NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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December 18, 2013

Pitcher-style margarita is perfect for the holidays

Want to take the fun out of hosting a holiday party? Spend the whole evening playing bartender.

As festive as it is to offer a delicious cocktail at your party, picking the right mixed drink involves more than just deciding what tastes great and works with your menu. You also want something that can be prepped ahead of time, then set out for guests to serve themselves. That way, your guests can enjoy a drink and you can enjoy your guests.

To keep it simple, we stuck with a pitcher-style cocktail. We start by infusing tequila with cranberries and fresh mint. Then we pair that with a blend of citrus juices for a delicious DIY margarita.

CRANBERRY-MINT-INFUSED PITCHER MARGARITA

Start to finish: 15 minutes (plus infusing time)

Servings: 12

12-ounce bag cranberries

1 cup fresh mint leaves, plus additional for garnish

750-milliliter bottle silver or blanco tequila

3/4 cup agave nectar

1 cup lime juice

1 cup orange juice

1/2 cup water

In a blender, combine the cranberries, mint leaves and tequila. Blend until the berries and mint are well-chopped. Cover, refrigerate and allow to steep overnight or for up to 3 days.

After the mixture has steeped, pour it through a mesh strainer to remove and discard the solids, pressing them to extract as much liquid as possible.

Transfer the infused tequilas to a pitcher, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a second pitcher, stir together the agave, lime juice, orange juice and water. Serve the pitchers side-by-side, along with mint sprigs to garnish.

Instruct guests to pour equal parts of each mixture (roughly 2 ounces of each) into an ice-filled glass, then gently stir.

Nutrition information per serving: 210 calories; 0 calories from fat (0 percent of total calories); 0 g fat (0 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 17 g sugar; 0 g protein; 0 mg sodium.

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