Food for Soul

Easy Cocktail Recipes: 8 Superb Riffs On The Margarita

Karla AlindahaoSenior ContributorForbesLifeI write about travel and food. So I love forks in the road.Follow

Best Margarita Recipes
Chris Taylor’s habanero-passionfruit margarita delivers summery vibes—with a kick. TANTEO

As far as I’m concerned margarita season starts now.

Nevermind that mercury still falls consistently below 60 degrees where I am in New York City. I (and many others) are over winter—not to mention our godforsaken down coats. I’m ready for cocktails that’ll elevate my mood and jolt me out of my pandemic-enhanced cold-weather blues. And enjoying a superbly made margarita does just that and never disappoints: There’s seriously no going wrong here, especially when you consider that margaritas are relatively easy to make.

And truth be told, this gem of a cocktail needn’t be relegated to the warmer months of the year, or for beach vacations, or for Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Readers, this is no seasonal drink. It’s cocktail that can delight you throughout the year. (The way a Bloody Mary or martini can.)

Best Margarita Recipes
The El Coco Carlos—by Chas Martin and Benji Homsey—took the classic margarita and added elements of … [+] THE CHARLES (DALLAS, TEXAS)

Even in the depths of winter, my partner-cum-personal bartender concocted multiple magarita variations for me: There were smokey mezcal ones in December, honeybell-and-jalapeño margaritas in January, and even extra spicy multi-citrus ones in February.MORE FOR YOUThe Best Spirits And Cocktails To Drink In 2021Now Is A Great Time To Plan A Virtual Cinco De Mayo Party9 Easy Tequila Cocktail Recipes For Summer

So for more inspiration, I reached out to eight of the country’s top spirits professionals to share the margarita recipes they’ve been preparing for themselves—from Atlanta’s Jarrett Holborough to Los Angeles’ Hilary Chadwick to New Orleans’ Chris Zulueta and beyond

8 of the Best Margarita Recipes to Serve All Summer


Best Margarita Recipes
The Hacienda De Lavender Margarita JARRETT HOLBOROUGH

HACIENDA DE LAVENDER

“For my cocktail Hacienda de Lavender, I took the classic tequila cocktail and using Tequila Herradura reposado, added elements of herbal, savory, and springtime notes. The result was a thoughtful twist on the classic Margarita.” —Jarrett Holborough, spirits educator and bar man at 12 Cocktail Bar (Atlanta, Georgia)

Ingredients:

2 oz. Tequila Herradura reposado 

1 oz. lime juice

1 oz. lavender syrup

¼ oz. orange juice

Pinch of salt

Method: Add all ingredients to a shaker. Add ice, shake, and strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with two sprigs of lavender.


Best Margarita Recipes
The Sparkling Farmers’ Market Margarita HILARY CHADWICK

SPARKLING FARMERS’ MARKET MARGARITA

“This is the perfect margarita for day drinking. The bright, sweet notes of farm-fresh blood oranges are perfectly balanced by the rosemary—and the Ferrand Dry Curaçao lends a long-lasting finish. Topped with bubbles, this makes for the most refreshing cocktail. I was first inspired to make this cocktail after visiting the Santa Monica farmers’ market and sampling Schaefer Farms’ incredible citrus selection. Blood oranges are sweet with just the right amount of tartness to make it easy to enjoy all day.” Hilary Chadwick, bartender and spirits specialist at A.O.C. (Los Angeles, California)

Ingredients:

2 parts El Tesoro blanco

¾ part fresh-squeezed blood orange juice 

½ part fresh-squeezed lime juice

½ part Ferrand Dry Curaçao

½ part rosemary simple syrup**

Topo Chico

**Rosemary simple syrup: Add 4 to 5 sprigs fresh rosemary to 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Once the rosemary water reaches room temperature, add 1 cup sugar and stir until incorporated.

Method: Add ingredients to shaker and fill with ice. Strain into your favorite glass and top with Topo Chico for a sparkling farmers’ market margarita! Garnish with a blood orange wheel and fresh rosemary sprig. 


Best Margarita Recipes
The El Coco Carlos Margarita THE CHARLES (DALLAS, TEXAS)

EL COCO CARLOS

“This is the perfect margarita for the summer! Refreshing, cool, and delicious!” Chas Martin and Benji Homsey, co-owners at The Charles (Dallas, Texas)

Ingredients:

2 oz. Flecha Azul reposado tequila

1 oz. coconut water

0.75 oz. fresh lime juice

0.5 oz. agave syrup

Orange wedge

Method: Start by muddling an orange wedge in your shaker, then combine the rest of the ingredients in the shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a salted rocks glass over one giant cube. Garnish with an orange spiral or wedge.


