Booze Banter: what’s the best Margarita?
From our favourite Margarita recipes to the best RTD versions of the cocktail, here’s what SB’s editors are drinking to celebrate International Margarita Day.
If any cocktail is worthy of a dedicated holiday, it’s the Margarita. That classic mix of Tequila, orange liqueur and lime is refreshing and endlessly riffable, making it a firm favourite of The Spirits Business team.
So to celebrate International Margarita Day today (22 February), we’re dedicating our Booze Banter feature to our favourite versions of the drink. Whether you’re looking for the perfect Margarita recipe or a standout bottled serve, we’ve got you covered.
Read on to discover what our editorial staff will be drinking to toast the classic cocktail – and let us know your Margarita of choice by tagging us on social media (@spiritsbusiness).
Who says blenders are just for cooking? Not us, that’s for sure. Set your shaker aside and instead, dig out your blender to whip up a delicious batch of Frozen Margaritas.
This iconic twist on the classic Tequila-based cocktail is incredibly easy to make – and can be scaled up for when you’re entertaining at home.
Cointreau keeps things simple with this easy-to-follow recipe, meaning perfect Frozen Margaritas every time. Personally, I think Patrón Silver works wonderfully in this recipe, but of course, you can swap in your favourite blanco Tequila.
60ml Blanco Tequila
30ml Fresh lime juice
5ml Simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water)
7 ice cubes
Add all ingredients into a blender, and blend to combine. Pour into a Margarita glass (add a salt rim to the glass if that’s to your taste). Garnish with a lime wheel, and enjoy.
Melita Kiely, editor
The Tommy’s Margarita has come into its own as a modern classic, made famous by a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco in the late 80s. As my go-to Margarita, I prefer the serve’s generous Tequila helping and subtle sweetness.
Tommy’s typically replaces triple sec (orange liqueur) with agave nectar and is served in a rocks glass over ice. While agave nectar can be more costly than your typical sweetener it’s worth grabbing a bottle to complement Tequila-based cocktails. The addition of the agave nectar enhances the agave flavours from the Tequila and results in a lighter, refreshing version of the classic cocktail with honeyed sweetness.
As the drink usually calls for a blanco Tequila, there are plenty of affordable 100% agave bottlings on the market, including Altos and El Jimador. Altos Tequila has put a spicy spin on the serve, adding homemade ginger syrup to the recipe to give the serve some nice heat. According to the brand, the ginger’s slightly spicy and sweet taste mellows with the citrus from the lemon and bite of the 100% blue agave Tequila. As a fan of drinks with a bit of a kick, I’ll be trying out the recipe below.
Ginger Tommy’s Margarita: ingredients
50ml Altos Plata Tequila
25ml Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
15ml Ginger syrup (see recipe below)
10ml Agave syrup (try The Groovy Food Company Agave Nectar)
Add the Tequila, lemon juice, ginger and agave syrup into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake well to mix. Strain and serve with ice in a julep cup or clay jarrito. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Recipe for the ginger syrup
2/3 cup peeled and sliced fresh ginger
3/4 cup sugar or sweetener of choice
3/4 cup water
Pour the sweetener and the water into a saucepan. Bring the mix to boil. Reduce the heat and add the ginger. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain the syrup into an airtight container and store the extra for future use.
Alternative: mix fresh ginger juice with superfine sugar (2:1) to make the syrup.
Nicola Carruthers, deputy editor
Mezcal Mirror Margarita
I’ve already shared my obsession with the citrus liqueur Easymixt in a previous Booze Banter, so you know I fully support a Margarita that’s both delicious and easy to make. Luckily, the classic cocktail doesn’t get any more effortless – or sophisticated – than the ready-to-drink version from London bar Hacha: the Mirror Margarita.
Industry veterans Deano Moncrieffe and Emma Murphy opened agave spirits-focused Hacha in 2019, and the bar quickly became known for the crystal-clear serve. In 2020, the duo bottled the Mirror Margarita and started selling it online, and in November last year, they transformed the cocktail into a standalone brand.
Hacha offers two variations of the drink: one with Patrón Silver Tequila, the bar’s sour mix, cane syrup and mixed grapefruit oils; and another with The Lost Explorer Espadín Mezcal, cane syrup, kaffir lime and eucalyptus. I’m partial to the latter, as the mezcal lends a lovely, earthy smokiness to the cocktail’s gentle citrus notes.
The bar’s new outpost in Brixton is complete with a bottle shop selling Mirror Margaritas to drink in or take away. What better occasion than International Margarita Day to have a cocktail at the bar, then grab a bottle to enjoy at home?
Kate Malczewski, digital editor
Strawberry and Jalapeño Margarita
London bar NBHD opened as a pop-up venue last summer and ran until December 2021. During its short stint, NBHD managed to make a name for its Strawberry and Jalapeño Margarita, with locals flocking to order the cocktail at the South American-themed bar. After heading to the bar to try the serve, I discovered it very much lived up to the hype. This drink boasts a fresh explosion of strawberries, and avoids any synthetic sugary flavours. Blended with the spice of jalapeños, plus triple sec, Tequila and lemon juice, this inventive Margarita is perfect for those like me, who just can’t choose between the Margarita or the Bloody Mary.
While the bar has shut down its pop-up venue, the team is currently looking to reopen the site once they’ve found the “right location”, according to bartender George Nelson. I’ll be keeping a look out for NBHD and its Strawberry and Jalapeño Margarita to return again. In the meantime, we’ve got the recipe here.
Alice Brooker, staff writer