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Make a mezcal margarita for a smoky spin on the classic! It’s tangy and smoke-forward, giving this popular cocktail a rich depth.

Mezcal margarita
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Want to take your margarita game to the next level? Might we introduce…this mezcal margarita. Adding the rich, smoky flavor of mezcal to a margarita is a no-brainer: it goes hand in hand with the tangy lime! One sip and both Alex and I were sold. If you love smoky flavors and can handle a bit of boozy punch in your drinks, you’ll fall hard for this margarita. (Like we did!)

Love mezcal cocktails? Make sure to try the Mezcal Negroni, Mezcal Sour, Mezcal Paloma, and Mezcal Mule.

What’s in this mezcal margarita

The mezcal margarita is a spin on our Classic Margarita, a 3 ingredient cocktail. The margarita is actually a classic alcoholic drink on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means that there’s an “official” definition of the margarita. The mezcal margarita simply adds mezcal, the smoky-flavored cousin of tequila. This drink is equal parts:

  • Tequila
  • Cointreau
  • Lime juice
  • Mezcal

Mezcal & tequila add depth and balance

Many mezcal margarita recipes use only mezcal and skip the tequila. Here’s the thing: a margarita with straight mezcal tastes very strong. As a lover of smoky flavors, even I was a bit overwhelmed by a straight mezcal drink.

So, Alex and I decided to go halfsies with this recipe. Split the difference with tequila and mezcal! You still have that classic margarita vibe with just the right amount of smoky mezcal flavor.

The skinny: what’s mezcal?

But what is mezcal? Mezcal is a type of alcohol made from the agave plant. Here’s an interesting fact: tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila. Tequila is made from only one type of agave plant (blue agave), but mezcal can be made from 11 different varieties of agave.

Here’s the major difference: for mezcal, the agave is cooked in pits in the ground (for tequila, it’s not). This is what gives it that signature smoky flavor! More with mezcal? Try Mezcal Paloma, Mezcal Negroni, and Mezcal Mule.

Mezcal margarita

Variations on this mezcal margarita: add spice!

A nice variation on this mezcal margarita is to add a little heat! Combine it with our Jalapeño Margarita to make a smoky and spicy variation. All you have to do is add 3 to 4 jalapeno pepper slices to the cocktail shaker when you’re mixing the drink. It adds a forward bit of heat that really compliments the smoke.

Margarita variations

There are countless ways to mix up a margarita! Here are a few more variations on how to make a margarita:

Mezcal margarita

When to serve a mezcal margarita

This mezcal margarita packs a huge punch! Because of the forward flavor, it’s great for cocktail nights or happy hour, so you can really enjoy the flavor of the drink. Or pair it with chips, salsa and guacamole. It works as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Mezcal margarita

Mezcal Margarita

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
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Make a mezcal margarita for a smoky spin on the classic! It’s tangy and smoke-forward, giving this popular cocktail a rich depth.


  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) mezcal
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) tequila blanco or reposado
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Cointreau
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt or flaky sea salt, for the rim
  • For the garnish: Lime circle


  1. Cut a notch in a lime wedge, then run the lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of flaky sea salt (or for a festive look, use Margarita Salt).
  2. Place the mezcal, tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with 4 ice cubes and shake until cold.
  3. Strain the margarita into the glass with the salted rim. Fill the glass with ice and serve.
  • Category: Cocktails
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan

More Latin-style cocktails

If you love Latin-style drinks, here are a few more to try:

  • Paloma Cocktail Combine tequila and grapefruit and you’ve got the classic Mexican paloma cocktail! Here’s how to make this tangy and refreshing drink.
  • Classic Mojito Here’s a classic mojito recipe, perfectly balanced with lime, rum and fresh mint! This iconic Cuban cocktail is refreshing and just sweet enough.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Nicola says:

    Thank you for not putting agave in your margarita! I always figure the Cointreau or triple sec should be sweet enough, but I keep seeing agave added as well. I figure go with the Tommy or go with a classic, but both is sweetness overkill. Anyway, I was also glad to see your recipe using tequila and mezcal, since I also love smoky flavours a lot, but wondered if all mezcal would be maybe too much, and overpower the lime. And, I love that you use the 2:1:1 ratio! Keeping it classic.
    Haha I guess I was just looking for recipes that agreed with my thought process, and I’m glad to find one!