This podcast series is in collaboration with PATRÓN Tequila, the world’s No. 1 super-premium tequila that is passionately handcrafted in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. To learn more about the PATRÓN, visit PATRÓNTequila.com.

In Part 3 of this six-part series, host Zach Geballe chats with Stephen Halpin, trade education and mixology manager at PATRÓN about the world’s most popular tequila drink, the Margarita. The two chat about the drink’s fabled history, Halpin’s ideal Margarita recipe, and the best bottles of PATRÓN to use in your cocktail.

Halpin also provides pro tips for riffing on the drink and batching delicious Margs for larger groups.

Tune in to learn more.

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Zach Geballe: Welcome to Hablando de Tequila. I’m your host, Zach Geballe. Throughout this six-part series, we’ll explore the history, people, culture, and future of tequila. On today’s episode, I’m joined by Stephen Halpin, trade education and mixology manager for PATRÓN Tequila, as we dive into that most iconic of tequila cocktails, the Margarita. We discuss the history, the making of that perfect cocktail, and some fun variations. Stephen, thank you so much for your time.

Stephen Halpin: Absolutely, Zach. Thank you so much for having me.

Z: My pleasure. I have to say, you might have gotten the best episode, Stephen. I’m not sure about this, they’re all great, of course. But the Margarita is not only an iconic cocktail, not only a great cocktail, but a great story. First, let’s start with your story. Stephen, what’s your background? How did you come to be working for PATRÓN Tequila and a mixology expert?

S: I’ve been a bartender since I was 16. I grew up in Dublin, Ireland. It was legal to be a bartender at that age over there. And then I came to the States for college and bartended all the way through it. It took me a while to realize that that was where my true passion was. It was always a way of paying the bills and paying off college and all of that. But I really got passionate about it when I moved to New Zealand after school. I got to work in a craft cocktail bar over there and really caught the bug. From there I moved to Dallas, Texas, and that’s where I live now. I worked at a few bars before I had the opportunity to, ironically, be part of a competition with PATRÓN called Margarita of the Year. I created a cocktail for that competition, and I had the opportunity to go down to Mexico and see the Hacienda and see where PATRÓN is made. And again, I caught the bug. I came back and could not stop talking about PATRÓN, the things that I got to see down there, and how there was a story to be told down there that not many people were realizing. PATRÓN does a lot of things that are very, very special, for sure. After that, I started working on some cocktails for them as a freelance thing, and then a job was created for me. And I’ve been with them now since May of 2016. So 5 and a half years or so.

Z: Very cool. Now let’s get into this history of the Margarita. So there’s a caveat before we get started; I’m sure you’ll mention this too. Like many classic cocktails, there’s a lot of haziness around exactly who created it and when it was created. But there’s a great story. For the listeners, can you sketch out what we believe to be true about the origins of the Margarita?

S: To touch on your point before, I’m really happy to be telling the story of the Margarita. It’s not like I’m trying to introduce you to an obscure cocktail that you’ve never heard of before. Pretty much everyone knows the Margarita is now the most popular cocktail in the world. It had been the No. 1 cocktail in the U.S. for a long time, but it’s now expanded out to being the No. 1 cocktail in the world. We definitely know that PATRÓN played a huge part in that. But to take it back to the very beginning, as you mentioned, the story gets a little bit hazy. We should start with some of the characters that we should introduce. In 1873, we see the first mention of the Whiskey Daisy cocktail. It was invented in New York near the stock exchange, and that was basically where this origin story begins. The Whiskey Daisy gets passed by the Gin Daisy, and we see that mentioned in cocktail books starting around 1913 or so. A Daisy is essentially a mix of gin, lemon, and an orange liqueur. That’s the mix of it. At that point, tequila is not even really on the map. The very first cocktail book ever was produced in 1862, and we don’t see a tequila cocktail pop up in any book until 1937. That’s when you see a new character, the Picador. The Picador is probably something that most people have not heard of. It’s the exact same ingredients as a classic Margarita: orange liqueur, lime, and tequila, but in equal parts. I don’t know where it came from. It’s not bad, but it’s not delicious by any means. So it definitely needed some refining, and I think that’s where the Margarita started to step in. What else happened? Around that time, you’ve got a couple of things that were really going on. You had gone through Prohibition from 1920 to 1933; you also had World War II from 1939 to 1945. The golden era of cocktails were right before that, where lots of cocktails were invented prior to that point. And then, you had a lull. During those bad times, you had a lot of distilleries that were either destroyed through World War II or had shut down because of Prohibition. One thing we know, no matter what happens in the world, we’re definitely going to be drinking. That left a vacuum, and I guess it created an opportunity for tequila to start coming in. 1941 is really when we see a rise in tequila starting to cross the border and coming into the U.S. in a more popular way.

