Drink of the Week: Cranberry Jalapeño Margarita

Since it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada I figured it would be fun to incorporate a holiday ingredient such as cranberries into a cocktail. I googled “cranberry sauce in cocktails” and stumbled upon this gem from Mint/820, a bar in cocktail-crazed Portland, Ore.: the Cranberry Jalapeño Margarita. It promised to be a tarter, prettier, more festive version of one of my favourite cocktails.

Hold the gravy and save room for the cranberry margarita "sauce."

Hold the gravy and save room for the cranberry margarita “sauce.”

Since I didn’t have a fresh jalapeño on hand I improvised with some jalapeño pepper jelly. And without lemons — like the recipe called for — I used fresh mandarin orange juice, as I thought it would pair nicely with the cranberry sauce. The ratios were also a bit wonky, calling for 2-1/2 oz of tequila but only 1/4 oz of Cointreau, for example, so I adjusted them according to my palate. I also added an egg white as I am currently loving how they smooth out and bind sour cocktails.

The result is a delicious twist on a margarita that’s tart, just spicy enough, and sweet from orange juice and cranberry sauce rather than simple syrup (true, there’s a touch of agave syrup as well). I also love the colour — it’s perfect for a fall day, turkey or no.

That's a fresh-cranberry-atop-an-orange-slice garnish. Very festive!

That’s a fresh-cranberry-atop-an-orange-slice garnish. Very festive!

Cranberry Jalapeño Margarita

  • 2 oz Patron Reposado
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz fresh mandarin orange juice
  • 1 barspoon agave syrup
  • 1/2 oz cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 oz jalapeño pepper jelly
  • 1/2 oz egg white

Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to dissolve the cranberry sauce and jelly, then strain into a margarita glass filled with crushed ice (there will be bits of cranberry and pepper seeds from the jelly that get through, but it adds a nice texture). Garnish with a single cranberry atop an orange slice.

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