Light and Bubbly Cara Cara Margarita Mocktail

cara cara margarita mocktail with garnish.

For a tasty non-alcoholic margarita, look no further than this quick and easy margarita mocktail recipe. Learn how to make a virgin margarita using fresh citrus, simple syrup and sparkling water. This bubbly Cara Cara mocktail margarita is light and refreshing with fewer calories than its boozy tequila cousin.

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an overhead shot of sliced oranges and limes with sparkling water for a non alcoholic margarita.

Why try a non-alcoholic margarita?

I’m not a tee-totaler, but there are times I like to give my hard-working liver a break.

A new year always seems like a good reason to start a cleanse.

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However, that’s not the only reason to abstain. Wine and alcoholic drinks are more caloric and I find that I won’t just have one… It’s not just me, right?

Additionally, I’ve found that when I take a few months off from alcohol, it helps me sleep better. My sleep is deeper, my dreams are more vivid, I don’t wake up throughout the night and I feel more rested in the morning.

Sipping, a virgin margarita is a healthier option and it’s sophisticated enough to make you feel right at home with your imbibing friends.

The key to a good margarita mocktail is fresh citrus.

Winter is prime citrus season here in Florida, so though it may seem counterintuitive to make a margarita cocktail in the middle of January, I can assure you, its actually the perfect time.

Juicy, at-their-peak oranges and tart-tangy limes are the backbone of these margaritas (that just happen to be non alcoholic).

My cara cara margarita mocktail has a perfect balance of sweet and sour citrus, a bit of simple syrup and a splash of sparkling water. It’s a quick and easy drink that looks and tastes every bit as bright and lively as the original, without the tequila hangover.

Cara cara oranges on a cutting board.

What are Cara Cara oranges?

Cara Cara oranges are actually navel oranges, that experienced a bud mutation on a Washington Navel Orange tree back in 1976. The mutated fruit was first identified at Hacienda Cara Cara (in Venezuela) and was, consequently, named after it.

Cara Cara oranges might look like any other navel orange on the outside, but open them up and you’ll discover their reddish pink flesh and sweeter, less acidic flavor.

These oranges are even healthier than their navel cousins with 20% more vitamin C and 30% more vitamin A.

Freshly cut oranges and limes.

Cara cara margarita mocktail ingredients

  • Sparkling Water (plain or citrus flavored)
  • Cocktail Salt {affiliate link}
straining pulp from cara cara orange juice.

You’ll need a good juicer to make these virgin margaritas. I recommend this hand-held citrus juicer by Chef’n. {affiliate link}

It’s sturdier and more industrial than the metal one I used to have from Williams Sonoma. Plus, I use this one to juice all kinds of citrus, from limes and lemons to oranges and grapefruit.

To juice larger items (that don’t fit into the press), cut them into quarters or eighths and press through the strainer.

Pro Tip: To extract as much juice as possible, I’ll put two already juiced pieces of citrus into the press (stacked one on top of the other) and give an extra squeeze. You’d be surprised how much more juice you can get out of them.

salting the rim of the margarita glass.

How to make virgin margarita mocktails

  1. Make the simple syrup. (Equal parts sugar and water, heated in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves). Cool to room temperature.
  2. Juice the Cara Cara oranges and limes.
  3. Strain the pulp and seeds from the juice with a fine mesh strainer, if desired.
  4. Measure out the citrus juice and simple syrup and stir to combine.
  5. Wet the rim of a glass with water or a bit of simple syrup and press the rim into a dish of cocktail salt (margarita salt) until it sticks to the rim.
  6. Fill the prepared glass with ice, add the citrus juice mixture and top with sparkling water.
  7. Garnish and serve.
filling the glass with cara cara orange juice.

Garnishes for margarita mocktail

I like to keep the garnishes pretty simple. A thinly sliced cross-section of lime or a twist of orange is a nice garnish. If you want something fancy and festive, check out these ways to cut citrus from Gala In The Kitchen.

a non alcoholic margarita fizzing with bubbles from sparkling water.

More non alcoholic drinks you might like:

cara cara margarita mocktail with a garnish.

Margarita recipes you’ll enjoy:

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cara cara margarita mocktail with garnish.
Print Pin
5 from 5 votes

Virgin Cara Cara Margarita

A refreshing, tangy, lightly sweet drink that’s easy to sip all day long without a hangover.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword drinks, mocktail, non-alcoholic
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Egg Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1


  • citrus juicer


  • 3 ounces freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange juice
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup plus more for the rim
  • 3 ounces sparkling water (preferably lime flavored)
  • cocktail salt for rimming the glass
  • lime or cara cara slice for garnish


  • 3 cups freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange juice chilled
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice chilled
  • ½ cup simple syrup chilled
  • 3 cups sparkling water chilled


  • Brush the rim of your glass with a little simple syrup (using a pastry brush or — if it’s your drink — use your finger). Press the rim into a container of cocktail salt so that the salt adheres to the rim of the glass.
  • In a glass measuring cup add the cara cara orange juice, lime juice and simple syrup. Stir to combine.
  • Fill salt-rimmed glass with ice and add the orange juice mixture. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a lime or orange slice or a twist of lime or orange zest. Or both — why not? Enjoy!


  • In a large pitcher (64 ounces) combine the fresh orange juice, lime juice and simple syrup. Stir together and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled.
  • Just before serving, rim the glasses with simple syrup and dip into margarita salt. Fill glasses with ice.
  • Add the chilled sparkling water to the pitcher and give it a quick stir. Pour virgin margaritas into prepared glasses.


  • If you want to pre-make a pitcher of drinks, combine the fresh juices and simple syrup in a pitcher and chill. Keep the pitcher covered and refrigerated for up to a week.
  • Fill a glass with ice, add 4 ½ ounces of the citrus juice blend to the glass and add 3 ounces of sparkling water.


Kids love these “fancy” margarita mocktails, especially with a garnish. Skip the salt rim for them.


Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 170mg | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Iron: 1mg

Pin “Bubbly Virgin Cara Cara Margarita” for later!

a pin of the non alcoholic margarita.

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  1. 5 stars
    I love cocktails with fresh citrus in them and I simply can’t wait to try these! They look amazing and just what I need to brighten up a dark winter’s day!

  2. 5 stars
    This looks so refreshing and yummy! My hubby is going to love this recipe! Can’t wait to give this a try!

  3. Sarah Holt says:

    5 stars
    Love citrus and margaritas, have to try this non-alcoholic one, I know I will love it!!

  4. 5 stars
    A bubbly drink is always okay with me any day. Looks delicious.

  5. Nola+Martin says:

    5 stars
    Love the fresh citrus. Might add a splash of tequila when January ends!