How do you make a Better Blue Margarita? The Blue Curacao Margarita is a popular variation on the classic Margarita, but you can improve on it by borrowing from another famous Margarita recipe: Tommy’s Margarita.
The Margarita is the most consumed cocktail in America, so there’s literally hundreds of margarita variations seeking to improve on the classic 3-ingredient formula.
My Better Blue Margarita combines two classic cocktail variations to create the best blue Margarita recipe that’s easy to make at home.
The classic Margarita recipe has 3 ingredients: tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur like triple sec. It’s a sour cocktail and follows the golden ratio for sours, with the triple sec acting as the sweetener.
The ordinary blue margarita swaps the triple sec for blue Curacao, another orange-flavored liqueur with an artificial blue color. While both liqueurs add some sugar to the drink to balance the acid from the lime juice, the resulting Margarita is still too sour for many people.
Another fantastic margarita variation is Tommy’s Margarita, created in 1990 by Julio Bernejo for Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco. In this recipe, the orange liqueur is dropped entirely and replaced with agave nectar.
We are going to combine these two recipes to create a Better Blue Margarita.
Better Blue Margarita Recipe
Better Blue Margarita
- 1 oz Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz Agave Nectar
- 1/2 oz Blue Curacao
- 2 oz Tequila
- Margarita Salt (optional)
- Squeeze 1 oz of lime juice from fresh limes
- Salt the rim of your serving glass
- Add all cocktail ingredients to shaker with ice cubes
- Shake vigorously until chilled, about 15-20 seconds
- Double-strain the cocktail into your serving glass
- I squeeze the limes through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pulp and seeds prior to measuring the lime juice.
- Salt the rim of your serving glass before adding ice and mixing the cocktail.
- When you pour, double-strain the cocktail to remove any ice shards from the shaking.
Detailed Instructions and Notes
Juicing the limes
For the best tasting margarita, always juice fresh limes within minutes of using them.
I cut the pointy tips off my limes so the hand juicer spreads the pressure over the whole surface of the lime, not just the tip. I highly recommend the Chef’n citrus juicers because the geared mechanism exerts more pressure on the lime than you can do with your hands alone. The Chef’n juicers come in several sizes, but I just bought the biggest one and use it for limes, lemons, and oranges.
I like to squeeze my limes through a fine mesh strainer when I’m juicing them. This removes any pulp and seeds, making for accurate measurements.
Salting the Rim
A signature feature of the Margarita is the salted rim of the glass. I’ve experimented with everything from table salt to kosher salt, and I’m going to recommend you buy some Margarita salt from Amazon or your local grocery store. Kosher salt is good in a pinch, but it’s very salty so don’t use too much.
To salt the rim of your glass, pour salt on a plate and spread it around on the surface. Take one of your lime halves that you just juiced, and rub it around the top and outside rim of an empty glass. Then turn the glass upside down and swirl it around in the salt.
After salting the rim, add a few ice cubes to your glass. Letting the ice “warm up” while you mix the cocktail ensures that the ice doesn’t crack when you pour the drink.
Mixing the Margarita
Add the ingredients to your shaker. Add the most expensive ingredient last – in this case, the tequila. Always adding the most expensive ingredient last will save you in the inevitable situation where you make a mistake. Sooner or later, you’ll get a measurement wrong and dump too much of one ingredient into your shaker. With this trick, you can dump it out and start over without wasting your precious tequila.
After adding the ingredients, fill the shaker 3/4 full of ice cubes and shake 15-20 seconds until the Margarita is ice cold. Then double-strain into your glass by pouring through your Hawthorne strainer and a fine mesh strainer to remove the ice shards and any remaining lime pulp.
Ingredients and Substitutuions
Tequila is the star of any Margarita. Make sure you use only 100% agave tequila – if it doesn’t say “100% agave” then it’s been mixed with as much as 49% sugar cane alcohol, artificial flavoring, and other junk.
For this Blue Margarita, I’m using Hornitos Playa – a 100% agave “white” or “blanco” tequila. This means it hasn’t been aged like a Repasado or Anejo.
Another popular brand I like is Herradura. When I’m on a budget, I pick up a handle of Lunazul Blanco, and it’s great for the price.
Blue Curacao is an orange liqueur made from the bitter peel of the Curacao orange. The blue color is artificial, but it’s that color that makes the Blue Margarita and other signature blue cocktails.
There are many brands available, though they differ in quality. Look for brands with a higher Alcohol by Volume (ABV). Blue Curacao can range from 15% ABV to 25% ABV.
I am using Bols Blue Curacao, which has the higher 25% ABV. I think it tastes good and it’s my go-to brand for blue cocktails.
Agave Nectar is a sweetener made by boiling sap from the agave plant – the same plant that gives us tequila!
Agave Nectar is the “secret ingredient” from Tommy’s Margarita that makes the Better Blue Margarita better than other Blue Curacao Margaritas. The agave nectar has a delicate sweetness that doesn’t linger on the tongue, allowing the lime juice to add that refreshing sour quality to the cocktail.
I haven’t tried many brands of agave nectar. I tried Madhava Agave Nectar because of their focus on purity. Madhava is USDA Organic, non-GMO, vegan, and gluten free in a BPA-free bottle. It’s harvested in Mexico from blue weber agave plants and tastes great, so I haven’t compared with other brands. Sometimes, when you find a winner you just stick with it.
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