Best Margarita Recipes
The La Mar Margarita PERFECT PURÉE OF NAPA VALLEY

LA MAR

“I was inspired to create this cocktail by a chef friend of mine: One day he made me a beautiful dish with yuzu, Thai basil, and noodles—I loved it so much and that made me bring the same flavors to the glass.” —Manny Hinojosa, global brand ambassador at Tequila Cazadores

Ingredients:

1 ½ oz. Perfect Purée Yuzu Luxe Sour

1 ½ oz. Tequila Cazadores blanco

½ oz. Martini & Rossi bianco vermouth

½ oz. agave nectar

¾ oz. lemon juice

3 Thai basil leaves

Method: Combine all the ingredients with ice. Shake, double strain, and serve up in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist, basil, and a dash of togarashi.


Best Margarita Recipes
The Colada-Rita Margarita HOUSE TRIBECA

COLADA-RITA

“When you dream of lazy summer days bathed in sunshine, your mind races towards refreshing sips of cold margaritas or piña coladas. But why restrict your choice to just one when you can employ the best qualities of both? There’s something magical about exploring the marriage of these historic cocktails and you’ll find that employing the signature grassy notes of Camarena Silver will impart an interesting earthy-spiciness to the fresh island flavors of this build. It doesn’t hurt that it also evokes daydreams of Puerto Vallarta beaches, sunshine, and saltwater living.” —Christopher Chamberlain, beverage development manager at E&J Gallo Spirits

Ingredients:

1.5 oz. Camarena Silver

0.5 oz. dry curaçao

1 oz. fresh lime juice

0.75 oz. Coco Reàl cream of coconut syrup

1.25 oz. pineapple juice

Directions: Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with a small amount of pebble ice and vigorously shake together to combine and chill. Strain mixture into glass and fill with fresh pebble ice. Garnish with pineapple frond.


Best Margarita Recipe
The La Femme Margarita DIEGO NAVA

LA FEMME

“La femme comes from the idea of serving an easy drinking skinny margarita without the presence of sugar bringing notes from lychee and melon from Pomp & Whimsy.” —Diego Nava, general manager at Tacology (Miami, Florida)

Ingredients:

1.5 oz. Tequila Inevitable

1 oz. Pomp & Whimsy gin liqueur

0.5 oz. lime juice

Method: Pour all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and serve over ice in a margarita glass with salt rim.


Best Margarita Recipes
The Habanero-Passionfruit Margarita TANTEO TEQUILA

TANTEO TEQUILA HABANERO-PASSIONFRUIT MARGARITA

“We created the habanero-passionfruit Margarita to be a little different. We’re on the beach and there is nothing that says ‘beach’ better than a spicy Tanteo margarita at GuacAmigos.” —Chris Taylor at GuacAmigos (Newport Beach, California)

Ingredients:

2 oz. Tanteo habanero tequila 

1 oz. Cointreau

½ oz. passion fruit purée

½ oz. lime juice

Method: Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.


Best Margarita Recipes
The Firewalk With Me Mezcal Margarita CHRIS ZULUETA

FIRE WALK WITH ME 

“This drink is inspired by the Mexican Firing Squad cocktail, which is from the 1930s. A Charles Baker discovery—the Indiana Jones of cocktail making. Charles found this drink at a bar in Mexico City but it was with tequila. I chose Cruz De Fuego mezcal for its spicy peppery esters. It has notes of ginger and peppercorns, lending itself perfectly to a spicy cocktail.” —Chris Zulueta, at Sylvain (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Ingredients:

1.5 oz. Cruz De Fuego Ensamble mezcal

0.5 oz. ABC Ayiti Bitters Zoranj Anmé

1 oz. lime juice

0.75 oz. chile-pomegrante syrup** (1:1)

**Chile-Pomegranate Syrup (1:1):

3-4 pomegranates (mine were medium sized); should yield 2 cups of juice 

8 chile de arbol for potent spice 

4 guajillo chiles for tangy, sweet cranberry fruit, and light spice

4 cups of sugar

2 cups of water

**For the Syrup: Juice pomegranates by cutting parallel to the stem. Juice with a large orange hand juicer. Begin by removing stems and seeds. Toast chile peppers on stove on medium heat for 1-2 minutes per side. Add water and bring to a boil. Add the juice of pomegranates and sugar until fully emulsified. 

Method: Shake all ingredients and strain over ice. No garnish unless you have leftover pomegranate seeds for at least some dietary fiber for the marg animal in all of us.Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Instagram (@kalindahao) and Twitter (@karlaalindahao)Karla AlindahaoFollow

I cover all things luxury lifestyle—with a focus on food, spirits, and travel. I’m the former digital director of the Haute Media Group. I’ve also done time at  The New York Observer, Metropolis magazine, Lifestyle Mirror, and Tatler Philippines. And I have very deep thoughts about life’s finer things—like red meat, brown liquor, and green M&Ms. Follow me on Instagram: @kalindahao 

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