Cara Cara Orange Margarita

Cara Cara Orange Margarita

I had the best intentions. I planned in advance and had the perfect cocktail for the Friday before the Super Bowl; you know that one where our Denver Broncos are making an appearance? Yeah, that one. I couldn’t decide on a name…should it be the Broncos Orange Crush Margarita or maybe something that has to do with a certain guy named Peyton. I was undecided but sure it would come to me; maybe in those nocturnal hours when my new cat seems most active and decides it’s the perfect time to get to know me better. Yawnnn.

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Then the news this week that shocked the food blogging world. One of our own, one way too young, had suddenly passed away. We were greeted on Facebook with a message on her page from her daughter. Before saying anything I even asked another friend; I thought it must have been a hack. But no, our Elle (real name Lee Ann) from Elle’s New England Kitchen was gone; a pulmonary embolism. It was sudden and it was irrevocable and it is heartbreaking; she was only 45,  gone too soon hardly says enough. She was a gem. The social media world is filled with accolades for Elle but my experience, my friendship with her, will it really boiled down to one thing. She was really, really real. She was not blogging for fame and fortune. Her family came first (although those Corgi’s and that new kitten sure vied for that position). She was definitely witty and sweet and kind as has been said many times over but I have to admit, it was her more bawdy side that I loved. Our DM exchanges on Twitter and our emails attested to some snark in there amongst those great attributes that I just loved. Not mean but she called out the crap like no one and I know we all loved that and it was a part of our bonding.

Cara Cara Orange Margarita

And I know she loved tequila. When I celebrated my first anniversary of Friday Cocktail in 2012, I had gathered a big assortment of prize giveaways for readers. One was a bottle of tequila and our Elle won it. And then the company, who shall go unmentioned but I’m sorely tempted, well, they reniged. Something about shipping rules, yada yada yada. But you PROMISED! Not to worry, Elle was fine with that, she understood but we had some serious chuckles over imagined tweets we both wanted to send. And beyond that…the hell with shipping rules, I sent her a damn bottle of tequila from my stash. A different brand. So there.

Cara Cara Oranges

So though I still want to wish the boys in orange and blue a great day on Sunday and these oranges were originally meant for them, even more today I want to honor my friend who was quite ironically a Patriots fan. I hope she’s rooting for the AFC this weekend!

A supportive blogging buddy, a great gal, seriously crazy about her husband Billy and their children. Who am I going to chat with about our mutual love of Corgi’s? You have to know one to really get it; we had even discussed recently (albeit in jest I think) about how it was time to find a use for all of that hair; maybe Corgi mittens?

I didn’t get this cocktail made until this morning. Sometimes that will happen and I’ll be forced to take a sip or two and then pitch the rest. The Elle with that; I’m raising this glass to you Elle. Godspeed my friend, you will be sorely, sorely missed. Maybe we should have said all of these words before you were gone, but I’m hoping that you can feel and see and hear the outpouring of love and warmth that you inspired my dear. And I hope that brings some comfort to your family too today and in the tough days ahead. A life well lived Elle, that is all we can ask for and you did just that.

Cara Cara Orange Margarita

Many have asked how they could help; a donation site from Self Healing Journal has been setup on PayPal with all funds going to Elle’s husband Billy and their children. No one can prepare for this type of loss and our help will surely lessen some of the burden of the days ahead. There is also a group that is planning a food blogging event in Elles name, called appropriately Elleapalooza. She was the Palooza queen I’ll tell ya! Check out the Facebook site ‘Friends of Elle‘ for more information and join us next weekend when we’ll honor her as a group. I like the idea of throwing her a big party but for today, I just want to raise this glass to you Elle. You are so real. You are so loved.  You are so missed. You will so not be forgotten my friend! XOXO

Cara Cara Orange Margarita

The Elle Yes! Margarita featuring Cara Cara Oranges and Ginger Beer

Creative Culinary
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


For the rim:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • ¼ cup Cara Cara or Blood Orange juice

For the Cocktail:

  • 1 & 1/2 oz Tequila
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed Cara Cara or Blood Orange juice
  • One lime wedge
  • 3 oz chilled ginger beer use ginger ale if you can not locate ginger beer


  • Mix together sugar, salt and orange zest; put onto a plate.
  • Put the orange juice in a shallow bowl; Dip the rim of a glass in the orange juice; shake off excess and then dip it into the rimming mixture.
  • Combine tequila, orange juice and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well, Strain into a glass filled with ice.
  • Top with chilled ginger beer.
  • Garnish with orange slices (optional).
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

I was provided with a bottle of Baron Tequila which I opened just to make this cocktail; I wanted something worthy and it was just that. Of course all commentary is my own!

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  1. This is Elle’s aforementioned daughter. I’m only just now coming across these ElleAPalooza posts and I want to say how grateful I am that the food blogging community is keeping my mother’s memory alive; the outpouring of love and support from every corner of the world is truly touching. My mother was an extraordinary woman and I’m so proud of her.

    1. Hi Carrina; thank you SO much for touching base. I think of your mom often and of her family left behind; my own mother died when I was 28 so I know all too well of losing someone far too young. I hope your family is starting to heal from this heartache; you know you can count on any number of us should you need a new and friendly shoulder to cry on. I miss her and know she was so very proud of her family too. Take good care…Barb

  2. Barb, this is such a lovely tribute to Elle. Such a sad loss, especially at such a young age. Your margarita sounds fabulous and like something Elle would have enjoyed.

    1. Thanks Hannah; it was heartfelt and sort of an amazing thing when you think of how we connect through this virtual world and how the people we meet really do matter. I still have moments of disbelief; she was far too young.

  3. Though I did not follow Elle’s blog nor Twitter feed, I am so very sorry to hear of her sudden passing.
    This was a very beautiful tribute to your friend Barb. My sincere condolences to her family, friends and all who knew and loved her.

    1. She was a good one for sure Paula; I’m still verklempt; you know when you wake up each morning and it hits you again and you just can’t believe it. But it’s real. You would have liked her, I just know it!

    1. Thank you Maureen; that means a lot to me; it was heartfelt and written with misty eyes. Still can hardly believe it.

  4. You made me misty eyed this morning. What a beautiful and loving tribute. I am sure she would have loved this Margarita. Praying for Elle’s family.

    1. I still think of her every morning, still in disbelief. How quickly life as we know it can change right. Need to get you down here you know…pack your bags and rev your engines!

    1. This could be made with blood oranges too Jayne and of course when those two are both out of season I’ll be using just a regular orange! I think of the Cara Cara as Blood Orange Light. Pinkish and sweet but lesser so than the Blood Orange.

    1. Thanks so much John; I’m still in shock as I know many are but I’ll think of her every time I have this cocktail; it was one I just loved so it seems appropriate.

  5. Beautifully said Barb. Such a senseless loss of life, so difficult to understand. Your photos and the cocktail are gorgeous, I am sure Elle would have loved them!

    1. Thanks Wendy, I sure would hope so…I just loved it; sort of surprisingly so because ginger beer is so not typical in a margarita. It should be. 🙂

  6. I felt so sorry for her family after reading her daughter’s FB message. My own mother was only 41 when she was taken by the same thing. It was so stunning but a reminder how we aren’t promised an indefinite period of time, so we need to make the best of today. This is a lovely tribute to her Barb.

    1. I was so sad; Elle and I have known each other for years; she was so full of life that it’s still hard to process. I only wish she could have shared this cocktail with me Karen but I’ll make them for the ‘girls.’ It is so good and I’ll think of her every time I have one.

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