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rye whiskey, social hour, tom macy, cocktail, classic cocktail




  • 2 oz blanco tequila

  • 1 oz Cointreau

  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice

  • ¼ oz simple syrup - or to taste

  • salt for rim, optional


Combine all ingredients in a shaker, fill with ice.  Shake for 8-10 seconds and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice that has been rimmed with salt (optional), or serve straight up if you prefer.  No garnish necessary, though a lime wheel or wedge is common.



If you make a Margarita, let me see!  

Tag a photo with #socialhourcocktails on Instagram.


The Margarita is one of, if not the, most popular cocktails in the United States, and it might be the most butchered as well.  We’ve all experienced the cavernous disparity between margaritas that are bright, fresh and delicious and those that are cloyingly sweet and synthetic tasting.  


Making a great Margarita doesn't take much, just quality ingredients measured into balance.  This means 100% agave tequila (very important), fresh squeezed lime juice and a high quality orange liqueur, Cointreau is what I’ve always used.  The recipe below is my favorite what I’ve found people generally enjoy the most, though I’m fully aware that Margarita tastes vary, particularly when it comes to sweetness/tartness.  So feel free to tweak this to your liking.  If you want this to be more tart, pull back on the simple syrup portion, and keep the other ingredient proportions the same.



(Slightly) Less Boozy Version

Admittedly, my Margarita recipe is very strong.  Between the tequila and Cointreau, which is 40% ABV, you’re looking at 3 whole ounces of full proof spirit in a drink that’s dangerously easy to guzzle down. Still, it's the recipe I recommend.  What can I say? I like to drink.  If you want to dial it back a notch (understandable, and admirable) try this recipe:


  • 1½ oz blanco tequila

  • ¾ oz Cointreau

  • scant ¾ oz fresh lime juice

  • teaspoon simple syrup


Prepare as above.


Tommy’s Margarita

A Tommy’s Margarita is basically a tequila Gimlet, using agave nectar or syrup (they're essentially the same thing) in place of sugar.   It was created by Julio Bermejo of Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco in the early 1990s.  Many tequila connoisseurs actually prefer this version to the original, the thinking being that replacing the orange liqueur allows more of the tequila’s natural flavor to come through. This argument is strengthened by the fact that there is more quality tequila available now than ever before.  


To be sure, this is very tasty drink, though I prefer the traditional version.  To me, the orange flavor is part of what a Margarita is.  But to each her own, if you do go the Tommy’s route, be sure to get light agave nectar, the darker styles have a stronger caramel flavor which can be a little overpowering.  You can read more about agave nectar/syrup here.


  • 2 oz blanco tequila

  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice

  • heavy ½ oz light agave syrup 


Prepare as above, salt rim optional.

Margarita Variations

Here are a few of my favorite Margarita variations, though pretty much any drink with tequila and lime juice could be considered a relative of the Margarita.  The possibilities are boundless.  The easiest way to riff on a Margarita is to simply add a muddled fresh ingredient, like a fruit, vegetable or herb.  When adding fruit I usually like to do away with the Cointreau altogether and just use ¾ ounce or so of simple syrup as the sweetener.  This way the fruit's new flavor will come through more clearly without being impeded by orange, see the Strawberry Margarita as an example.   




Tommy's Margarita
Margarita Variations
Watermelon Syrup
Strawberry Margarita
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