Three Bartenders Take on the “Margaladaoma”

In "Bartender's Choice," we challenge some of our favorite bartenders with a drink order and see what they come up with. In a tribute to Cinco de Mayo, Dan Greenbaum, Jane Danger and Matthew Belanger each combine the Margarita, Michelada and Paloma into one drink.


Able to claim no credit in Mexico’s unlikely victory over France in 1862, Americans have turned Cinco de Mayo, an otherwise commemorative holiday, into an excuse to binge on their favorite south-of-the-border cocktails. It is, in no uncertain terms, a day most often fueled by Margaritas, Palomas and Micheladas

And while there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the classics, there is indeed a better way to celebrate this underdog success—namely, by putting all three drinks into one glass.

Meet the Margaladaoma, a bar call with no roadmap (because, technically speaking, this drink does not exist—or at least it didn’t until now).

Before challenging three very adventurous bartenders to create a #margaladaoma, we decided that it was only fair for us to create our own. We began by channeling the citrus flavors of the Paloma and the savory notes of the Margarita, pairing a housemade grapefruit and chile de árbol shrub with mezcal and a salt rim. Topped with Negra Modelo (Michelada, anyone?), the umami-driven drink is finished with a measure of fresh grapefruit juice, for a seriously refreshing tip of the hat to the Mexican military victory.

One of the more visually striking Margaladaoma iterations comes from Matthew Belanger of Death & Company, who went big, literally grabbing the largest vessel he could find (in this case, a 30-ounce Mason jar). From there, he doubled down on agave and grapefruit, combining both tequila and mezcal with Pamplemousse liqueur and grapefruit simple syrup in a spirit-forward move that captured those essential citrus flavors. To express the spicy soul of the Michelada, Belanger dropped in a teaspoon of Cholula and—in keeping with the all-in attitude—an entire bottle of Modelo Especial, flipped directly into the glass.

Though just one-third of the size of Belanger’s behemoth take, Jane Danger’s Margaladaoma holds its own, calling on soy sauce and Sriracha to channel the savory and adding wildcard ingredients—sesame oil, pomegranate molasses and tart yuzu ale—for a refreshingly unexpected drink.

For a simpler variation, reach for the one from Attaboy’s Dan Greenbaum, who opts for spicy ginger juice to convey the heat of a Michelada before adding mezcal and lime to recall the classic Margarita. Shaken with a cucumber slice and topped with Negra Modelo, it’s the lightest Margaladaoma in the lineup—and, on a holiday practically devoted to binging, that’s an easy thing to get behind.

Not to be outdone, we decided to push the limits of our Frankendrink just one step further, calling on Brooklyn-based pastry chef Kathryn Peetz to create a frozen Margaladaoma, conveniently nestled into some very adult Otter Pops. With their layers of tequila-spiked grapefruit, candied limes and savory tomato-beer base, they’re just the thing to drive the enduring spirit of Margaladaoma well into summer, proving that you can drink your Margaladaoma—and eat it, too.