Upgrade Your Margarita

by Erin Rea  |  06.16.2022

Ask a dozen people how to make a Margarita, you’re apt to get (at least) a dozen different recipes. The tequila (or mezcal!) selected, additional modifying spirits, and quality of citrus and sugars all contribute to the overall flavor. If you want to customize your cocktail, switching out the base spirit can produce dramatically different results. And whatever your ratio is, changing up the sweet component of the drink is a great place to impart additional flavors, like cinnamon, orange, or even chile pepper, through liqueurs or syrups. Read on for upgrades to your standard Margarita and enjoy crafting your next signature sip.

Blanco tequilas make clean, bright Margaritas and with good reason. The unaged, agave-forward nature of these spirits plays well with fresh lime and quality ingredients. JAJA Blanco Tequila offers subtle notes of black pepper and citrus fruit that bring out the sweetness of pure agave. Keep it simple in a Tommy’s Margarita.

Aging tequila for 2 to 6 months takes it from a blanco to a reposado, imparting light barrel flavors of oak and caramel that are complimentary to agave. Tequila Ocho’s Reposado is aged for ocho weeks and ocho days in ex-American Whiskey barrels. Try this in place of a blanco tequila in any of your favorite recipes for a richer, rounder tipple.

Gracias a Dios Mezcal Espadin

If you haven’t had a mezcal Margarita yet, get to it, stat! Mezcal’s characteristic smoky flavor brings any Margarita to the next level. Gracias a Dios’s Espadin is full of citrus and smoke notes that might just make mezcal your new favorite Margarita base. Mezcal goes beautifully with orange, so try this in a Classic Margarita with your favorite orange liqueur – bonus points for an orange zest salt rim.

Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao

Dry Curaçao is a liqueur flavored with orange peel, that tends to be – you guessed it – rather dry, allowing for the refreshingly zesty notes of citrus to shine through. Pierre Ferrand’s version uses a cognac base and three distillates of citrus for its layered flavor. Use this anywhere you would use an orange liqueur for a bright, dry citrus backbone in your favorite Margaritas.

Pablano peppers provide the flavor for this intense liqueur made in Pueblo City, Mexico. Ancho Reyes Verde has a bright and herbal taste with notes of golden pineapple and a savory acidity finishing with the crisp, fresh heat of poblano chile. Use this in place of orange liqueur in a classic recipe to bring a vegetal, herbaceous punch to your Margarita.

Geijer Spirits California Glögg

Full of spices like cinnamon, clove, and cardamom, California Glögg Liqueur is balanced with with almonds, raisins, and Seville oranges for a deep, rich, and savory spirit. Split the portion with an orange liqueur or dry curacao to add depth and complexity to a Margarita or to transition into fall.