Funny thing, blueberries. Because they’re really not very blue at all. On the outside their skins ripen to a reverse sunset of shades, from fuchsia to deep indigo so dark it’s almost black. Quite stunning if you really look at them up close. When crushed, blended, or mixed into something, however, that color transforms, staining whatever drink, dessert, or concoction it touches distinctly purple. All that color comes from the skins, and the precise intensity of the color depends on the amount and the preparation used.
But in this case, I didn’t quite expect the color to be quite so… magenta.
I mean, really, doesn’t it looked like I dumped half a bottle of hot pink food coloring into my glass? But no, that color is entirely au-naturale.
It makes you want to second guess calling them blueberries in the first place.
But I admit that blue-actually-purple-sometimes-hot-pink-berries doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
This amazing wild blueberry sea salt is what inspired this bold beverage. I picked up a bag on our recent Princess Cruise to Alaska, utterly intrigued by the idea of blueberry salt. Blueberries abound in Alaska, where the long summer days and cooler temperatures allow berries to thrive. When we were there in May it was a bit early in the season to actually go blueberry picking (wouldn’t that make a fun cruise excursion?) but that didn’t stop us from indulging whenever we could, from blueberry rhubarb bread pudding on our fishing trip to a delightfully refreshing blueberry lemon sorbet as a palette cleanser between courses. And while we also consumed some unique and memorable cocktails and margaritas, blueberry was notably absent. Princess has a reputation for incorporating the local flavor into their food and drink menus, so I thought this blueberry margarita would round things out nicely.
Not to mention it’s drop dead gorgeous.
I made a few versions of this margarita before settling on the final preparation and formulation. The key to the stunning color lies in the muddling of the blueberries with the lime juice. If you’ve ever muddled or pureed fresh blueberries only to have them turn pallid and gray on you in a matter of minutes you’ll know what I mean. Much like apples turn brown when left exposed to the air, blueberries will do the same thing. And I’m guessing you don’t want a foggy gray margarita. But the acid in the lime juice prevents the oxidization, keeping the color of the berries vivid and vibrant.
I’d also argue that the salt is necessary. Without this margarita is just a plain (albeit pretty) margarita. If you can’t find the blueberry salt, any kosher or fine flake salt will do in a pinch. But it’s that added salinity that really makes this drink shine.
If I close my eyes and take a sip I can almost forget this oppressive heat and pretend I’m sailing through the majestic fjords, breathing in the clean crisp air while pods of black and white dolphins dive alongside. That reality may be far away, but at least I have a good drink close at hand.
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 ounces lime juice (from 2-3 limes)
- 5 ounces silver tequila (I recommend using a 100% agave brand such as Herradura Silver)
- 3 ounces Cointreau or good quality triple sec
- blueberry salt, for rimming
- Muddle blueberries with lime juice until thoroughly crushed. The more you agitate the berries, the more intense the color will be. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding skins and seeds.
- In a glass or cocktail shaker combine blueberry lime mixture, tequila, and Cointreau.
- To rim, spread out a few tablespoons of blueberry salt in a flat shallow dish at least as big as the top of your glass. Rub a spent lime around the rim of each glass, then dip into salt. The salt should stick to the rim of the glass.
- Fill glasses with ice and divide margarita mixture among them and serve.
Disclosure: I sailed aboard the Ruby as a guest of Princess Cruises. As always, all opinions written are purely our own. We’re incredibly grateful for opportunities like these that allow us to continue sharing experiences like this with you, so thank you for supporting us and the brands we love. This post contains affiliate links.