A blood orange margarita is just a delicious classic margarita with extra blood orange! It's plenty tart and sweet from the blood orange and lime, with a rush of tequila and orange liqueur.
It is a perfect and easy cocktail for brunch, pool parties, and of course - Cinco de Mayo! It is easy to make for a crowd, as it's just a simple stirring situation.
This cocktail is America's favorite cocktail to order at a bar, 18 % of all cocktail orders are in fact, margaritas. And I totally see why, that sweet and tangy drink sure is easy to like. For another twist; make sure you try my plum margarita as well.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Chances are you came here because it's blood orange season, and you love blood oranges, or have a lot of blood oranges. Yes, this is the perfect drink for that!
Or maybe you came here because you love margaritas? It has all the flavors of the classic. It is also an easy cocktail to make, with just a slight addition to the ever-so-popular classic margarita.
The bases of this cocktail are ingredients any cocktail-lover should always have on hand.
- Blood orange juice: The extra kick of today's cocktail. Using this sweet, seasonal fruit complements the orange liqueur already in the classic margarita. Yum.
- Lime juice; The sour of the drink. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the ultimate experience. Also, save some lime juice for rimming the glass with salt.
- Tequila; There's no need to go for the top-shelf tequila for a margarita, just go for a blanco tequila you enjoy. My favorite is the Sierra Tequila Silver, a decent tequila at a good price.
- Orange liqueur: To sweeten the drink while also providing a beautiful depth and complexity. My favorite is the Cointreau, but Triple Sec works too.
- Coarse sea salt (or kosher salt): salt intensifies the sweet and sour flavors in the drink. It makes the sour taste brighter, by dampening bitter tastes. The drink will not be the same without it, so it should never be omitted.
First rim the glasses with salt. Add lime juice and coarse sea salt to two separate shallow bowls. Dip the glass first in the lime juice, then roll it in the salt, at a slight angle to get more salt around the edges.
To a shaker, add ice and all the ingredients, and shake for 30 seconds. Pour into your favorite glass. Best served over ice and garnished with a blood orange slice or dehydrated citrus (find a recipe for it in my Summer Drinks e-book!).
To make a classic margarita, simply omit the blood orange juice. Like most of my other cocktail recipes, I like to always add the classic version so you know what to expect.
Please, please - do NOT - use any pre-mixed sour Margarita mixes. There really are zero reasons to use the stuff. Not even easier.
A cocktail is usually best served right away. But you could actually mix it a couple of hours in advance, considering it doesn't have any bubbly.
Keep it chilled in the fridge, and when ready to serve, add ice!
Classic margarita ratio
The classic margarita recipe calls for 1 part Cointreau (or Triple Sec), 1 part lime juice, and 3 parts tequila.
However, some also state the 3-2-1 ratio: 3 parts tequila, 2 parts Cointreau, and 1 part lime juice.
Honestly, neither of these ratios agrees with my palate. I like my drinks sour and not too strong, so this blood orange margarita has a 1-1-1 ratio.
Any ratio is ok, as long as you find it delicious! The most important thing to remember, if you want to call it a margarita: use tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur.
What tequila do I use for a blood orange margarita?
Blanco tequila is best suited for margaritas. 'Blanco' or 'silver' means the tequila is clear. They don't overwhelm the other components of the drink. Darker tequilas are bolder, and best suited on their own.
Here are a few blanco tequilas that are suited for blood orange margaritas - or any margaritas.
And what about the Triple Sec?
Triple Sec is an orange liqueur. A margarita needs orange liqueur, but what brand you choose is up to you. Triple Sec and Cointreau are the most common.
I'm a huge fan of Cointreau - that is the orange liqueur of my choice.
Cointreau works so well with the tangy stuff, aka lime (and cranberries).
History of the classic margarita recipe
As with many stories about who invented what, we can't tell for sure which story is right. However, the most widely common theory about the classic margarita cocktail is that of Texas socialite Margarita Sames.
In the late 40s, Margarita lived a crazy party life with her husband. She supposedly got the idea when she was looking for a new, refreshing drink to serve her many guests on vacation in Acapulco, Mexico.
The main advantage of the drink was that she could drink a lot of it without getting too drunk (wait what! I had to make it weaker...).
Another story is that of bartender/restaurant owner Carlos 'Danny' Herrera, in Tijuana, Mexico.
He claims to have invented the margarita in 1938, when a restaurantgoer, Marjorie King, declared she was allergic to all spirits apart from tequila but didn't like to drink it straight. He took the classic tequila shot with lime and salt and created the margarita out of it.
Read more about the mystery behind who created the margarita, here.
Freeze blood orange juice
Blood oranges may be seasonal, but we can now have a blood orange margarita all year round! All you need to do is to juice all the blood oranges you can get, once they are in season - which is January-March-ish.
Fruit juices only stay fresh in the refrigerator for a few days, but they can actually freeze for up to 18 months. The longer you freeze it, the less nutrition is retained, but the flavor will still be there.
The one thing you need to keep in mind when freezing fruit juices is that frozen liquid expands. So you shouldn't fill the container all the way up (half an inch should do the trick).
Thaw the jar or container in the refrigerator overnight. Give it a good stir or a shake before drinking it as it can separate a little while thawing.
If you read this after blood orange season and didn't get to freeze any blood orange juice, you can choose whatever citrus fruit you like, such as more lime (can never get enough lime!) or regular oranges.
Or perhaps rhubarb is in season and you can make this Rhubarb Moscow Mule!
Here's an old photo of the drink, for your pleasure:
Did you like this recipe? Here are more Cinco de Mayo-worthy recipes:
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me@thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later!
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This recipe was originally published on Feb. 4th, 2020, but updated on Jan. 28th, 2023 for better photos and content.
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