Z: You have this increasing exposure in the United States to tequila, and this existing rubric for citrus juice plus orange liqueur plus spirit. We’ll get more into this later, how exactly all three of those ingredients are essential. Is part of the story of this cocktail not just the increased presence of tequila in the United States, but is there anything about a general increased American interest in Mexico more broadly?

S: A lot of that stems from the fact that we know that a lot of bartenders during Prohibition left to go to Europe or head south and go down to Mexico. That’s where that influence came from. When they were able to come back, obviously they brought this newfound spirit with them. But you also had people who were wealthy enough to be able to travel and would go down to Mexico to get their fix and come across different cocktails. They were discovering this new spirit, and I think that plays a big part, too.

Z: Gotcha. So now we’re in this post-World War II era. Tequila is a little bit on the rise. How do we get from there to the world’s most popular cocktail?

S: We know that the cocktail originated somewhere between the late ’30s and early ’40s. But the thing to understand is that it’s not until 1955 that people start to research where this cocktail originated from. It’s at least a decade afterwards that they’re starting to ask the questions about how this came to be. Again, it gets hazy, and there’s definitely some emerging characters. In 1939, there was a bar called Tale o’ the Cock, and that was an overwhelmingly popular bar for making a cocktail called the Margarita. They served it on their menu, and it was a man named Vern Underwood who was a liquor importer who noticed that that bar was selling more tequila than the rest of his accounts combined. So, we know that the place’s claim to fame was that they created the Margarita. It was a man named Henry John Durlesser who created that cocktail, but he wasn’t interviewed until 1955 about it. At first, he claimed he created it in 1939, and then he came back to another magazine when he was talking to Bon Appétit and said it was actually 1936. His story is, he was trying to replicate a cocktail for a lady that had had it in Mexico. Her name was Margaret, so he named it after her. That’s his story of how he claims it came to be. It checks out, but the specific date is unclear, and there were a lot of other people doing the same thing. The next character to introduce would be the jazz singer Peggy Lee. At a studio called Santa Cruz Studio in Galveston, Texas, this cocktail was created for her. Essentially, it was a twist on a Sidecar, which is brandy with orange liqueur and lemon. The bartender was making a twist on that cocktail, and the guitarist that was working there, Dave Barbour, named it Margarita. Peggy was the nickname for someone named Margaret, and he gave it more of a Latin twist. But he said that happened in 1948. But we know that the first advertisements for the Margarita started in 1948, so that story doesn’t really check out.

Z: There’s so much fascinating history here, and I would love to have time to get into all of it. Let’s take one or two more key critical points along the way and look at them. We’ve got this early origin story that’s a little bit murky, it’s a little bit unclear who created it. You already got at this a little, but who popularized the Margarita, regardless of who invented it? How does it enter American consciousness in a wholesale way?

