How to Make a Mistletoe Margarita You'll Want to Kiss

Get in the spirit of the season with a sweet-tart Christmas margarita.

Published October 27, 2021
Mistletoe Margarita


  • 1¾ ounces tequila
  • 1½ ounces tart cranberry juice
  • ¾ ounce orange liqueur
  • ½ ounce rosemary simple syrup
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • Rosemary sprig and lime wheel for garnish


  1. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, tequila, tart cranberry juice, orange liqueur, rosemary simple syrup, and lime juice.
  2. Shake to chill.
  3. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice.
  4. Garnish with rosemary sprig and lime wheel.

Variations and Substitutions

Mistletoe margaritas don't have a recipe that's set in stone, meaning it can be changed and altered to best fit your desired flavors and preferences.

  • Using mezcal instead of tequila will yield a smokier margarita.
  • If mezcal isn't for you, consider smoked bitters.
  • Likewise, cinnamon, cherry, and rhubarb cocktail bitters all complement the cocktail.
  • Instead of rosemary simple syrup, consider cinnamon, vanilla, cherry, or regular simple syrup.
  • Swap the lime juice for lemon juice.


A cocktail is incomplete without a garnish, so whether you want to dress it up or down, utilize any of these garnish options or make your own.

  • Use an orange wedge or wheel to up the citrus flavors.
  • Toast your rosemary sprig for a smokier, more savory garnish.
  • A dehydrated citrus wheel, such as lemon, lime, or orange, adds a new look.
  • Pierce several whole fresh cranberries on a cocktail skewer. Elevate this look further by alternating with a citrus peel ribbon.

About the Mistletoe Margarita

The tale of the mistletoe margarita is the story of a holiday twist on an enduringly popular tequila drink. Of course, since mistletoe is poisonous, you can't really add it into a margarita. So instead, the flavors are intended to evoke the essence of the holiday season.

The story of the classic margarita starts around Prohibition. It's argued that margaritas were born of necessity, as tequila was the easiest spirit to obtain by running across the southern United States border to Mexico. Others counter that it's a result of the original brandy daisy-- a cocktail with brandy, orange liqueur, lemon, and gum syrup.

It wouldn't be until the turn of the century that the mistletoe margarita would start to emerge onto the scene. Turning the classic margarita on its head, it still relies on tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice to form its base. But the addition of cranberry juice and rosemary simple syrup is what transforms this cocktail into a seasonal delight. Cranberry flavors set the mood for the tart yet sweet flavors of the holiday, while rosemary simple syrup brings it all together to weave the notes of the ingredients together.

A Margarita's Kiss

Don't spend another holiday season thinking about margaritas and summer. The mistletoe margarita will carry you through the winter season effortlessly. You may not miss the classic as much, or at all, after you master these.

How to Make a Mistletoe Margarita You'll Want to Kiss