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The Perfect Tequila For Your Margarita

Everything you need to know to make your own version of America's favorite cocktail
Photo courtesy Socorro Tequila

There are as many margarita recipes as there are people who said they invented it, and with National Margarita Day upon us, you won't run out of options to try all of them.

But what if you want to try your own recipe at home? Local Profile spoke with Pablo Antinori, co-founder of Socorro a Texas-based tequila brand, who shared some tips about choosing a good tequila for the perfect margarita. Stay right until the end to get an expert's favorite margarita recipe.

How have you seen the culture of the margarita change in Texas over the last decade?

It has changed, definitely. Similarly to the food industry, more and more people care about what they're consuming and putting into their bodies. So people have naturally become more cognizant of using healthier ingredients in their recipes. The same thing is what we're currently witnessing in the liquor industry. Consumers now understand the difference between mixto tequila and 100% blue weber agave. In 2004, I was serving margaritas behind the bar at a restaurant called Abuelos. I had never heard the phrase "skinny margarita," but nowadays, low-sugar tequila cocktails are the number one asked-for cocktail when ordering a margarita.

Does the base tequila impact the margarita's flavor? If so, how? 

Of course. As I mentioned earlier, there's a huge difference between a mixto tequila and 100% blue weber agave, not only in taste profile but also in how it will make you feel the next morning. Mixto tequilas are 51% agave sugars and 49% sugarcane or corn sugars, while 100% blue weber agave has naturally occurring sugar and is 100% from the agave. Do yourself a favor and avoid mixto tequilas. You'll notice the difference when you drink them side by side. All 100% blue weber agave tequilas are great whether they're lowland or highland. If you're looking for a margarita with a more vegetal, pepper flavor profile, choose a lowland tequila, but if you're craving more of one with sweeter, tropical and citrus notes, definitely drink a highland tequila. Our Socorro Tequila is from the highlands of Jalisco. 

What should people keep in mind when selecting a tequila to make margaritas?

I recommend consumers look for value in terms of price point and quality of the product, as well as flavor profiles. There is a misconception that you shouldn't use a great tequila in a mixed drink like a margarita. However, using wagyu beef to make a hamburger, wouldn't you create a delicious burger? The same goes for tequila. Use that delicious tequila for a great cocktail. Socorro Tequila offers that elevated taste profile while not breaking the bank. 

Have you designed any of your expressions with margaritas in mind? 

Yes, we have. As a newer brand on the market, we make a delicious tequila on its own, but everyone in the spirits industry knows you cannot depend on consumers to drink products solely neat. Our job is to make our tequilas relatable to the cocktail world, so we can be successful in the restaurant industry. For example, our Blanco lends itself to amazing palomas and is the best ranch water Texas can get. Our Reposado plays amazingly in Tommy's margarita and espresso martinis (with tequila of course) and our AƱejo goes perfectly in old fashioneds and Cadillac margaritas.

In conclusion, avoid mixto tequilas. Drink what you like in the cocktails you prefer. And, of course, support local products.

Enjoy Pablo's perfect margarita recipe aka a Tommy's Margarita:

  • 2 oz Socorro Blanco
  • .75 oz agave nectar
  • .75 oz fresh lime juice
  • Garnish with a tajin rim