Our Favorite Margarita Recipes by Style

Mexico’s original tequila daisy is one of the most riffable drinks in the cocktail canon. Here, a collection of recipes that play on the original template—from fresh to spicy and smoky to sweet.

margarita cocktail

Though its history remains murky, one thing’s for sure: since being named Esquire’s cocktail of the month in December of 1953, the Margarita has hardly flagged in popularity.

A simple sour at heart, this classic mix of agave spirit, citrus and sweetener is one of the most versatile in the canon, having spurred a handful of drinks that have since become classics in their own right; the Paloma, with its grapefruit and soda topper, lengthens the original formula, while the short, Angostura-topped Mexican Firing Squad gets its gentle hint of sweetness from grenadine.

Plenty of modern bartenders, unsurprisingly, offer plays on the original template as well, losing the tequila in favor of smoky mezcal, or replacing the bones of the drink—citrus and orange liqueur—with blood orange, bell pepper or even pomegranate shrub for lower ABV, fruity twists on the archetype. If a spicy margarita is what you’re after, look to jalapeño, which brightens this avocado and cilantro-laced number, or to chile-infused agave syrup, which lends a study backbone to the El Vato Swizzle, a watermelon Margarita by way of Miami Beach. Or, go a wholly unconventional route with a frozen Margarita spiked with Jägermeister.

An enduring classic on both sides of the border, the Margarita is ripe for play, be it with salt or without, up or on the rocks.

Classic

Margarita
Mexico’s tequila daisy.

Tommy’s Margarita
A West Coast-style, agave-laced riff.

Mexican Firing Squad
A grenadine-fueled play on the original.

Paloma
A sweet-tart Collins with grapefruit and soda.

Fruity

El Vato Swizzle
A watermelon Margarita by way of Miami.

Blood Orange Margarita
The summer favorite in a winter coat.

Queen of the Underworld
Pomegranate shrub, meet tequila. 

Smoky

Beachfire Margarita
Part tequila, part Mezcal.

Mezcal Margarita
A truly smoky twist on the original.

Herbal or Spicy

El Pepe
Mezcal, génépy and a hint of basil.

Mexican Razor Blade
Cucumber and lime—with a kick.

Jalapeno-Avocado Margarita
The ultimate guac-Margarita hybrid.

Dove Dispatch
Tequila fortified with Campari, grapefruit and bell pepper.

Wildcard

Carrot Margarita
Intox and detox.

Jägerita
Frozen—and surprisingly sophisticated.

Winter Paloma
A sage-laden fireside companion.

Word to Your Cardamom
Barolo Chinato and a hefty dose of wordplay.

Meshugenah Margarita
With Manischewitz, for your bubbala.

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