Let’s celebrate National Margarita Day (February 22 for the uninformed) with a sweet and tangy passionfruit and kiwi margarita, complete with festive garnish!
This delicious cocktail could also be a fun drink to serve on St. Patrick’s day, thanks to its incredibly bright green color. Kiwis are in season in the winter and early spring here in the US (and frozen passion fruit is the easiest way to get passion fruit any time of year) so this tropical tipple is actually a great recipe to make year round.
I first created this recipe back in 2018, when my obsession with crazy garnishes was at its peak. I had a lot of fun when I realized that a passionfruit fit perfectly in the depression of my margarita glass.
For this photo, which for the record was created for #drinkstagram back when Instagram was a photo sharing app, I made a tiered garnish with passionfruit and lime halves and topped it with a slice of kiwi and a sprig of mint. However, a slice of lime or kiwi on the rim of your glass, or even just a fresh sprig of mint would also be great, perhap more practical ways to garnish this margarita.
Recipe ingredients and substitutions
For this margarita, you’re going to need a good blanco tequila, some high quality triple sec such as Cointreau, and some fresh ingredients (kiwi, lime, and passion fruit, if possible). Let’s break down each ingredient and what it brings to the cocktail:
I highly recommend using a light, citrusy or herbal blanco tequila or mezcal here. The fruit flavors dominate, so a reposado or anejo tequila might be lost in the mix.
Better to save the aged or more expensive bottles for drinks that will better showcase their flavors. This recipe is all about the flavor pairing of sweet and sour kiwis and passion fruit. Here I used Gran Centenario’s Plata tequila, which will always hold a very special place in my heart.
My go-to triple sec (and orange liqueur in general) is Cointeau. It’s a high quality orange liqueur with crisp, fresh citrus flavor, and it’s also not overly sweet. You could also use an orange curaçao liqueur here, which will lend a slightly different flavor. Orange curaçao is made only with the bitter laraha oranges of the island of Curaçao.
Orange liqueur is one of the ingredients and flavors that truly makes a classic Margarita a Margarita, but it is possible to use simple syrup or agave syrup instead, in a pinch. The kiwi, passion fruit, and lime flavors really dominate here, so the orange note will not make or break the final drink.
One of the greatest Margarita riffs of all time is Tommy’s Margarita, which swaps orange liqueur for agave syrup, resulting in a deliciously clean and crisp tequila cocktail that’s all about the tequila and the fresh lime.
Triple sec alternatives
You may need to adjust the quantity used if you opt for a different sweetener, but in general, you can substitute the following for Cointreau in this recipe:
- Orange curaçao
- Agave syrup / nectar
- Simple syrup
You can use fresh or frozen passion fruit here interchangeably. I keep the Pitaya Foods brand of frozen passion fruit puree cubes (sold at Whole Foods and some Walmarts) on hand for drinks like this.
Frozen passion fruit puree is great because you don’t have to worry about being able to find the fresh fruit at the grocery store, and it’s also usually seedless. Another great feature of frozen fruit is that it has a predictable level of sweet to sour, unlike fresh fruits.
You’ll need about 2 ounces of passion fruit juice or puree for this drink. That’s roughly 2 fresh passion fruits (they can vary wildly in size). Another option is to use passion fruit juice that comes in a carton. More than likely, it’s a blend of juices, and sweetened.
If using a sweetened passion fruit juice, I’d skip the triple sec in this recipe. If it’s unsweetened, pure passion fruit juice, follow the recipe as usual.
As always, you’ll want to use freshly squeezed lime juice. Bottled citrus juices have an acrid, off flavor from oxidization and being processed/heated. Limes can be expensive these days, but I find that buying a bag of them is the most economical option. They tend to be small but quite juicy. You’ll need 1-2 limes to produce 1 oz of freshly squeezed lime juice.
Unlike many tropical fruits, kiwis are usually available in the grocery store year round. They’re in season in the US from October to May, meaning that they’re actually a winter or early spring fruit. Select a kiwi that has some give to it – not too soft or mushy, but just ripe.
If you give a gentle squeeze and it feels like a rock, it’s going to be too hard and too sour. For this recipe, you’ll need one small-medium sized kiwi. Remove the skin with a vegetable peeler, then chop it into manageable pieces before muddling it in your cocktail shaker.
How to make the cocktail
Making this cocktail is pretty easy. You’ll just need a cocktail shaker, plenty of ice, and a fine mesh strainer. A fine mesh strainer will remove any pulp, seeds, or chunky bits from the kiwi or passion fruit. This will give the drink a nice smooth texture.
Begin by peeling your kiwi, cutting it into 4 or more pieces, and muddling with a cocktail muddler or even a wooden spoon.
Next, add 2 ounces of tequila, 1/2 oz of Cointreau (or substitution, see notes above), 2 ounces of passion fruit juice or purée, and 1 ounce of fresh lime juice. Fill the shaker about 3/4 with ice, then shake until thoroughly chilled.
Strain the cocktail through a fine mesh strainer into a margarita or cocktail glass. Finally, garnish your gorgeous green margarita with passion fruit, kiwi, and mint. Alternatively, garnish with a simple lime or kiwi wheel and enjoy!
If you love Margarita variations, you might also enjoy my:
Kiwi Passion Fruit Margarita
- 1 kiwi
- 2 oz tequila
- ½ oz Cointreau or other sweetener, see Notes
- 2 oz passion fruit juice or purée fresh or frozen, see Notes
- 1 oz lime juice
- Peel the kiwi with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife. Chop the kiwi and add it to a cocktail shaker.
- Muddle the kiwi thoroughly, then add the remaining ingredients and fill the shaker 3/4 with ice.
- Shake until chilled, then strain through a fine mesh strainer into a margarita or cocktail glass.
- Garnish with passion fruit, kiwi, and mint. Alternatively, just garnish with a kiwi or lime wheel.
- Another brand of triple sec
- Orange curacao
- Agave syrup / nectar
- Simple syrup
Remove skin and muddle kiwi in a shaker. Add remaining ingredients and ice and shake until chilled. Double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish festively with passionfruit, kiwi, mint.