Blood Orange Margarita

I have a recipe I love for margaritas. It’s best when made ahead of time and all of the flavors are given a chance to meld. That wait is hard because it’s usually summer before we enjoy them. Yes…summer. I  am just not a winter time margarita drinker. Something about that cold and icy drink is just perfect for having friends over for summer cocktails, guacamole, chips and either fajitas or barbecue ribs.

If you’ve never had a blood orange and are wondering why it’s called that, well, now  you see. Isn’t that color beautiful? The flavor is different too; they have less of a citrus bite to them and are a bit sweeter. They are gorgeous and finding these beauties is always a real bright spot in the middle of winter. I have to tell you; they make a beautiful cocktail that I just love. (She says between sips.) If my grammar or spelling declines through this post…now you know why!

Probably something about a foot of snow in my back yard that just doesn’t give me the urge, if you can imagine!  But I went against my conventional wisdom after having a margarita last week at the Rio Grande and I was craving more. Combine that with seeing some blood oranges at Whole Foods the next day and I had a plan. Blood oranges are not readily available in my neck of the woods when they come into season for other parts of the country and if you can imagine from that photo above…they just don’t thrive in our climate.

Beyond the oranges I do think a couple of things are imperative for making really good margaritas.

  • Use good tequila – I didn’t have my standard on hand that I use for margaritas which is Cuervo 1800; a reposado tequila meaning that it’s been aged a bit but less than one year. Not quite a high caliber sipping tequila but even a bit of aging makes for a much smoother tequila and that improvement is evident in a cocktail. All I had on hand to make this cocktail was a pricey sipping tequila. Not necessary but what a fine cocktail it made.
  • Please don’t use Triple Sec – Triple Sec is merely artificially flavored sugar water. Nuff said? I use Patron Citronge but Grand Marnier or any other orange liqueur made from the actual essence of orange is good.
  • Fresh lime juice and obviously fresh orange juice – even if you can’t locate blood oranges and want to try this with regular oranges I don’t recommend using frozen or bottled OJ. Buy some oranges and give them a quick squeeze…besides you needs some slices for garnish right?

Go grab some blood oranges and try this cocktail; it is now officially my ‘winter’ margarita…make it yours!

Blood Orange Margarita
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A simply gorgeous cocktail best enjoyed seasonally with fresh blood oranges.
Serves: 2 cocktails
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Sugar
  • 2 ounces Orange liqueur
  • 2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 3 ounces blood orange juice (2-3 oranges)
  • 3 ounces tequila, preferably reposado
  • salt for the rim, lime/orange wedges for garnish
  1. Make a simple syrup by combining water and sugar over medium high heat. Heat until sugar is dissolved; remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Combine equal parts of salt and sugar and spread on a saucer. Rub the rim of each glass with a lime wedge and then dip the edge into the salt/sugar combination.
  3. Combine 3 oz of simple syrup with orange liqueur, lime juice, blood orange juice and tequila in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake for approximately 30 second until ice cold.
  4. Fill glasses with ice and pour mixture into the glasses. Garnish with an orange slice and lime section.

— Interested in a gorgeous non alcoholic beverage? Take at peek at this Rosemary Preserved Lemon Spritzer over at Chez Us! —


  1. Rachel says

    LOVE this recipe! I have made these 3 different times lately because they are so good! My friends loved them last night! I just wish I had made more! I made them ahead of time and put in a pitcher, then just shook them in a mixer when they got here.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Just saw your comment Rachel; so glad you enjoy them; I’ve been using Cara Cara oranges this season because they’ve been easier to find; they’ve been so good too!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Isn’t it wonderful? And you hit on the perfect ingredients; I use 1800 for all of my margaritas and Patron is my orange liqueur of choice too. So pretty isn’t it?

  2. says

    I love the idea of using blood oranges. Is high quality tequila necessary? I wasn’t sure if reposado was recommended specifically because of the blood oranges or just to increase the quality of the cocktail.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Well…for me it is. It was an eye opening moment the first time I used reposado in a margarita; went from hating them to loving them. I don’t use super pricey stuff but not ‘gold’ either.

  3. says

    Great pictures and recipe! I showcase different seasonal fruits each week on my health blog and this week is the blood orange. Could I use your picture and recipe as the feature for a Cinco de Mayo special with full credit to you?

  4. Sweetsugarbelle says

    I love margaritas. Love them! I never knew that it was ideal to let the favors meld! Thanks for the tip! I keep patron and grand marnier in my freezer for emergency margarita nights. Guess I better go find some blood oranges :-)

    • Creative Culinary says

      My original recipe for margaritas does have that requirement but then it is the rind and the juice of the lemons and limes mixed with the tequila that seems to make that drink so good. This one Callye; I might be drinking it moments after putting those ingredients together. You HAVE to find some of those oranges…this is a new favorite for sure.

    • Creative Culinary says

      This might be my new favorite margarita. The flavor is fantastic but it’s that luscious color that wins the prize.

