Few things evoke memories of my teensy, tiny hometown like the county fair. It only lasted two weeks each year, but those two weeks brought unparalleled excitement to town. The flashing bulbs of the carnival lights, the bustle of people walking along the midway and the novelty of county fair snacks that were only available once each year created an almost electrifying buzz, at least for us small town folks. Everyone had their favorite snacks but for kids, the bags of cotton candy spun wistfully on a stick were tough to beat. Now that I’m an adult, cotton candy seems far less satisfying than I remember it being. But when the fair recently passed through town, I felt inspired to recreate the magic of cotton candy as best I could. And that, I did, with these cotton candy margaritas.
These cotton candy margaritas represent the most novel of county fair food, transformed for sipping. Granted, some people might think first of corndogs when they think of county fair foods. You can thank me for not making those. Yuck.
I’m a girl who appreciates a strong margarita. Rather than attempt to drown the taste of tequila in syrupy sweetness, I’d rather accentuate it with layers of complimentary flavors. This margarita recipe demonstrates that perfectly. While it is a sweet margarita, it’s also a strong margarita. There’s no missing the cotton candy, but the tequila doesn’t cower in the corner either. If you prefer a more mild margarita, you can, of course, go a little heavier on the lime and sweetener to temper the tequila.
While I do utilize actual cotton candy in the drink, you might be surprised to find that much of the flavor that lends itself to the cotton candy comes from the addition of a surprise ingredient: Jones Soda Cream Soda. You’ll find it in any Whole Foods stores, or in the “healthy” section of most grocery stores. It’s a soda sweetened with natural cane juice instead of high fructose corn syrup. It has a distinctive taste, completely reminiscent of cotton candy. That, my friend, is why you’ll definitely want to use it when making these cotton candy margaritas.
Cotton candy margaritas
- 3/4 C tequila
- 1/2 C fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 C cream soda (Jones soda brand, preferred)
- 1/4 C orange liqueur
- 1 package cotton candy
- Combine all liquid ingredients (excluding soda) in a mason jar and shake vigorously.
- Add soda and gently stir.
- Fill serving glasses 3/4 of the way with cotton candy.
- Pour mixture over cotton candy until glass is half full (because we're optimists around here).
- Add ice.
- Stir to dissolve the cotton candy.
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You had me up until the cream soda. I’ve never tried it because the name skeeves me out so much.
Creme soda is vanilla flavored soda. You are that easily grossed out?
Definitely not missing much! We go about every three years or so, but – for the most part – we find it to be overcrowded and overpriced.
Yum, it looks sooooo good! I pinned it already. I nominated you for the Liebster Award. Maybe nominated is the wrong word. I’m passing it along to you. Check out my blog post to see what it’s all about…http://prettypinteresting.com/2014/05/02/happy-friday-liebster-award/
Oh my. I have everything but cream soda and cotton candy. I’ll be making these soon!
I am so excited to try this! I am having a ladies night tonight and will be making it for the ladies!
I was curious but after looking at the ingredients these look way too sweet for me. I like cream soda but not in my margarita. Besides, a true Margarita should never be sweet.
How many does this serve or am I blind a missed that info?
What is the cotton candy? Is it a powder mix? I’m from Canada so maybe it is something I’m not familiar with. I hope I can find it, as these look delicious!
Cotton candy is spun sugar that you get at a carnival or area fair. You can also purchase a cotton candy machine from amazon and make your own
Did I just see a fellow Canadian asking what Cotton Candy is?! Perhaps you were confused by the name and didn’t realize it was the real deal, actual sugary, sticky web-like cotton candy such as one would find spun around a paper cone/stick handle at any fair anywhere in North America, especially at the Canadian National Exhibition. Btw, this recipe looks like simple, delicious fun and is my next ‘must-try’.
Cotton candy can be found at theBulk Barn or many grocery stores. I’m from Hamilton Ont.
I was wondering what you used to rim the glasses. Also, how many does this recipe serve?
Very good!! Mine turned out green but, who cares, I had 3 glasses!!!
@Tara Cotton candy is candy floss.
I have an orange allergy, weird I know, is there something else that can be substituted for the orange liqueur?
Creative and yummy! I made a small test taste and I was sweet for me but the flavor was so good. I tried mixing the non-alcoholic elements and then thinned the sweetness down to my taste with orange seltzer. I used that concoction like a mixer adding tequila and triple sec “made to order” for each drink and it was perfect!
I love a strong margarita and this one does the trick. Pretty to!
I cannot believe how legit these things taste like cotton candy. I would never have guessed you could make a cocktail taste like that. Seriously. Bravo.
We’re making these this weekend for my friends socially-distant safe bachelorette party. Can we use blue cotton candy instead?
How many does this serve??
How much tequilla?
I enjoyed this drink I was sold at cotton candy and overjoyed when I saw lime juice. I really like lime, lemons, and salt it helps the make the drink settle on my taste buds. Very pleasing drink my husband and I enjoyed it.
Just an FYI – any bartender worth their weight in margarita salt will tell you that you NEVER add a carbonated ingredient and shake. This recipe (which I will definitely be trying soon) should say to add the alcohol and lime, and shake. Then add to the glass with the cotton candy, add the soda and stir.
“Worth their weight in margarita salt…” Ha! I see what you did there, John. Clever.
I have not ever claimed to be an authentic bartender. This recipe is the result of my rocket scientist (not bartender, mind you) husband creating for me a margarita with ingredients we had on hand and me immediately recognizing the flavors as cotton candy. I can’t speak to what a bona fide bartender would say about shaking carbonated beverage, but I can tell you that I have most assuredly consumed my fair share of margaritas (some might call me a margarita snob) and the method presented here was more than fine by me. Thanks for sharing your insight, though; maybe someone will be helped by your advice!
Truly, how much does it serve, and how much tequila?
Jen, I’ve updated the recipe to be more clear. It is 3/4 Cups of Tequila and it makes 3 servings (roughly 2-oz of tequila per serving.)
Just wow!! This is absolutely delicious. I’m making it for a birthday party tomorrow night and just did a trial run. Spectacular! Not too sweet as one reviewer suggested it might be, as there is really only a little bit of cream soda and one could potentially control the sweetness by adding or subtracting cotton candy. I made it exactly as written right down to using Jones cream soda and it is perfect!! Thank you for this creative recipe!