Back when I lived in New Orleans[2] my friends and I would periodically go forth to seek out the perfect margarita recipe. This was before the Internet so the main problem was avoiding the dinosaurs roaming the streets. We never did settle on one but to be honest settling on one wasn’t the point.

Last year I was motivated to try again. What a difference a meteor and a few million years makes! The streets are safe but now there’s no reason to go outside. I fired up my computer, entered “margarita” into DDG, opened up a clean spreadsheet, and started filling out ingredient columns. I thought that with enough data I’d be able to discern a pattern and derive the fundamental truth.

Immediately I noticed a pattern: sugar. No wonder people are saying they like these recipes. One drink could fuel a marathon! I decided to do some original historical research and found this obscure article:

Which says the original recipe doesn’t include sugar. One claimant is:

2 parts tequila
1 part triple-sec
1 part lime juice

I bought premium ingredients, brought them to last year’s birthday party, and mixed up a pitcher. My guests were very polite. They liked the concoction so much they insisted on letting me have almost all of it.[3]

Clearly something has changed since circa 1940 when legends of the date of the invention of the margarita clump. Maybe people were stronger back then or maybe because everyone smoked heavily their taste buds were all shot and they needed their drinks to be able to dissolve iron.

I gave up on originalism and, consulting my spreadsheet, tried this combination:

2 parts tequila
1 part triple-sec
2 parts lime juice
1 part orange juice

Simple to remember and no sugar added![4] It’s still a strong drink by the standards of my neighborhood, both alcohol and citrus, but when poured over a glass of ice and with salt[5] I think it’s excellent. I’ve had many positive[6] comments about how it’s not too sweet.

What’s your recipe?


[1] Alas, the only thing still young about me is my self-image.

[2] Now I live in Vermont. In a previous article I mentioned the problem of tractor trailer trucks getting stuck in Smuggler’s Notch. It just happened again:

[3] I admit it took a while to finish.

[4] OK, cheap triple-sec contains vast tracts of sugar. But I didn’t add it.

[5] Salt or no salt? Flame war!

[6] Almost always with a request for a refill so I don’t think they were just being polite.