S: Tale o’ the Cock was the one who created it, or claimed to have created it. Regardless of if they did or not, they are definitely responsible for spreading the word. That was where we started to see it getting more and more popular. It started in the mid-1950s. That’s when it started to go national. Instead of seeing it in states bordering Mexico, like California or Texas, you start to see it throughout the U.S. The next step for it would be the creation of the frozen Margarita. I live in Dallas, Texas, and that’s where this story kicks off. By the 1960s and 1970s, the Margarita was everywhere, and so are frozen drinks. Everyone is putting cocktails into a blender and serving them on ice. It’s a new trend, and everyone’s doing it. Prior to this, wherever the Margarita was being made, it was always served in a coupe glass or Martini cocktail-style glass, and it was always served up. It was not served up in the rocks at this point. We don’t really start to see it being served on the rocks until the late ’60s. So that’s something to keep in mind, and it’s definitely my favorite way of enjoying the cocktail still. But we’ll get into that a little bit later on. In this bar in Dallas, at Mariano’s, they were famous for their Margaritas. Bartenders there would make 250 to 300 of them a night, single serving, making them in a blender, over and over and over again. One night, the man who ran that bar walked out after a long shift and went to a 7-Eleven and saw the Slurpee machine. The Slurpee machine had been invented two years prior to that in 1969. And I guess he had an aha moment: “Here’s a frozen beverage coming out of this machine. I serve frozen beverages; I need to figure out how to make those two things work.” He was able to acquire one, modified it slightly to be able to make the Margarita freeze inside of it and still be able to be served. And thus, the frozen Margarita machine was born. That original one from his bar is in the Smithsonian Museum now, to this day.

Z: Wow. Very cool. That definitely strikes as like, “Wait a second here. Here’s an easier way to do this.” I can imagine if you’re making 300 of them, it becomes very important.

S: What we’ve laid the groundwork for is, it’s a hazy background. There’s a lot of pieces that do make sense, but what we can figure out is that tequila cocktails were popular in Mexico from bartenders that moved down there at that point and were creating tequila cocktails. We saw that rise post-Prohibition and post-World War II. One of the cocktails that was popular at that time, that I mentioned earlier, was the Daisy. A Daisy was typically made with gin, lemon, and an orange liqueur. If you are wealthy enough to be able to travel down to Mexico, and you go down and you’re looking for your favorite drink, the Daisy, you ask the bartender to make it, they introduce you to a new spirit, tequila. You decide, “All right, let’s make a Daisy, but let’s switch it up.” That’s something that bartenders do all the time, take twists and riffs on classic cocktails. It makes sense to me that a bartender would switch out the tequila for the gin, and would switch out lime for lemon, which they would have had in plentiful amounts, and then use an orange liqueur. When you want to take it one step further, the Spanish name for Daisy is Margarita. To me, that is the absolute be-all, end-all. No matter what famous Margarita pops up in history, that one is the one that just makes the most sense.

Z: It’s the simplest explanation which doesn’t require one person somehow inventing a drink — obviously people do invent drinks, It’s not unheard of — but then also promulgating throughout drinks culture. We’ve got some fascinating history. Let’s bring things into the present and talk about, first and foremost, the classic structure of the cocktail. If I were to say to you, “I would like a Margarita,” what would you make? What goes in the shaker or glass, and in what proportions?

S: Our classic Margarita is going to be made with PATRÓN Silver. That’s the best version, as far as I’m concerned. The classic is always going to be the hero. For me, it’s always going to be an ounce and a half of PATRÓN Silver, 1 ounce of Citrónge Orange, three-quarters of an ounce of lime juice, and then finally the modifier of adding a little bit of sweetness. So anywhere between a quarter of an ounce and a half an ounce, I like my cocktails a little bit on the sweeter side, especially citrus ones. Just to balance out the tartness. I’ll go about half an ounce, but I’ll usually ask someone what way they like it, if they like it more on the drier side, then I’ll take it down to a quarter-ounce. But that’s everything that you need. Then key steps: packing that shaker with ice, getting it as cold as you can as quickly as you can, and shaking it up nice and hard. I like the cocktails served up. I like to go back to that classic way of doing it. So I take a coupe or a Martini cocktail glass and strain it over the top. The options would be adding salt on the rim. If someone likes it that way, then I would do it. I’ll add a pinch of salt right into the Margarita before I shake it to give that consistent salinity all the way through the cocktail. Every single drop is going to be the exact same, instead of getting a clump of salt or running out of it on the rim. It’s great from beginning to end.

