Too Many Cooks: Our Favorite Tequila Cocktails

August  2, 2013

You'll be hearing from the staff at Food52 every week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more. 

Today: We're discussing our favorite tequila cocktails, brought to you by Patrón Tequila. Sign up for a chance to dine at the next Patrón Secret Dining Society.

Margarita on Food52

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Everybody has their cocktail of choice. Some like it fruity, others bitter, and others full of fragrant herbs. This week, we were feeling inspired by one spirit in particular, so we asked our team:

What's your favorite tequila cocktail?

Most of us leaned towards the margarita (you can't go wrong with a classic), though everyone has their own preferences: salt rims, crushed ice, hits of spice. Read on for all our answers, plus a couple of handy formulas for tequila cocktails. And then share your favorite in the comments!

Lemon Lime Margaritas on Food52

Maggie: I have to go margarita -- but I'm also dying to try something called All the King's Men.

Bryce: Jalapeño margarita, hands down. I also make a mean crushed ice margarita in ye olde blender. I'm also a fan of sipping tequila.

Christina: I'll have what she's having.

Michael: I think margaritas are just about perfect, but I also like to use añejo tequilas in place of whiskey in classic drinks. Tequila old fashioned, baby.

Old Fashioned from Food52

Kenzi: I'm with Michael. I'll go margarita, with flaky salt on the rim.

Amanda Li: +1 for margaritas.

Jennifer: Kristen introduced me to an East Village Mexican restaurant called Mercadito. I love their traditional margarita with lime and orange which you can add smoke to. It has this underlying smokey finish -- it will blow your mind!

Lindsay: Margarita -- rimmed with basil salt.

Gabriella: Margaritas, always. (All this talk about them makes me want one right now.)

Classic Guacamole on Food52

Emma: Margarita. I'm sorry for not being creative, but it's the best. Chips and guacamole on the side, please.

Lauren: A Patrón mojito with extra mint.

Merrill: I'm hopping on Lauren's tequila mojito train...

Marian: I like spicy tequila cocktails; they make me feel brave.

Horseradish Bloody Mary from Food52

MaddyBloody Maria -- a Bloody Mary with tequila. Extra spicy, please.

Jason: +1 Bloody Maria!

Kristen: This sour, please.

Brette: I'm a fan of the Paloma!

Amanda: +1 for the Paloma!

Allison: I'm really into spicy tequila cocktails these days -- especially ones that include habanero and ginger beer and candied ginger.

Hannah: I’m not much of a drinker -- but I wouldn’t pass on Tequila Lime Flank Steak Fajita Salad with Chile Lime Vinaigrette.

Sarah: How much will everyone judge me if I say tequila sunrise? The kind with OJ -- because it's got Vitamin C.

10 Salts to Know on Food52

And then, Karl and Michael had to break things down for us:

Karl: Here's how to make any citrus tequila drink:

1 shot tequila
4 tablespoons citrus juice 
1 shot of syrup (I've used simple syrup, maple syrup, hickory syrup, and honey diluted with hot water)
Salt the rim!

Michael: Getting even more abstract than Karl, the Margarita is an example of a New Orleans Sour (I think Gary "Gaz" Regan might have coined this term). Other members of this cocktail family are the Whiskey Sour, the Sidecar, and the Daiquiri. The standard ratios for any of these drinks is:

3 parts spirit
2 parts sour stuff
1 part sweet stuff


Margarita = tequila + lime + orange liqueur (salt rim)
Whiskey Sour = whiskey + lemon + simple syrup
Sidecar = cognac + lemon + orange liqueur (sugar rim)
Daiquiri = white rum + lime + simple syrup
??? = mezcal + verjus + honey syrup

You get the idea. But I digress...

Tell us: What tequila cocktail do you like best?

Secrets are no fun. Except for when they're exciting. Sign up for a chance to dine at the next Patrón Secret Dining Society -- you and three friends could get whisked away to a mystery destination for a weekend.

This article was brought to you by Patrón Tequila.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Menal
  • spnaron
  • Carly DeFilippo
    Carly DeFilippo
  • primalmex
  • Chris Hagan
    Chris Hagan
Emma Wartzman

Written by: Emma Wartzman


Menal November 14, 2013
"Green Smoke" at RN74 in Seattle. The flavor is simply amazing. I have to try to recreate it.
spnaron August 5, 2013
A Chile-Watermelon Margarita. For a party recently, I made a watermelon salad with chile, salt & lime. After a few drinks, we decided it would make a killer margarita base. We pureed the salad, added a little Patron and will never go back.
Carly D. August 5, 2013
If Mezcal counts, a Mezcal Negroni all the way. Otherwise, Rick Bayless' "perfect margarita" is pretty spectacular (I like adding a spiced rim).
primalmex August 5, 2013
I just discovered Patron Cafe and simply love it on with club soda on ice with lime
Chris H. August 5, 2013
Mezcal Negroni, all the way. If mezcal is unavailable, Lunazul Anejo makes a decent stand-in. Tequila gimlets are another go-to, especially in the warmer weather. And if you have some St. Germain on hand, that and tequila in equal proportions, along with a few squeezes of lemon, makes a surprisingly good shooter or, with the addition of some soda water, a cocktail.
Bonnie August 4, 2013
It has got to be fresh lime juice, it's the only way to go for a Margarita along with the tequila and Triple Sec. Plus, good old kosher salt, or even Cypress Flaked Salt. But, please no mixes or flavored salts. BTW, you have to try the Patron XO Cafe. It is so delicious!
Randi August 4, 2013
Salty Dog: Grapefruit Juice (preferably fresh squeezed), Tequila, Lime, Salted Rim
insecureepicure August 3, 2013
Tequilla is my alcohol of choice, nice buzz, no hangover. I have a drink I call the
"T" square (former graphic designer) Tequilla, tonic and two limes. It's kind of a margarita light.
walkie74 August 3, 2013
On a rough worknight, straight tequila (with a nod to mrslarkin). No more than three shots, preferably drunk over four or five hours, and maybe some salt if I have the energy.
Dr R. August 2, 2013
Jalapeño/Mango Margarita! Had my first one last night and I'm hooked!
ZombieCupcake August 2, 2013
Mint julep would have to be my favorite cocktail, but sometimes just having whiskey neat is the way to go.
mrslarkin August 2, 2013
Shots. Don't judge me.

Again, don't judge me, but I frequently buy the Costco margarita mix and it's not bad. When I make a pitcher of margaritas, I doctor the mix up with the juice of a couple extra limes, an orange, and a spoonful of turbinado.

Interestingly, the cashier at Costco told my husband to drizzle the mix on vanilla ice cream. Will have to try that!
Mike C. August 2, 2013
Real margarita! Fresh lime juice, tequila blanco, orange liqueur served up chilled!
AntoniaJames August 2, 2013
I'll take a Paloma, please, with my homemade pomelo ratafia instead of grapefruit juice. (Love the barely bitter edge it gives the drink.) ;o)