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.
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.
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.