As You Like It

Dear Fancy Bar Chef,

Margaritas are my favorite summer drink to serve my friends and family in the backyard. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what makes the best margarita. What do you think?
Ben in Columbia

Dear Ben,
The margarita is the most popular tequila drink in the world. It is the standard of summertime cocktails and one of my favorites as well.

It’s a very standard and classic drink from a very standard and classic recipe but interestingly enough, you are right — everyone seems to have their own version that they claim is the best.

The story goes that in a hotel in Mexico during the 1940s, a German girl wanted a beverage made with tequila that would also suit her palate. The bartender mixed three ingredients and named it after her: Margarita.

Today there are so many ways to make a margarita, it’s impossible to not find a recipe suitable for you. The standard is 1½ ounces tequila, ½ ounce triple sec and 1ounce lime juice mixed and served either over ice or up (chilled and strained into a glass) with a lime wedge as garnish.

At my bar, we play with this to suit each customer. For example, we add wheat beer to some, or a cilantro and jalapeño simple syrup, or blueberries, strawberries, oranges or fresh herbs like mint. As I often say, your only limitation is your own imagination.

1½ ounces tequila
½ ounce triple sec
1 ounce lime juice (homemade sour works best)

Mix in a glass over ice or in a shaker to strain into a glass. Salt the rim if you’d like with a lime garnish.

VARIATION: Try the above recipe by adding a blueberry simple syrup!

Blueberry Simple Syrup
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

Mix in a pan and bring to a boil. Cool to room temperature, then strain and store.
House-Made Sour
1 cup lime juice
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup simple syrup (same as above without blueberries)


Aaron Brown tends bar at Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar in downtown Columbia and at The Bridge in the North Village Arts District. Every month you can find him in the pages of Inside Columbia, concocting tasty drinks you can make at home. Follow the Fancy Bar Chef on Facebook ( and Twitter (@roontaaron).

Got a question for the Fancy Bar Chef? Email him at

cocktailcolumbiamargarita recipe
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