspoon of butter, 60ml Boiling Water]

Stir the ingredients (except the butter and boiling water) without ice and then pour into a heat-proof glass. Top up with boiling water and then add the butter and gently stir.

The butter adds a lovely creaminess to the drink, but is neatly balanced out by the sweetness of the liqueur and syrup and the sharpness of the lime juice.

Hot-buttered Margarita

One Minute to Margarita (New Year’s)

[50ml Tequila Blanco, 25ml Fresh Lime, 25ml Cointreau Noir, 15ml Champagne]

Add all of the ingredients (except the Champagne) to a shaker with ice, shake vigorously, and strain into a cocktail glass, before topping up with Champagne. For a gaudy garnish, tape a small cocktail sparkler to the side of the glass and light. Be sure to carefully remove and dispose of the sparkler once it has gone out and before drinking, or you might end up with a singed eyebrow or worse!!

One Minute to Margarita

Hopefully these Margaritas will fill you full of festive cheer – Merry Christmas from Summer Fruit Cup!