Sour Cherry Mezcal Margarita

This fruity spin on a margarita combines smoky mezcal, citrusy Cointreau, and sweet-tart cherry puree in a vibrant red drink perfect for late-summer sipping. Bright, pleasantly tart sour cherries are in season for a limited window, so this simple roasted puree is an easy way to preserve their flavor. Try it on ice cream or over pancakes, too.

Sour Cherry Mezcal Margarita
Photo: Photo by Kelsey Hansen / Food Styling by Lauren McAnelly / Prop Styling by Sue Mitchell
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


Sour Cherry Puree

  • 2 pounds fresh sour cherries, stemmed and pitted

  • cup granulated sugar


  • Smoked coarse salt (such as Olsson's Red Gum Smoked Salt) (optional)

  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) mezcal joven espadín (such as Ilegal Joven)

  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)

  • Ice cubes

  • 1 large (about 2 1/2-inch) ice cube


Make the sour cherry puree:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss together cherries and sugar on a large rimmed baking sheet until fully coated; spread in a single layer. Roast in preheated oven until fruit is soft and juicy, about 10 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Using a silicone spatula, scrape fruit and any juices on baking sheet into a food processor or a blender; pulse until smooth, 8 to 10 pulses. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Discard solids. Refrigerate, uncovered, until completely cool, about 20 minutes. (You should have about 2 cups sour cherry puree, enough for 10 cocktails.)

Make the cocktail:

  1. If using the smoked salt, sprinkle some on a small plate. Lightly moisten rim of a rocks glass with water; dip rim in smoked salt. Combine mezcal, orange liqueur, and 3 tablespoons sour cherry puree in a cocktail shaker filled three-fourths full with ice. Place lid on shaker; shake vigorously until well combined, about 15 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube.

To prepare 10 cocktails

Combine 2 1/2 cups mezcal, 13/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sour cherry puree, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons orange liqueur in a large pitcher filled with ice; stir until chilled. Pour into rocks glasses with large ice cubes (rimmed with smoked salt, if desired).

Make Ahead

Sour cherry puree may be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week.

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