This pomegranate margarita is a bright and colorful twist on the classic cocktail. It has a wonderful balance of tart, fruity and sour flavors and is perfect for a festive occasion (or any excuse you want to make).
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I'll admit that margaritas are not really a cocktail I would tend to order out as they can be very inconsistent. Some bars, of course, make them very well, but others can be either watery-tasting, use slightly odd-tasting sour mix or get the flavor mix wrong.
Made at home, though, you can make it just how you like, as well as make tasty variations like this.
What are the origins of a classic margarita?
The margarita is a relatively modern drink, though the exact origins are a bit debated. One of the most popular stories is that a Tijuana restaurant owner, Carlos "Danny" Herrera, invented it in 1938. But he's far from the only person to claim being the creator.
Another possibility is that 'margarita' is simply the Spanish for 'daisy' and in fact if you swap out the brandy in the Prohibition-era Daisy for tequila (and lemon for lime), this is what you would get. But the drink feels very different, especially with the traditional salt rim.
Whatever the origin, it has, of course, become a worldwide favorite. A perfect version should have a good balance of sweet, tart and sour flavors. Traditionally, the only sweetness comes from the triple sec or Grand Marnier. With only lime and ice to dilute the drink, it's relatively strong, too.
As well as the common slushy variation, these days this is a highly riffed-on cocktail, often involving fruit. Fruity flavors can be a great compliment to the basic flavors in this drink, as well as adding some color, as is the case here.
The fruit component is typically in the form of juice and is in addition to everything else. This makes the drink less strong, but arguable more drinkable. Some also add additional sweetener like simple syrup or agave (as you'll also find in variations of the original). In some cases, I'd argue it can be too sweet especially with a sweeter juice.
I admit I do add a little sweetener (well, sometimes) into my passion fruit margarita as I think it helps bring out the flavor, and passion fruit can be quite tart. But a mango margarita is definitely sweet enough without.
This version is one where you can decide for yourself whether to add a little sweetener or not. It works both ways. Pomegranate can be relatively tart, which to me makes it a wonderful compliment to the original flavors. And the color is simple stunning as well.
A cocktail fit for a party
Given both the season for pomegranates is the winter and the festive color, this makes a great cocktail for festive parties. I've given the recipe as an individual drink, but you can also make this in larger quantities as a pitcher to serve a crowd. A suggested larger quantity version is in the notes.
If you plan ahead, and access to fresh pomegranate, it's fun to freeze some pomegranate arils into ice cubes for serving. They don't add flavor to the ice, but if they fully melt, you can, of course, enjoy biting into them.
Whether served to a crowd, or simply enjoyed for yourself, the flavors in this pomegranate color are as bright and beautiful as it's color. It has a great sweet-tart balance and a gentle fruitiness. This wonderfully drinkable cocktail is definitely one to add to your list.
Try these other festively colored cocktails:
- Cranberry whiskey sour
- Blueberry French 75
- Pomegranate mojito
- Kir imperial (Raspberry champagne cocktail)
- Plus get more cocktail recipes in the archives.
- 1 ½ oz tequila 45ml (blanco/silver)
- ¾ oz triple sec 23ml, or Grand Marnier
- 1 ½ oz unsweetened pomegranate juice 45ml (bought or freshly squeezed)
- ¾ oz lime juice 23ml, freshly squeezed
- ½ tablespoon salt approx, will not use all
- 2 tablespoon pomegranate juice will not use all - or use slice of lime
- ice cubes for glass and to shake, lime wedge to garnish (optional)
- pomegranate arils to make pomegranate ice cubes, if you like
- To make pomegranate ice cubes - add around 3 - 4 pomegranate arils/seeds to each ice cube block then add water to fill around ¾ full. Place level in freezer to freeze a few hours or overnight before needed.
- To rim the glass with salt - pour the additional pomegranate juice into a small plate and the salt on another. Dip the edge of a glass in the juice so that you have a little all around the edge, then dip the edge in the salt, turning slightly as needed so that salt sticks to the rim. Carefully turn the glass back over and add some ice cubes into it, without knocking off the salt.
- Place some ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and add the tequila, triple sec, pomegranate and lime juices. Shake well then strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a slice of lime (you can also add additional pomegranate arils if you like).