Z: I want to look at each of these ingredients in isolation for a minute as we talk about this, and then we’ll dive into some variations. First and foremost, tequila is the most important element. You mentioned that PATRÓN Silver is going to be, for you, the benchmark for making this cocktail. Why a silver or blanco tequila as opposed to maybe a version with some age? When you’re looking at a tequila more generally, what in that category are you looking for to ensure that you’re getting the best possible Margarita?

S: Silver tequila is just going to be the cleanest expression. PATRÓN Silver has all of the things that play well to make a great Margarita. One of the key notes that you’re always going to get when you smell and taste PATRÓN Silver is that fresh roasted agave. Right after that is going to be bright citrus notes of lime, and then a hint of black pepper. All of those things go really, really well in a Margarita. It gives it all of the body that you’re going to need.

Z: Specifically looking at an unaged expression, we’ll talk a little bit about using some of the more aged expressions in Margarita or Margarita variants, but why is it that you feel like that style of tequila is the best?

S: An unaged tequila like PATRÓN Silver is going to have that clean, crisp quality to it that is going to make the best Margarita. PATRÓN Reposado makes a fantastic Margarita, it’s just going to have a slight difference to it. That has gone into a barrel for about three to four months, just rested, that’s what reposado means. So it’s just resting in there, it’s mellowed out a little bit, and it’s picked up some of those characteristics that you would get from a barrel — those vanilla notes with slight hints of caramel. Those are subtle body notes that will come out in your Margarita. Really what you’ll find is that it’s just got a little bit more body. It’s not as crisp and to the point; it’s a little bit more well rounded. So we call that one the perfect Margarita. With PATRÓN Silver, it’s going to be the classic, and with PATRÓN Reposado, it’s going to be the perfect one.

Z: You mentioned Citrónge, and obviously the orange liqueur is an important part of this cocktail as well. What exactly are we looking at here?

S: Citrónge is a great orange liqueur that we make. It is made from the orange essence from Mexico. We have this belief in everything that we try and do as far as cocktail creation; if it grows together, it goes together. Limes grow right alongside agaves down in Mexico, and the same thing with that citrus coming from there. It’s going to lift it up. It’s literally made to complement the perfect Margarita. And that’s exactly what it does.

Z: Very cool. With lime juice, you mentioned the “what grows together, goes together” component. For a lot of people who are going to be approaching this cocktail at home, they may not be growing limes. So they’re working with store-bought limes or some kind of pre-juiced situation. Why don’t you give us your ideal scenario for lime juice, and then maybe some reasonable accommodations for people who don’t happen to live in lime-growing climates?

S: Absolutely. For me, fresh is best. If you are making a Margarita, the best quality that you can possibly do is fresh squeeze your own juice. One of the things that I really love to do, if I’m making them one at a time, I love an elbow juicer. It’s a juicer that opens up, has two handles to it, you put half a lime inside of it, and you basically squeeze it and turn it inside out. That’s different from what we would call Sunkist juicers, where you just hold down, it spins, and kind of tears up the inside. The difference with that elbow juicer is it’s also pressing out the zest. So you’ll get some of those oils, and it really does lift up that Margarita, especially the aromas. That’s absolutely the best way. The next best would be a place that can freshly squeeze it for you. It may have sat there for a day or so. Usually, they’re pretty good about fresh-squeezing it on a daily basis, but that’s going to be the next best. After that, your options start to step down. You’ll have pasteurized juice, which is a little bit more shelf-stable. Most of the time, that’s going to be kept in the refrigerated section. That’s going to be the next best, and then more shelf-stable juice that sits on the shelf in the grocery store and can last months, if not years. That’s going to be the next option. Not the best, definitely not what I would be recommending to do. We’re lucky enough to live in a time where limes are readily, easily available. That’s going to be the best bet all the time. You don’t even need a juicer as long as you’re just taking it, cutting it in half, squeezing it out, and just measuring it. That’s the one thing that I would say, the Margarita is all about balance. You don’t just want to say that it’s going to be a half a lime or a whole lime every time, because that varies for sure. What I would recommend is just sticking with that three-quarters of an ounce of lime juice, and it’s going to give you a perfect Margarita every time.

