The Margarita is more than a classic cocktail; it is an essential cocktail. For more than half a century, the Margarita has held a position on bar menus all across the world. Countless variations have come in and out of fashion over the years. One, in particular, Tommy’s Margarita, has achieved lasting fame.
The Margarita, in its original form, came to be sometime in the mid 20th century. The recipe calls for tequila, fresh lime juice, and orange liqueur, served in a salt-rimmed glass. Today, it is common to find margaritas served frozen, on the rocks, neat, salt/no salt, with all sorts of flavors, and so on ad infinitum.
The precise origin and the person responsible for its conception are up for debate. Popular stories include a Texas socialite at a house party, a Mexican restaurant owner honoring a beloved showgirl, and a Tijuana bar’s tribute to actress Rita Hayworth.
When Margarita was introduced to the blender and later the frozen margarita machine, the ubiquitous cocktail came to be a staple and a global favorite. Now it is hard to imagine one sitting on a tropical beach or celebrating Cinco de Mayo without a frozen margarita in hand.
One of the most well-known iterations, Tommy’s Margarita, is becoming the version of choice to bartenders of all walks.
Tommy’s Mexican restaurant has been a San Francisco institution since 1965. They boast one of the world’s largest selections of tequila served alongside authentic Yucatecan cuisine. It remains a celebrated, family-owned establishment to this day as a local favorite and a tourist destination.
In the early 1990s, Julio Bermejo first mixed the variant that would become Tommy’s Margarita. It earned instant popularity among Tommy’s regulars and would be served at bars everywhere within a few years.
What is notable about Tommy’s Margarita is the omission of orange liqueur and the use of agave nectar, a natural sweetener derived from the same cactus from which tequila is distilled. The resulting drink is well-balanced, similar to the original recipe. Tommy’s restaurant prefers Herradura Silver as their house tequila, but any Blanco tequila is acceptable.
- 2 ounces of Blanco Tequila
- 1 ounce of fresh lime juice
- ½ ounce of agave nectar
- 1 lime wedge
- Coarse salt garnish
- Run a lime wedge around the mouth of a rock’s glass. Place salt in a dish and roll the glass into the salt to coat the entire rim. Set the glass aside.
- Combine tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar into a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake vigorously and strain into the salted glass over fresh ice.
Variations and Tricks
Substitute Blanco tequila for a Reposado or Anejo. Use Mezcal for a smokey flavor.
Recapture some of the original orange flavors while avoiding the syrup sweetness of orange liqueur by adding a couple of dashes of orange bitters.
Many bartenders argue against serving margaritas frozen, but hey, the people love it. Preferably, Tommy’s Margarita is served on the rocks.