    • Creative Culinary says

      I could use some of that warmth about now! I will no doubt force myself to have some winter margs since blood orange season is so short; as a matter of fact forced myself to drink one last night. :)

  5. says

    It’s really hard to find blood oranges here in the UK too outside of Whole Foods and speciality markets (depressing because they are available on every streetcorner in Italy and France, it seems! So I grab them when I see them… And so agree on what a difference spending a little more on tequila does make!
    Jeanne @ CookSister! Most Recent Post: Cream of celery soup and memories

    • Creative Culinary says

      It is! Someone I met locally today saw it and made them too…her husband was much impressed since she’s never made a cocktail before. Now it sounds like she has a new job. These. I’m getting some more blood oranges today so I can juice them and freeze them for later use since their season is so short. Enjoy!

  6. says

    Just made a round of these last night! So happy you found some blood oranges & even happier you posted this drink! This has been my drink of choice for the past month, and I couldn’t agree more about not using triple sec! Is it too early to say I could go for one now?!
    Meghan Most Recent Post: Peanut Butter Peanut M&M Cookies

    • Creative Culinary says

      I probably most often use Citronge but that’s probably also because most often it’s a bit less than Grand Marnier…but either one, as you know, makes a big difference

  7. says

    Ever since I went to Tunisia I’ve had a soft spot for blood oranges….as for margaritas, well let’s just say I’m a connoisseur, can’t wait to try these. Totally pinning this!

    • Creative Culinary says

      I think once you try them you can’t help but love them don’t you think? Thanks for the pin…sure want to share.

  8. Debbie @TheHipHostess says

    Wow! You have my attention! What a refreshing site during this dreary Winter. Thank you! Bookmarking this one for Summer guests. They’re gonna love it!
    (I’m with you on the no Margaritas in Winter. Hurry Summer!)

    • Creative Culinary says

      I don’t know if you can get blood oranges in summer so I’m getting a bunch his weekend to juice and freeze. It was really THAT good!

    • Creative Culinary says

      I know those days. I suffered more when my kids were hurt than I would ever suffer for my self. Hang in there sweetie; grateful it’s the weekend. Monday will look brighter I am sure.

    • Creative Culinary says

      I love my ‘normal’ recipe which I’ve been using for years but this was amazing Brian and of course the gorgeousness of the color can’t be beat. I’m off to buy some more, juice them and have a quantity around for a bit. My new fave!

    • Creative Culinary says

      I mean I guess it works OK but I promise you…the difference is noticeable and worth spending a bit more.

  9. says

    Yummmy!! I have never made cocktails before – the guy takes care of that and he is pretty good. But I think with this recipe I might just be able to show him I know some pretty good things about cocktails too. Off to buy some blood oranges.. I have everything else!

  10. says

    It’s ALL about the oranges today Barb!! I LOVE blood oranges (heck, I love anything with citrus!!) and I know this is a killer margarita. Hmmm… making tacos tonight… guess what is gonna go with them??
    Couldn’t agree with you more on using good tequila, good orange liqueur and fresh citrus!!!
    Nancy@acommunaltable Most Recent Post: Scallops with Cara Cara Gastrique

    • Creative Culinary says

      They are not something we can find easily but I loved this so much I”m going back to Whole Foods with fingers crossed. I need more!

    • Creative Culinary says

      You lucky girl…living in the citrus part of the world. You must make it and then you can make me jealous because I’m not sure I can find more blood oranges.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks Nelly; come to Colorado and I’ll make one for you. And give you your Wood Butter. Doggone it…guess I have to try that again. So annoying.

  11. says

    Oh, now I would have used Triple Sec, being the drink mixer I am ;D You know what? I think the only ‘mixed’ drink I ever made (pouring wine or liqueurs doesn’t count, right?) was pouring a whole bottle of Grey Goose into a split watermelon. Yay for me! Your margarita is awesome, and I couldn’t agree more about blood oranges – stunning. Do you detect a slight hint of bitter in them when compared to your basic ‘orange’ orange?
    Lisa Most Recent Post: Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions and a Quick and Easy Brown Butter Applesauce – Plus, Bad Boy First Love, Part Four.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Seriously I’m good with that idea. I love that I”m developing a reputation…well, a good one at least…thanks!

  12. says

    Truth be told, I’ve never had a margarita and this post is making me want to shovel the snow off the deck, haul out the lawn furniture and get to mixing! Just gorgeous!
    Paula Most Recent Post: Cream Puffs

    • Creative Culinary says

      Well that has to change! Truth is I seldom enjoy ones in a restaurant or bar; either they use inferior ingredients or make them too strong. I love making my own and tailoring them to my tastes. Not that I don’t like potent but this one was almost perfect. Actually a take on a strawberry margarita I’ve also made for years but now, without a doubt, my new favorite.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Then you WILL have something to look forward to Wendi. Probably my favorite I’ve ever made. Just a bonus it’s so pretty.

  13. says

    A truly gorgeous cocktail with a lovely blend of flavors, Barb! Though I’m not much of a cocktail drinker – honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I had one – I’m sure I’d enjoy this one. Perfect for the winter season with all its citrus components.
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Most Recent Post: Tuna Salad

    • Creative Culinary says

      Would you believe I don’t drink much by myself. Should I admit I often make a cocktail for the post but beyond a sip or two I pitch it? Not this one…it was sooooooo good.


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