The Story Behind The Smoky Orange And Thyme Margarita

Have you ever had one of those weeks that’s a complete disaster, when even getting to the store isn’t an option? Earlier this week I found myself in that situation; I needed a happy hour cocktail for my book club, and I had no idea what to bring. I looked in my refrigerator and it was bare, besides a bag of herbs and orange juice. So, I thought what could I make with these two items and some booze? The answer was easy: a margarita!

Margaritas are always popular, not only because they taste delicious but because they can mentally export you to a more tropical place. I decided to switch it up a little and use mezcal instead of tequila. It’s a good way to step up your margarita game and do something a little more creative. Mezcal is a perfect way to do that, as many people have never had it before and it adds a bit of a smoky flavor to the margarita. Mezcal has gotten more popular in the United States and is readily available at most liquor stores. Of course if you can’t find it or don’t have any on hand, you can use tequila in this recipe as well. I went ahead and made a huge pitcher of this margarita and it went over very well at my happy hour. If you are in a bind or are having a bad week, sometimes your answer is lying in your refrigerator, since a few ingredients are all you need to make a quality cocktail. Cheers to happy hour and mezcal!


  • 2 ounces of mezcal
  • 4 ounces of orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon of thyme simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • Garnish: salted rim, orange peel, and thyme sprig


  1. Fill cocktail shaker with mezcal, orange juice, thyme simple syrup, and ½ cup of ice
  2. Salt rim of serving glass
  3. Shake mixture
  4. Strain over ice into serving glass

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Yield: 1
Updated: 2020-04-23

Thyme Simple Syrup Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 - 2 medium sprigs of thyme

Thyme Simple Syrup Directions

  1. Add water, sugar, and thyme to a saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  4. Remove thyme, and store syrup in a glass container for up to a month
The Smoky Orange And Thyme Margarita Recipe