Z: I should have asked this before when you’re talking about building the cocktail. Do you double-strain a Margarita? Do you like to get all the pulp and everything else out of it? Is that an essential part of the drink to you?

S: If I’m serving up in a coupe glass, I do. Just because it leaves you a nice, clean glass at the end. If I’m serving it on the rocks, I don’t really focus too much on that. For those who don’t know, double-straining would be that you would have your strainer over your shaker, and then you would have an additional strainer that you would be pouring into, more like a tea strainer, only bigger. And you would be pouring through that. The original strainer is keeping back the ice and part of the pulp, maybe. But then the fine strainer is going to take out all the rest and leave you with a clean Margarita.

Z: You mentioned salt, and I love that tip of adding a little bit of salt into the shaker itself. That’s definitely something I do at home when I make my Margaritas because I like that salty note without having to deal with salting a rim. That said, if you do like a salted rim, do you have a good technique for that?

S: If I know someone loves it, I will take half a lime and I’ll take their glass and I’ll wipe it all the way around on the outside. I’ll have a plate of kosher salt and will roll the outside of that glass, pressing it in and getting that salt to stick onto the outside. What I don’t like to see is where someone takes a glass, dips it into a syrup or into juice, and then dips it into the salt. You’re going to get salt on the inside of the rim. It’s going to get into your cocktail. It’s just going to change the balance of what you were looking to do. That salt won’t have been shaken through, so you might get all of that salt that’s been sitting at the bottom just in the last sip. That’s not desirable; not the best way to do it. One other pro tip that I would say is if you’re serving these, maybe you make up a pitcher of Margaritas, which is a fantastic option to be able to do. If you’re going to bring out to serve your guests, if you chose not to add salt to the batch, you could half-rim each of your glasses. And then your guests can drink out of whichever side they prefer.

Z: It can go salty or not salty, depending on their own preference. Very cool. Let’s talk a little bit more about the classic formulation with some of the more aged expressions of tequila. Then we’ll talk about some Margarita variants. You mentioned that you have the perfect Margarita with reposado. Do you change anything in terms of the ratios? Let’s say you did want to use an añejo instead, if that’s your preferred flavor profile for tequila or you just want to give it a try. For someone who wants a classic Margarita format, but is going to use one of these other expressions of PATRÓN, is there any they should think about when they’re building those cocktails?

S: The most important part is starting with a high-quality tequila. Silver and reposado interchange fairly easily. I normally would steer away from using añejo in a Margarita. I find that there are other cocktails that it suits better. But there’s nothing wrong with it, if you want to try and want a little bit more of that barrel characteristic to go through there. I do find that that ratio pretty much stays the same: that ounce and a half, 1 ounce, three-quarters. The most important part is using 100 percent de agave tequila. Every tequila that PATRÓN uses is made from 100 percent de agave. If we take it back to the story of where we were talking about that frozen Margarita, that gave rise to a problem as far as tequila was concerned. That frozen Margarita machine and this rise in the popularity of the cocktail meant that there was an immediate strain on how much tequila was needed to come into the U.S. You have to keep in mind that the Blue Weber agave, which is the only type of agave that can be used to make tequila, takes about five to seven years to grow. If you haven’t planned for some sudden boom in the cocktail world, then you were just ticking along at your normal progress. Suddenly, you’re met with this increased demand and no real way out. So the regulatory body for tequila decided that they were going to change the rules of tequila. They would keep tequila where it just had the name of tequila, but they were going to change that you had to only have 51 percent of agave and 49 percent of the rest of it could be any other sugar. Essentially, you were able to double your production for half the cost. They also introduced 100 percent de agave tequila. That was where no other sugars could be added into it. It has a lot tighter laws to it. It couldn’t be shipped out in bulk. It had to be bottled in Mexico inside of that specific region of Jalisco and a few surrounding states. It was much harder to make a 100 percent de agave tequila. Throughout the ’80s, we see a rise in those tequilas that were 51 percent and 49 percent. We refer to them as a “mixto,” that’s the nickname that those get. It would just be tequila without the 100 percent de agave on there. That gave rise to that type of spirit entering into America. We had about 30 brands that were coming into the U.S. in the ’80s, and about three of those were going to be 100 percent de agave. 1989 is when PATRÓN was born from seeing that opportunity. Making that in that really great way led to the boom in tequila. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that tequila would not be as popular as it is right now if it wasn’t for PATRÓN, and that handcrafted quality tequila coming in and showing people what tequila should taste like. After that point, you can literally track it through the years as PATRÓN gains more popularity and starts to spread out throughout the U.S. You start to see that 100 percent de agave takes over as the No. 1 seller, whereas before it was definitely the mixto that was more popular. That’s just to bring it back. What you’re looking for anytime that you’re making a cocktail or a Margarita, you want to know what you’re putting into it. If you’re going to be hand-squeezing limes, you’re going to be going out to the store to get all of these ingredients, prep, batch, and do all of that stuff. You better be using good-quality tequila. It’s going to lift up that perfect, crisp taste of the Margarita. And 100 percent de agave PATRÓN is definitely going to be the best way.

