No Christmas party is complete without a generously-stocked bar, and with so many festive favourites to choose from, you’re sure to be spoilt for choice. You can get the party started with an exciting array of Christmas cocktails, or welcome your guests in from the cold with a steaming mug of Spiced Rum Punch or one of many other warming winter drinks. But the drink everyone is asking for this year is the White Christmas Margarita. It may seem an odd choice for a winter drink at first - the Classic Margarita is a drink more commonly associated with long summer evenings in small, friendly bars - but the Margarita is a versatile cocktail, with alternative margarita recipes for almost any occasion. The White Christmas Margarita, in particular, has become an instant classic, and it’s easy to see why. Coconut milk adds an indulgent, creamy texture and compliments the tropical flavour of lime, and with plenty of crushed ice and a generous layer of sugar crystals around the rim of the glass, this festive cocktail looks just like a scoop of freshly-fallen snow.
Christmas Margarita: Ingredients
1 (400g) can unsweetened coconut milk
350ml / 12oz silver tequila*
235ml / 8oz triple sec
120ml / 4oz fresh lime juice
Plenty of ice
Lime wedge, to rim the glass
Sanding sugar, to rim the glass
Cranberries (fresh or frozen), to garnish
Spring of rosemary, to garnish
* It is important to use silver (blanco) tequila as more aged tequilas take on a golden colour and will make your cocktail look muddy. Some good-quality silver tequilas include Patron Silver, Don Julio Blanco, or El Velo Blanco.
Christmas Margarita: Steps to make it
Put some ice into a blender and pour over the coconut milk, triple sec and lime juice. Blend until the mixture is the consistency of snow.
Pour a generous layer of sanding sugar onto a plate or tray. Next, take the lime wedge and run it around the rim of each glass. While the glasses are still wet, turn them upside down and dip in the sugar until well-coated.
Pour the coconut mixture from the blender into the sugar-rimmed glasses, and garnish with a cranberry or two and some rosemary. The rosemary is added for its glossy green needles, rather than its flavour, so take care not to mix your rosemary sprigs in with the drink. Simply lay them across the top of the glass, or, if you’re arranging your drinks on a tray, place a few sprigs on there instead.
Christmas Margarita: recipe variations
There are a few changes you can make to our basic recipe, according to individual taste. If you like your cocktails a little sweeter, you can add a few teaspoons of syrup to the mixture. Most sweetened cocktails use ‘simple’ syrup, made by slowly heating equal amounts of sugar and water until the sugar dissolves, but you can also try agave syrup, to enhance the agave flavour of the tequila. Agave syrup is available as an alternative sweetener from most supermarkets, but we recommend only using a small amount, as it is very sweet!
If you prefer complex, oaky notes, you can try using a Cristalino tequila, like Maestro Dobel Diamante. Cristalino tequilas are aged for longer, taking on an oaky vanilla flavour from the barrels they are aged in. They are then filtered to remove the golden colour, making them the perfect aged tequila for our snowy-white cocktail. You can also try using Grand Marnier instead of Triple Sec for an oaky cognac flavour. Grand Marnier is not a clear liqueur, but as the cocktail only contains a small amount, it shouldn't affect the colour too much.
You can also play around with the way your White Christmas Margarita looks. Some people add a dusting of cinnamon to the sugar around the rim, while others add a sprinkle of coconut shavings for an extra hit of coconut and another layer of snow. You can also swap the sprigs of rosemary for a slice of lime if you’re worried about the rosemary affecting the flavour.
Best Glassware for Christmas Margarita
For a classic margarita look, you can always serve your White Christmas Margarita in a margarita glass. But while a margarita glass does have an elegant, traditional look, we think the White Christmas Margarita looks best in a lowball glass (sometimes called an old-fashioned, or rocks glass). Colours can look a bit diluted in a shallow glass like the Margarita, but the lowball contains a decent amount of liquid, and really showcases the brilliant snowy white of this cocktail. Add some red cranberries and glossy green rosemary, and you have all the colours of Christmas in a glass.
How long does it take to mix the perfect Moscow mule? Just one minute. Good vodka, spicy ginger beer, sour-fruity lime, ice, all in a copper glass. Just through a few tweaks, you can turn a simple drink into a cocktail to remember.