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Cantarito Cocktail Recipe

Hailing from the Mexican state of Jalisco, this authentic Cantarito cocktail tastes like a mini vacation.

Bright, bubbly, and citrus-packed, this Mexican cocktail has plenty of personality.

Cantarito Cocktail Recipe: served on a Cantarito clay dipped in tajin on rim garnished with sliced grapefruit.
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Fun like a margarita and citrusy like a Paloma, it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. So make a round for Cinco de Mayo or soak up the summer sun with a cup. 

Either way, the Cantarito cocktail will be your new go-to thirst-quencher.

The Cantarito Clay Cups 

Cantarito isn’t just the name of the cocktail. It’s also the name of the serving vessel! 

Derived from the Spanish word cántaro, meaning “pitcher”, the cantarito is a clay cup.

It has natural insulating properties, meaning it helps keep your drink cold. 

Preparing the cup is very easy. Just soak it in cold water for 10-15 minutes, then give it a rinse. It’ll be perfectly cold for your drink.

If you want to get your hands on some, check your local Latin market. Otherwise, they’re available online.

Cantarito Cocktail Recipe ingredients: lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice and Squirt soda in bowls

Cantarito Cocktail Ingredients 

The Cantarito cocktail is a very citrus-forward drink. So, you need a handful of things to balance all the flavors. They include:

  • Lime juice. Some to wet the rim of the glass and some for the drink.
  • Tajin seasoning. Rimming the glass in Tajin gives it a punch of flavor. It’s a little spicy, salty, and adds a kick.
  • Ice. Crushed or cubed, use any shape for serving.
  • Tequila. Blanco tequila has a light, agave-forward flavor. For more complexity, use a Reposado. Either way, tequila is the backbone of a Cantarito, so get a brand you like.
  • Grapefruit juice. Fresh grapefruit juice adds a tart and bright flavor that’s super refreshing.
  • Orange juice. Freshly squeezed is the way to go. It adds sweetness and balance. If choosing store-bought, opt for a natural brand that’s pulp-free.
  • Squirt. Top off the drink with this fizzy grapefruit-flavored soda. Jarritos and Fresca are other common brands you can use.
  • Lime wedge. A very fitting garnish for a citrus-forward drink. You could also use a grapefruit or orange wheel. 

How to Make a Cantarito Cocktail

Clay cup or not, making a Cantarito is easy. Here’s how to do it:

1. Soak the clay cup in cold water for 10-15 minutes. Skip if using a regular glass.

2. Coat the rim. Run a lime wedge around the top then dip it in Tajin to coat.

3. Pour the juices and top with soda. Fill the cup with ice, add the drink ingredients, then top it up with Squirt soda.

4. Garnish and serve. Garnish with a lime wedge, serve, and enjoy!

Cantarito Cocktail served Cantarito mugs with tajin on rims garnished with slices of fresh graprfruit.

Tips and Tricks 

Here are some things to keep in mind when making this Mexican cocktail:

  • Consider adding salt. Much like margaritas and tequila shots, adding salt boosts the citrus notes in your Cantarito.
  • Use fresh fruit juices. Making Cantaritos with fresh fruit juices gives the drink its authentic fresh flavor.
  • Invest in a citrus squeezer. This nifty kitchen gadget is very convenient and speeds up the process. Plus, it squeezes out all the juice from your fruit.
  • Stir well. Give your drink a hearty stir to ensure the juices and tequila meld perfectly.

Recipe Variations 

I have got some smashing variations for you! These refreshing riffs are great for any occasion. 

Here are a handful to try:

  • Soda-free Cantarito. Not a big soda drinker? Not a problem. Skip the Squirt and double up on the grapefruit juice. Then top it off with seltzer water or sparkling water instead.
  • Mezcal Cantarito. Swap out the tequila for mezcal. It adds a complementary smoky flavor.
  • Sweeter Cantarito. If the drink is too bitter, add simple syrup.
  • Cantarito mocktail. You can easily make this cocktail a virgin drink. Just omit the tequila.
  • Paloma. The Paloma cocktail is very similar to a Cantarito. The difference is it has tequila, grapefruit soda, and lime.
Close up of cocktails garnished with sliced grapefruit served on Cantarito mugs.

What’s the Best Tequila for Cantaritos?

Many folks wonder what type of tequila to use for this cocktail. My answer is simple: blanco tequila.

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Unaged Blanco tequila is light, crisp, and refreshing. It has citrus, pepper, and agave notes that work well with the drink. 

Altos, Espólon, Herradura, and El Jimador are some of my go-to’s. But use any brand you like to drink.

Another option is to use aged tequila, which adds complexity. But really, all the citrus fruits will overpower it.

So save a few bucks and use a reasonably priced Blanco. 

Make Ahead and Storing Cantaritos 

Want to make Cantaritos in advance? Great idea!

Like other pitcher cocktails, this one is make-ahead friendly. So do some work now and throw it together in a snap later.

Here’s how to do it:

To Make-ahead. Press the grapefruit, orange, and lime juices and add them to a container with the tequila. Seal it with a lid and refrigerate. When ready to serve, pour the cocktail into prepped glasses and top with soda.  

To Store. Refrigerate the leftovers in a sealed jar and consume within 24 hours. Just note the drink will go flat and the flavor won’t be exactly the same. 

To Freeze. Pour leftovers into an ice cube tray. Then use them for future Cantaritos or other cocktails.

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Cantarito Cocktail

Course: DrinksCuisine: Mexican
Servings

1

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Calories

263

kcal

Bright, bubbly, and citrusy to the max, this Cantarito cocktail recipe is not to be missed. It’s a fun Mexican cocktail you’ll crave all year long.

Ingredients

  • lime wedge and Tajin seasoning, for the rim (optional)

  • Ice

  • 2 ounces tequila blanco

  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • Squirt soda (grapefruit soda), to top

Instructions

  • Soak a Cantarito (clay) cup in cold water for 10-15 minutes, then pour out the water. If using a regular glass, place it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • Run a lime wedge around the rim of the cup. Pour the Tajin onto a small plate and dip the top of the cup in the spice mix to coat the rim.
  • Fill the cup with ice. Pour the tequila, grapefruit juice, orange juice, and lime juice over the ice. Stir to combine, then top it up with Squirt soda.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Swap out the tequila for mezcal. It adds a complementary smoky flavor.
  • Use soda water or seltzer instead of grapefruit soda for a more mellow drink.
Cantarito Cocktail Recipe

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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