Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails

11 Margarita Variations to Try Right Now

Because more ways to make a Margarita equal more reasons to drink one.

Shrubarita / Tim Nusog

Few cocktails rival the Margarita’s popularity. If freshly squeezed lime juice is available, it’s easy to whip one up, and it’s almost guaranteed to taste delicious. It’s this ubiquity and accessibility that has made the drink as well-known as a cocktail can be.

It’s also revered by cocktail lovers for its malleability. Add or swap ingredients as you like, and the results will still be great: Switch out lime juice for lemon juice; use mezcal instead of tequila; muddle fruits with the syrup. The options are virtually endless, and most of them require minimal effort to make. These are 11 delicious Margarita variations to try.

  • Tequila Daisy

    Tequila Daisy cocktail / Tim Nusog

    The predecessor to the Margarita (which is “daisy” in Spanish), this Prohibition-era drink comes from the daisy family of cocktails, which all call for a spirit, lemon juice, orange liqueur and a splash of soda. This recipe hews to exactly that mix, with tequila used as the base spirit. It’s essentially an effervescent Margarita but comes across as a sweeter drink due to the use of lemon juice instead of lime.

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  • Tommy’s Margarita

    Tommy's Margarita / Tim Nusog

    This Margarita variation was created by bartender Julio Bermejo in the early ’90s at Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, a San Francisco favorite. Most cocktail bars today serve their house Margs using the Tommy’s Margarita formula, which swaps out the usual orange liqueur in favor of agave nectar. The resulting mix of tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and agave nectar puts the tequila front-and-center, so be sure to make it using a quality 100% agave tequila. 

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  • Frozen Margarita

    Frozen Margarita / Tim Nusog

    As the quintessential frozen cocktail, you’ll find this one served in chain restaurants, cocktail bars and even occasionally a dive bar. It became popular in the 1950s, as blenders made their way into bars, and was launched into the mainstream in 1971 when Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez created the first Frozen Margarita machine. Sadly, the average home bartender doesn’t own one of those, so into the blender the ingredients go. To make it, tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur get blended with ice until smooth; throwing in a pinch of salt won’t hurt either. 

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  • Spicy Margarita

    Spicy Margarita / Tim Nusog

    The Spicy Margarita is near-ubiquitous on cocktail bar menus, but it can take many different forms depending on the spice used. Some bartenders create pepper syrups, others choose to a add spicy tincture or pepper-infused tequila, but the most common and least-fussy way to make one is by muddling some fresh pepper with agave syrup before shaking the rest of the mix, and that’s exactly how this recipe is made. Freshly sliced jalapeño peppers are muddled with agave syrup in a shaker before being topped with a blanco tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice. You can garnish the drink with a sliced pepper, lime wedge or salt rim. It’s a zippy, fresh crowd-pleaser.

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    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • Strawberry Margarita

    Strawberry Margarita cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Building upon the Frozen Margarita, this sweeter, fruitier rendition takes the usual tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and agave nectar and adds the bright pop of summer-fresh strawberries. It all goes into the blender, making for a smooth, slushy drink that’s ideal for sipping on the patio or next to a pool. 

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  • Breakfast Margarita

    Breakfast Margarita / Tim Nusog

    This take on the Margarita by San Francisco bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout was inspired by the Breakfast Martini, a modern classic created by London bartending vet Salvatore Calabrese, which employs orange marmalade to add a lush texture and balanced citrusy sweetness to the Martini. This twist uses a mix of blanco tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur and agave syrup, plus two teaspoons of orange marmalade, rendering a drink bright and refreshing enough for any time of day, from breakfast onward. 

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  • Black Mole Margarita

    Black Mole Margarita / Tim Nusog

    Inspired by the flavors of traditional Mexican mole, this Margarita twist from Nightmoves in Brooklyn uses mole’s rich spice-forward profile to add depth and complexity to the drink. Tequila is swapped out for an earthy mezcal, which is shaken with lime juice, Cointreau, a black-cocoa-and-orange syrup and mole bitters before being topped with a splash of soda water. For those who enjoy spicy Margs, this drink is the next step up.

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  • Spicy Mint Avocado Margarita

    Spicy Mint Avocado Margarita / Tim Nusog

    This Margarita riff puts avocado to work by way of muddling it, adding a rich texture to the cocktail. In addition to the avocado, fresh jalapeño pepper and mint are also muddled with lime juice in the shaker, adding spice and bright herbal notes, before being joined by tequila, orange liqueur and simple syrup. The mix is finished with a mint sprig garnish. 

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    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • Thanksgiving Margarita

    Thanksgiving Margarita / Tim Nusog

    This pumpkin-tinged twist was created by star bartender Naren Young and takes the Margarita into the cooler months. The additions of allspice dram, amaretto and pumpkin puree to the classic cocktail lend sweet and nutty flavors that render it perfect for sipping all autumn and winter and not just on the turkey-themed holiday. 

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  • Manu de Chango

    Manu de Chango

    Kim Stodel

    This cocktail created by Kim Stodel, the bar director at Providence in Los Angeles, lands somewhere in between a classic Margarita and Paloma, with a flourish of low-waste-minded technique. It’s made with tequila, dry curaçao, guava, and lime and grapefruit juices. Stodel forgoes the use of bottled guava in favor of her own guava syrup, a process that yields guava pulp. In an effort to elevate the cocktail while getting the best bang for her buck and also eliminating waste, Stodel creates a fruit leather garnish with the pulp. It’s surprisingly easy to make. And who doesn’t love a little snack with their drink? 

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  • Shrubarita

    Shrubarita / Tim Nusog

    A shrub, also known as a drinking vinegar, is a combination of fruit, water, sugar and vinegar. It adds a balance of sweetness and acidity to cocktails, making it a versatile ingredient for all sorts of drink formats. In the Shrubarita, Casey Elsass, the founder of Bushwick Kitchen and creator of this drink, combines a maple-beet shrub with mezcal, lime juice, salt and maple syrup, garnished with a salt-and-pepper rim, for a unique take on the classic. It’s the perfect Margarita riff to try for adventurous cocktail enthusiasts willing to give new flavors a go.

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