Z: Let’s talk a little bit about some variations on the Margarita that people might be familiar with. It’s so popular that, maybe when I asked you how to build a Margarita, people might be surprised that you didn’t give the recipe for a Tommy’s Margarita. How does that vary, and do you have a preferred formulation for that drink?

S: Tommy’s Margarita was created in a bar in San Francisco, by a man named Julio Bermejo. For most people, it’s the most popular version of the Margarita. It’s become a twist on that classic of using PATRÓN Silver as your base and then instead of using an orange liqueur, you’re going to use agave nectar and lime juice. And that’s it. If you go to Tommy’s and you see them do it, they add it all into a blender, but they don’t blend it. They just use the handle on the outside of the blender to give it a shake and a swirl. They combine everything together and pour it right into the glass.

Z: Ratio-wise, are we looking at something similar to classic formulation?

S: You’ll want to bump up your tequila a little bit more. For this, you can use 2 ounces PATRÓN Silver or PATRÓN Reposado. Then, it’s going to be 1 ounce of fresh lime juice and then half an ounce of agave nectar. Again, the sweetness is where you can modify it. Stick with the ratios for the rest of it, but you can modify that sweetness by using less or more agave nectar. I would start with a quarter of an ounce and bump it up to a half an ounce, depending on how sweet you like it.

Z: Would you prefer to serve that up, or do you serve that on the rocks?

S: That one’s going to be served on the rocks. They’re going to take it, and they’re going to shake it all together and then pour everything in. If I’m making a cocktail at home, I want to get it as cold as I can, as quickly as I can, and then I want to keep it cold. So I always strain the shaking ice onto fresh ice. Then, you’ve got a cold beverage going onto cold ice in a glass, and it’s going to stay cold way longer. I said “cold” a lot right there.

Z: It’s an important part of the cocktail. What are some other variants that people might see out in the wild? I definitely went through a Cadillac Margarita phase. There’s the Bartender’s Margarita. Can you walk through a couple of those? They feel like ’80s relics to some extent, although maybe not as extreme as the frozen Margarita. Although that’s also having a comeback.

