How to Make a Texas-Style Margarita

Updated on June 24, 2016
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Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook's Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

The Best Margarita!
The Best Margarita! | Source

Joshua's Best Margaritas

Joshua and Gloria, our Tex-Mex neighbors, have a powerful connection with Mexico. Perhaps you’ve tried Gloria’s wildly popular family recipe for Mexican salsa. If not, we highly recommend you do.

Joshua knows more about Texas, Mexico and tequila than anyone else we know. His margaritas are unforgettable, and especially his famous cherry-limeade margaritas. On one of our frequent visits to their home, where we consumed heaping helpings of homemade Mexican food and Joshua’s perfect margaritas, I decided to hit him up for the recipe.

Joshua is a goldmine of information. So first, he regurgitated a wealth of facts about tequila. In the following interview with Joshua, he expertly answers the following questions: Why does tequila have such a bad rap? Are manufacturers doing anything to improve tequila's reputation? Is expensive tequila necessarily better tasting? What complements tequila and lime juice better than triple sec? How can I quickly and easily salt the rims of the margarita glasses?


Vespa Woolf Interviews Joshua

Vespa: Joshua, why does tequila have such a bad reputation?

Joshua: It’s a shame, really. Tequila isn’t frat parties, Pee Wee Herman and Tijuana. Do you remember the bottles of tequila with a worm floating in the bottom? Bad marketing ploy. The worm was never an original element of tequila. Sure, it worked in the short-term. (“Gross…look at this…try it!”) But then the bad reputation stuck. No self-respecting tequila manufacturer puts a worm in their tequila.

Vespa: What are tequila manufacturers doing to overcome this stigma?

Joshua: There’s a lot of money in Texas. Tequila is an exploding industry and it’s now marketed for the elegant, the refined, the hoity-toity. There are as many brands of tequila in Texas as wineries in Napa Valley. It appeals to ritzy Texas subculture. You know, Texas country music, Paul Bond cowboy boots and expensive tequila. Descriptions read like wine labels: aroma of green apple with toasted caramel nuances. These guys know their tequila.

Vespa: So which tequila is the best? Is expensive necessarily better?

Joshua: Price isn’t the determining factor in good quality tequila. Gold label means wine is added….cheap wine. It’ll give you a headache. Some people recommend silver tequila, but silver tequilas have no character. Tequila is all about where it’s made: Texas and Northern Mexico. That’s a very harsh environment. Drinking tequila is drinking Texas. Cactus, scorpions and rattlesnakes. The land is trying to kill you! Tequila, like Texas, is harsh, raw, earthy.

Tequila made with 40% blue agave is made with 60% trash. That’s why tequila has a bad rep for a horrible hangover. If you want good tequila follow one simple rule. Buy 100% blue agave in a glass bottle. Never buy tequila sold in a plastic bottle. You should be able to find 100% blue agave starting at $25/bottle. This is just a launching point. Try different labels and judge the flavor for yourself. Never, ever buy Jose Cuervo. Jose Cuervo is ruining the tequila market.

Vespa: I get it now. 100% blue agave tequila makes your margaritas so special.

Joshua: (a glint in his eye) Have you ever had a margarita that tasted like chemicals? That’s the triple sec. Have you ever sipped triple sec? I didn’t think so. Yuck! Lime juice complements tequila. But orange liqueur? It just obscures tequila, makes it mediocre. I’ve found the perfect complement to tequila and lime juice. Are you ready for the secret ingredient? (Joshua leaned forward, hands clenched between the knees of his worn jeans.)

Vespa: The suspense is killing me. (laughs)

Joshua: The secret is amaretto liqueur, preferably Disaronno. That’s what gives it the cherry limeade flavor, not cherries. Disaronno amps up the lime flavor. That’s all it is: fresh squeezed Key lime juice, 100% blue agave tequila and Disaronno. Add simple syrup if you like them sweeter. I don’t. The amaretto liqueur is enough for me. And you can’t beat the flavor.

Vespa: I can testify to that!

Joshua: Someday a Texan will invent an amaretto liqueur just for mixing with tequila: perfectly Tex-Mex. Until then, we’ll have to settle for Disaronno. Add a touch of Grenadine for pretty color, although it doesn’t add much flavor.

Vespa: You salt the margarita rims so expertly. What’s your secret?

Joshua: Don’t bother with margarita salt. Buy kosher salt. Pour it onto a plate. For extra pizzazz, use a microplaner to grate a little lime rind into it. Then wet the rims with lime juice and dip them in the lime salt. That’s all there is to it.

Vespa: Your on-the-rocks margaritas are awesome. But how can I make frozen margaritas?

