2 Bright, Citrusy Margaritas to Level Up Your Winter Cocktails

National Margarita Day, here we come.

February 22, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Molly Fitzsimons. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

We’ve teamed up with 1800® Tequila to celebrate National Margarita Day the only way we know how: shaking up some cocktails with top-notch tequila, of course. Their premium tequilas range from the smooth, silky añejo 1800 Cristalino to the classic 1800 Blanco—both equally perfect for making delicious margaritas.

As a born Southerner, I have to go above and beyond to survive winters in the Northeast. In my hometown of Atlanta, winter— if you can even call it that—is suuuper mild. But in Boston, my home of five years, this season is serious business. Up here, winter means a full-time commitment to proper layering, periodical snow shoveling (admittedly, my husband does most of this, so shout out to him), and tasty pick-me-ups to remind me of warmer days.

That’s where citrus comes in. As bright in color as they are in flavor, citrus fruits are a much-needed dose of sunshine during extra-chilly months. From November to March, I stock up on all the blood oranges, clementines, Cara Cara navel oranges, Meyer lemons, grapefruits, and any other seasonal citrus that I can find. There are countless ways to make the most of winter's brightest gems—from salads to desserts—but I especially love using them in margaritas.

Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Molly Fitzsimons. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

When you combine almost any citrus with a super-premium tequila (one of my personal favorites is 1800 Tequila), a splash of orange liqueur, and a squeeze of lime, you get a margarita that not only goes beyond the traditional flavor profile, but also tastes like a tropical vacation even when you’re stuck in single-digit weather. Grapefruit with a chile salt rim? Please and thank you. Blood orange mixed with mole bitters or Meyer lemon with honey-thyme syrup? I’ll take one of each.

1800® Cristalino

1800® Cristalino


The key to the perfect margarita (regardless of your fruit choice) is the tequila. My usual go-to is 1800 Blanco because it’s balanced and pairs well with pretty much any ingredient. But their 1800 Cristalino, a crystal-clear añejo tequila, is ideal for leveling up your cocktails with a little something extra, thanks to the spirit’s velvety vanilla notes. It can cut through tart fruits like lemons, yuzu, and limes, while mellowing the sweetness of all sorts of oranges. Here are two recipes for when you’re ready to shake up a citrus marg for National Margarita Day and beyond.

Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Molly Fitzsimons. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

Yuzu-Ginger Margarita

This sunny sip features zippy yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit that tastes like a mixture of lime, mandarin orange, and grapefruit. Don’t stress about finding fresh yuzu for juicing—you can pick up a bottle of yuzu juice at most Asian grocery stores. In addition to the yuzu juice, this recipe features freshly grated ginger, freshly squeezed lime juice, a lil’ agave (if you like your drinks on the sweeter side), and 1800 Cristalino, which brings notes of honey and caramel that complement the citrusy tang.

Clementine Sunrise Margarita

Clementines are like mini oranges, only less acidic and conveniently pocket-sized. Here, their sweetness cuts through tart lime and pomegranate juices in a marg that’s inspired by a Tequila Sunrise. The pomegranate juice gets poured over the back of a spoon to finish, creating an orangey-red gradient. Crisp, clear 1800 Cristalino tequila rounds out this fruit-forward cocktail by adding silkiness and depth.

What winter citrus will you use in your next margarita? Tell us in the comments!

Our friends at 1800 Tequila have been distilling quality, 100 percent Blue Weber agave tequilas using their original formula for over 220 years. Their easy-drinking blanco, reposado, and añejo tequilas are already bar-cart staples, but meet the newest luxury expression: 1800 Cristalino, a crystal-clear añejo that’s aged in oak barrels, finished in port wine casks, and carefully filtered for clarity and smoothness. Bright, complex, and incredibly food-friendly, this tequila comes in a stunning crystalline bottle that serves as a showstopping centerpiece even after the tequila is gone.

1800® Tequila. 40% Alc./Vol. (80 proof). Trademarks owned by Becle, S.A.B. de C.V. ©2022 Proximo. Jersey City, NJ. Please drink responsibly.

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Madison Trapkin

Written by: Madison Trapkin

Former Associate Editor, Food52

1 Comment

HalfPint February 24, 2022
I want to use Meyer Lemons :)