S: Those are the two that I would think are the most popular twists. Most of the time, if you’re making a frozen Margarita, you’re making two of them. You’re making it for someone else along the way. So we would take that recipe and double it. We would take 4 ounces of PATRÓN Silver, an ounce and a half of Citrónge Orange, and 1 ounce of lime juice. You don’t need it as a tart for this, but we add in half an ounce of fresh-squeezed orange juice and 1 ounce of agave syrup. You want to bump up the sweetness on this a lot more. Add all of that together into a blender, add in two cups of ice, and blend it all up until it’s nice and smooth, and consume right away. I’ve got to admit, I’m not a fan of the other one. I guess growing up in Ireland, salt and pepper is about as spicy as we make things. I live in Texas, but I’m not used to the spicy world here. I’ve definitely made tons of Spicy Margaritas. It’s just about adding in a little bit of jalapeño. There are a couple of ways that you can do it. You could infuse your PATRÓN Silver by adding in a jalapeño, slicing it up. If you just want the greenness of that jalapeño to be added in, then you would remove all of the seeds and all of the white part from it, and add that in. It only takes about a day. Or if you want it spicy, cut the whole thing up, drop it in there and allow it to infuse. I would start tasting it around eight hours after you’ve started the infusion. When it gets to the spice level that you want to be at, then go ahead and strain everything off and stop that infusion. If you want to make it a little bit more simple, what you can do is also just take a ring of jalapeño, drop it into the bottom of a shaker, and muddle it. You can use a wooden muddler or if you don’t even have a muddler at home, use a hot sauce bottle. Press that down to be able to press out all of the heat from that and allow it to be able to absorb up the Margarita that you’re going to make. Add in your Margarita ingredients, shake it up, and I would serve this on the rocks. You want that coolness and allow a little bit of a dilution. It’s not my thing, but I make a good one, for sure. Those are two secrets to success.

Z: Gotcha. Before we wrap things, you mentioned adding a little bit of orange juice in the blended Margarita. You definitely run across things in the wild labeled as Margaritas that include all kinds of other citrus — even pineapple or passion fruit. We definitely have this habit in this country of adding just about anything into a drink and retaining the name. If people do want to play around with other fruits, is there anything that you think goes particularly well, or should they really just stick with the classic?

S: I’m a huge fan of taking twists on the Margarita. I see classic cocktails as a blueprint, and as long as you understand what that blueprint is, then you’re free to add on more to it. What you’ve got to remember is that it’s got to have tequila. If I was using passion fruit or mango, I would want the vanilla notes that reposado is going to bring out, so I would use PATRÓN Reposado with those kinds of cocktails. Adding in fresh mango puree or fresh passion fruit are awesome twists on a Margarita. The other one that you see a lot in Texas, and it’s starting to spread out more and more, is the Mexican Martini Cocktail. Although it doesn’t have the name Margarita, it is essentially a reposado Margarita using PATRÓN Reposado, shaken and served up in a small Martini cocktail glass and garnished with an olive or two. You want the olives to come straight out from the jar. You’re not going to add any of the brine to it, but that’s going to add the salinity to it. It sounds like such a weird combination. I’m not normally a big fan of olives to eat by themselves, but I love them in a Dirty Martini cocktail. And I absolutely love the Mexican Martini cocktail. If you are going to try one thing, I would highly recommend doing this one. Just add two of those olives right on the side, and get the salinity to go through your cocktail.

Z: I have some family in Texas who have told me about this drink. I have not yet tried one, but on the strength of that recommendation, I might just have to. Before we go, is there anything else in terms of the Margarita as a cocktail or any last words of wisdom you’d like to leave the listeners with?

S: As we’ve seen this story evolve and we’ve seen how the cocktail has changed, the one thing that has always remained the same is using great-quality tequila. As far as PATRÓN has been concerned, we really married ourselves to that classic Margarita. That has always been the cocktail that we’ve really pushed, and we’ve become synonymous with that cocktail. If you’re making a Margarita, I would just recommend that you use a quality tequila like PATRÓN Silver. It has had so much work and labor go into it, you want to do the same justice to your Margarita that you’re going to make. Fresh squeeze your juice, use a high-quality orange liqueur like Citrónge Orange, and then serve it up or on the rocks using good-quality ice. Make sure that cocktail gets nice and cold, and that you’re serving it over your favorite type of ice.

Z: Stephen, this has been fantastic. It’s like 9 a.m. here, but I might have to go make myself a Margarita.

S: I’m definitely thirsty for sure.

Z: Excellent. Well, I really appreciate your time and learning more about this iconic cocktail, its history, and how it’s best made these days. Thank you so much.

S: Absolutely. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.