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A dear friend of mine had a birthday recently and I decided hosting dinner would be the perfect way to celebrate him AND throw a little housewarming party.

We moved at the end of September and I’ve been looking for any excuse to entertain.

I went with burritos/burrito bowls and margaritas to keep it simple. (More on simple entertaining to come.) Because my friend is always the one bringing margaritas to the party, I thought I would get his recipe and make them for him.

Well, when I went to Trader Joe’s to get the mix he uses, the line was insane. Same story the next day. No thanks.

I decided I would make fresca margaritas instead and headed home to prep since I’d already gotten the limes, oranges and tequila that he adds to the Trader Joe’s mix.

When I got home I realized I’d forgotten triple sec, which I usually use for margaritas and almost went to the liquor store. *face slap*

Thankfully, my husband was in problem-solving mode and made a suggestion: “Why don’t you just make an orangey simple syrup instead for that orange hint?”


So that’s what I did.

DIY Orange Vanilla Simple Syrup

Because I’m obsessed with adding my homemade vanilla extract to everything, I decided on an orange vanilla simple syrup. It was very easy to make and the thing that took the longest was figuring out how many essential oils to add for the perfect flavor.

Add the sugar and water to a sauce pan. Stir to combine and then bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in the essential oils and vanilla. Transfer to a bottle you can pour from (don’t forget your funnel). I have some cool glass bottles like this that I like to use. Sometimes I’ll just save an old vodka bottle if it looks cool and use that.

*If you just want orange, don’t add the vanilla.

Now, you need to test it out with margaritas. Here’s what you’ll need:

Orange Fresca Margaritas

  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1/2 of a Valencia orange (navel orange will work, too), freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 a lime, freshly squeezed
  • 1 shot tequila (I’m a fan of Hornitos or Espolon)
  • 1/2 to 1 shot orange vanilla simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like your margarita)

Add all these goodies to a martini shaker, starting with the ice. If you don’t have one, put it in a pint-size mason jar and screw on a lid to shake it up. Give it a good shake (like 20-ish seconds) then pour into a glass.