When it comes time to mix a drink with the world’s most popular agave spirit, dozens of bartenders agree: The Margarita and the Tequila Sunrise are the most overrated tequila-based cocktails.
“Now don’t get me wrong, Margaritas can be great,” Anthony Baker, NYC-based mixologist, tells VinePair. “But people need to explore tequila cocktails other than the typical Margarita — or perhaps even incorporate tequila into other classic cocktails.”
Sadly, the Margarita and its handful of maligned variations came to mind for many bartenders we spoke to. (Sorry, spicy Marg lovers.) But it really comes down to the fact that there aren’t as many tequila-based cocktails that have hit mainstream success here in the United States. The overwhelming majority felt that the quality of the drink is in the hands of the bartender and the ingredients they choose, rather than the recipe itself.
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
Here’s what bartenders have to say about the most overrated tequila cocktails right now.
The Most Overrated Tequila Cocktails:
- Spicy Margarita
- Strawberry & Jalapeño Margarita
- Tequila Sunrise
Keep reading for details about all of the recommended bottles!
“The Margarita. It’s a very popular classic cocktail with a lot of different variations. In my opinion this cocktail is overrated for one reason: It’s too popular, and that alone just makes it less interesting. Who wants to drink what everyone else is already drinking?” —Andrii Palokha, Bartender, The Chester at Gansevoort Meatpacking’s American Bistro, NYC
“The most overrated tequila cocktail is by far the Margarita. Many people go crazy over Margaritas — no matter how overly sweet, no matter how intolerably spicy, and no matter how annoyingly salty they are. They will continue to order and drink them in large, questionable quantities, and this is mainly because people barely know of any other prominent tequila cocktails. Margaritas [can be] great. But people need to explore other tequila cocktails than the typical Margarita, or perhaps even incorporate tequila into other classic cocktails.” —Anthony Baker, Mixologist and Virtual Cocktail “Professor,” NYC
“Margarita. Most bartenders do not take the time to make it properly. Sweet and sour [mix] is used by a lot of bartenders — little do they know, that kills the tequila.” —Valeria Murrieta, In-House Mixologist, Estancia La Jolla Hotel, La Jolla, Calif.
“Spicy Margarita. Margaritas are supposed to go with spicy foods to give you a cooling contrast to what you are eating! Hot-on-hot is a monotone meal experience.” —Rob Krueger, Head Bartender at John Fraser Restaurants, NYC
“Spicy margarita — enough said, but to elaborate, it’s never enjoyable to have a drink that’s just going to have overwhelming heat. The overuse of jalapeño and habaneros becomes more gimmicky. The spicy Margarita is the new Dirty Martini.” —Jesse Dureka, Head Bartender, Philadelphia Distilling, Philadelphia
“I’m personally over strawberry and jalapeño Margaritas. I’m not opposed to a nice fruit-infused Margarita — we have one at JIMMY with tequila, mezcal, peach, and lime — just that strawberry-jalapeño combo I see everywhere.” —Johnny Swet, Master Mixologist and Founding Partner, JIMMY Rooftop Bar, NYC
“The Tequila Sunrise is the most overrated tequila cocktail, due to it being ordered for looking pretty but typically being way too sweet, often masking the terrible tequila that is used.” —Morgan Hurley, Bartender and Beverage Director, Mex1 Coastal Cantina, Charleston, S.C.
“Tequila Sunrises are absolutely overrated. Quality ingredients can help a little, but why drink tequila if you’re just going to cover it up with sweetness and juice?” —Meg Hoberg, Lead Bartender, Sidebar at Bode Nashville, Nashville, Tenn.