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Four Awesome Margarita Recipes As You Gear Up For Cinco De Mayo

If someone says, “let’s order a margarita flight” when you walk into a bar, you kind of have to do it. It’s not a law, but don’t be an asshole. Margaritas are, generally, great and a whole flight translates to “let’s have a good time, now!” (Should you bother making margarita flights at home? That’s a whole other question.)

Still, to test these recipes that’s essentially what I did — made a flight. I prepped four margaritas that I’ve seen smashing on Tiktok and Instagram — strawberry basil margarita, a ghost pepper mango margarita, a passionfruit margarita, and a classic margarita — and compared their merits. These are all shakers, so let’s get shaking!

Also Read: The Top Five Cocktail Recipes of the Last Six Months

4 Margarita Flight

Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

Margarita 1 — Strawberry Basil

Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 1.5 oz. reposado tequila (plus a splash from the bottle)
  • 0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz. orange liqueur
  • 0.5 oz. cherry liqueur
  • 0.25 oz. simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Basil (for garnish)

The ingredients on this one are pretty easy to source. I recommend a classic Genovese basil as it’ll have the broadest leaves for the muddle. Smaller form basil — like Thai or Greek — will get really bitter if you over-muddle them since they’re more concentrated.

Before we move on, for all of these recipes, I’m using Don Julio Reposado. I love this stuff for everything from a Ranch Water to shots to Palomas to classic margaritas.

What You’ll Need:

  • Rocks glass
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Juicer
  • Fine strainer
  • Pairing knife
  • Jigger
  • Muddler
Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

Method:

  • Fill the rocks glass with ice.
  • Add the strawberries, basil, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker, and use the muddler to mash the basil and strawberry to create a juicy base.
  • Add the tequila, orange liqueur, and cherry liqueur to the shaker with a handful of ice. Affix the lid and shake vigorously until the shaker is ice cold and frosted over.
  • Strain with a fine-mesh strainer into the waiting glass, making sure to remove all the basil and strawberry flesh.
  • Garnish with fresh basil.

Margarita 2 — Mango Ghost Pepper

Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. reposado tequila (plus a splash from the bottle)
  • 1 oz. mango puree
  • 0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz. orange liqueur
  • 4 dashes of ghost pepper chili sauce
  • Mango slice (for garnish)
  • Ice

Mango puree might be a little harder to find. This is a bar juice of sorts that you should be able to get at any real liquor store. Though some of these will have sugar added, you really need the “puree” to add the correct, silky texture to these sorts of drinks. The best stuff — and what good bars use — usually come in bags like this.

As for the ghost pepper chili sauce, I simply grabbed what was in my fridge (pictured below). I like these spicier, so I wasn’t short with my sauce in the cocktail. Dial in your own balance as you practice making these.

What You’ll Need:

  • Rocks glass
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Juicer
  • Sieve
  • Pairing knife
  • Jigger
Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

Method:

  • Fill the glass with ice.
  • Add the tequila, mango puree, orange liqueur, chili sauce, and lime juice to a shaker.
  • Top up with ice, affix the lid, and shake until the shaker is frosted over.
  • Strain into a waiting rocks glass and garnish with a mango wedge.

Margarita 3 — Passionfruit

Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. reposado tequila (plus a splash from the bottle)
  • 1 oz. passionfruit puree
  • 0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz. orange liqueur
  • Granadilla seeds from half of the fruit
  • Granadilla slice (for garnish)
  • Ice

The same goes for the passionfruit puree as the mango puree above. You can also find these on Amazon in a pinch.

As for the granadilla, that’s a type of sweet passionfruit that works better as a garnish as it better matches the color of the cocktail. Also, the seeds add a nice visual touch to the whole thing. If you can’t find them, regular passionfruit works fine.

What You’ll Need:

  • Rocks glass
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Juicer
  • Sieve
  • Pairing knife
  • Jigger
Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

Method:

  • Fill the glass with ice.
  • Add the tequila, passionfruit puree, orange liqueur, lime juice, and seeds from half of a granadilla to a shaker.
  • Top up with ice, affix the lid, and shake until the shaker is frosted over.
  • Strain into a waiting rocks glass with a wide mouth strainer (which will allow the seeds through) then garnish with a half slice of granadilla

Margarita 4 — The Classic Margarita

Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. reposado tequila (plus a splash from the bottle)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. orange liqueur
  • Pinch of salt (about the size of a lentil between your fingers)
  • Lime wheel
  • Ice

This is all standard stuff. You should be able to get this at any liquor or grocery store. As for the orange liqueur, I’d go with a Cointreau. It’s a little pricier but worth it for the best marg.

What You’ll Need:

  • Rocks glass
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Juicer
  • Sieve
  • Pairing knife
  • Jigger
Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

Method:

  • Add ice to the rocks glass.
  • Add tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, salt, and ice to a shaker.
  • Affix the lid to the shaker and shake until the outside of the shaker is frosted over.
  • Strain the margarita into the waiting rocks glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

Bottom Line:

Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

Okay, let’s talk about the margaritas first. These all were pretty damn good. One thing I did learn from this is that making a specialty marg isn’t that big of a deal, as long as you have all the ingredients you need for it in the fridge. Making the strawberry basil margarita only took 20 seconds longer than making the classic one, so there’s no real deterrent if that’s your flavor of choice.

In the end, the mango ghost pepper marg was my favorite. I love the silkiness of the mango and that sweet/spicy/almost woody edge. Then, I’d probably go with the classic marg with the strawberry basil and passionfruit tied for third.

Margarita Flight
Zach Johnston

As for making all of these at once, well: do you have a good bar set up? Knowing that is the only way I can answer that question. It’s a lot of work to set up your space to make a lot of drinks at once. It was fine and maybe took me five minutes from top to bottom, but I’ve also worked in hardcore cocktails bars.

Moreover, I have the gear (good shakers, strainers, juicers, etc.) to make four cocktails at once. You can 100 percent do this with old jars with lids, as I mentioned above, but you need to make sure to work fast to keep the fidelity of each cocktail high before the ice breaks.

Still, if you make sure to get quality ingredients, have enough grit to shake four cocktails at once, and can do it all pretty quick before the ice starts melting, then, sure, make these at home. Experiment with a million flavor combinations. Have a great time. Or, maybe, just grab a flight the next time you go into your favorite Tex-Mex or Oaxacan joint and save each of these margaritas for when you want a single one at home. That’s the easier pick, to be sure!

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