Gooseberry Margaritas with Cayenne-Salted Rims

July 17th, 2009 by megan · 5 Comments

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Gooseberry Margaritas

I like margaritas. A lot. But I’ve come to detest commercial sweet and sour mix, because it is super high fructose corn syrupy. And that just doesn’t taste good. So, aside from making my own sweet and sour mix (easy to do, btw), I like to think about seasonal fruit that can be used in place of the lime juice. Similar to the rhubarb mojitos I made in Spring when rhubarb was at its delicious peak (I like pink drinks, OK??), I thought gooseberries would be a nice replacement for the lime juice in traditional margaritas because they are a little bit sweet and a little bit sour. Actually, this drink is like a cross between a strawberry margarita and a traditional margarita. In other words, delectable. Cayenne-salted rims add just a bit of heat to the palate – but we over here at Brooklyn Farmhouse really like it spicy, so the cayenne salt is entirely optional.

Gooseberries remind me so much of summers visiting my grandma and grandpa’s farm in New Jersey; they had a lone gooseberry bush with delicious fruit that I loved to pack into pints to sell at our side-of-the-road stand. The gooseberry bush is gone now, but I think of how happy I was as a kid helping out on the farm every single time I spy a gooseberry at the farmer’s market.

Note: Purple gooseberries are quite a bit sweeter than green gooseberries. If you can only find green gooseberries, you will likely need to increase the sugar in the gooseberry puree recipe. Start with the bare minimum in the recipe, then continue to add sugar by taste. You may or may not need the lime juice, so just taste, taste, taste. You ultimately want a mixture that is sweet and sour – like, um, sweet-and-sour mix.  Use your best judgment.


For the Gooseberry Puree:
Makes about 1 cup puree)

1 pint purple gooseberries (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup raw or granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons water
Juice of half a lime (see note above)

For the Cayenne-Salted Rims (Optional):
(For 4-5 margaritas)

1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more, to taste)

For Each Gooseberry Margarita:

1 ounce gooseberry puree (1 shot)
1 1/2 ounce tequila
1/2 ounce cointreau or triple sec
Lime Slice
Cayenne Salt (optional)

Special Equipment: Blender or food processor, fine-meshed sieve, cocktail shaker and strainer


For the Gooseberry Puree:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the gooseberries, the sugar, the water, and the lime juice. Blend until smooth.
  2. Force through a fine-meshed sieve to remove the skins and seeds. Discard skins and seeds. Refrigerate in a squeeze bottle or other container until ready to use.

For the Cayenne-Salted Rims (Optional):

  1. Stir together the salt and the cayenne in a shallow plate. Set aside until ready to use.

For Each Gooseberry Margarita:

  1. Rub the rim of each glass with a lime slice. Salt the rim with the cayenne salt by inverting the glass into the prepared dish of cayenne salt (these two steps are optional).
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the gooseberry puree, the tequila, the cointreau or triple sec, and the ice. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Pour into prepared glasses. Add ice for a gooseberry margarita on the rocks.


Diana Jul 18, 2009 at 7:52 pm

This looks so beautiful Megan-like everything you create ;]. Cayenne salt sounds amazing for so many other things too. I’m going to commission you and Mike to make these the next time I see you-xo

Jessica Jul 19, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Hello, Megan,

what a creative way to use gooseberry! I was at the market the other day and saw some beautiful gooseberry and wondering what to make with it. Now I know, i am going to make your gooseberry margarita this week. Every excited about this.

Love your blog, it takes lots of love and devotion to make it this good and beautiful. Good work!

jessie Jul 22, 2009 at 8:51 am

i love the way your mind works

Daily Spud Jul 24, 2009 at 5:31 am

Those would be so worth getting on a plane and crossing the Atlantic for! I feel that redcurrant margaritas can’t be far behind…

lisaiscooking Jul 24, 2009 at 8:10 am

This is great use of gooseberries! I love the cayenne on the rim too.

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