Joshua: Add 4 cups of small ice cubes and blend the be-Jesus out of it. I can’t emphasize this enough. I read once that you shouldn’t over blend. That’s just ridiculous. You can’t blend a frozen margarita enough. Blend until you’re bored of blending. Blend for a minute or two. The blender won’t get too hot. Instead, moisture will condense and freeze on the container. Now you have the perfect frozen margarita.

Vespa: That’s great Joshua! Thanks so much for sharing your secret recipe with us. Do you have any closing advice?

Joshua: Don’t bother to ask a Texan where he’s from. If he’s from Texas, he would have told you already. God Bless Texas. (with a final tip of his cowboy hat)

Joshua's Tips for the Best Margaritas

  • Choose 100% blue agave tequila for best flavor and no headaches.
  • Disaronno is the best tasting amaretto liqueur, but it's also expensive. For a more economical option try "Homemade Amaretto Liqueur" recipe at the bottom of this page.
  • Fresh-squeezed Key lime juice is important to the flavor of this recipe .You can also substitute the larger limes common in U.S. grocery stores, but the flavor won't be quite the same.
  • Grate lime peel into kosher salt with a microplaner for homemade lime salt.
  • Rub glass rims with used lime halves and dip in lime salt.
  • For frozen margaritas, blend the be-Jesus out of it! Don't be afraid to blend for 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour margarita into salted glasses.
  • Garnish margarita glasses with lime slices.
  • Try Frosty Pisco Sour Cocktails for Peru's version of the margarita.


Prep time: 15 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: Serves 6-8

The Best Margaritas in Texas

4.5 stars from 10 ratings of Joshua's Best Margaritas
Slice limes in half
Slice limes in half
Squeeze 1 cup of juice
Squeeze 1 cup of juice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup freshly-squeezed Key lime juice
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup amaretto liqueur, preferably Disaronno or homemade
  • 2 cups 100% blue agave tequila
  • 4 cups small ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Pour first three ingredients into a blender container. If you prefer frozen margaritas add the ice cubes, too.
  2. For frozen margaritas, blend for 1-2 minutes or until blender container is frosty.
  3. Salt margarita glass rims, if desired. (see tips section)
  4. Pour margarita into glasses and garnish with lime slices.

Quick & Easy Margaritas

Don't have Key lime juice? Try this quick, easy and sweet margarita.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces limeade concentrate
  • 12 ounces tequila
  • 1/4 cup Disaronno, or to taste
  • 3 cups of small ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Pour all 4 ingredients into a blender container.
  2. Blend for 1-2 minutes, until thick and frosty.
  3. Pour into prepared glasses.
  4. Garnish with lime slices.
  5. Sip to the tune of Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville".


Homemade Amaretto Liqueur

This recipe, courtesy of allrecipes, is a dead ringer for Disaronno liqueur.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups vodka
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons almond extract

Instructions

  1. Combine water and sugars in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a boil. Stir and simmer until sugars dissolve.
  2. Remove pan from heat and allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Add vodka and extracts. Store homemade amaretto liqueur in a sealed glass container.


Margaritas are a natural pairing for Mexican dishes
Margaritas are a natural pairing for Mexican dishes | Source

Serving Suggestions

Serve margaritas at your next party with plenty of guacamole and fresh salsa. Click below for the recipes:

Or serve margaritas with a hot bowl of piping soup:

Margaritas are a great complement for Smoky Steak Fajitas.

Margaritaville

Questions & Answers

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    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      PeggyW, thanks for adding these margaritas to your drink board! I just love Pinterest. : )

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I created a board for drinks on Pinterest and am adding this one about making margaritas to it. Thanks again for writing this!

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      i really want to try a Margarita even more now.

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Margaritas are very refreshing. Of course, limeade is also refreshing and it doesn't contain alcohol! Thanks for dropping by.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      I love margaritas so much; I just can't drink anymore due to medication, but here where it's hot in Florida it was so refreshing on my day off to just sit out on the porch or by the pool with a margarita. I barely use my blender anymore, lol.

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      JustAskSusan, thank you so much for thinking of me!!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Just stopped back in to wish you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      DDE, I hope you can try this special margarita sometime. Thanks for your comment!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Awesome choice for on How Do You Make Margaritas such lovely photos

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      moonlake, sometimes we mix ginger ale, lime juice and Disaronno for a lighter alcoholic drink. Thanks for coming by!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Sounds very good. I can leave out the tequila I think. Voted up and shared.

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      My Cook Book, thanks for coming by. I hope you can try margaritas someday.

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      Absolutely informative and a well written hub. Thank for the same. Voted UP

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      GlimmerTwinFan, I hope you can give this high-quality Tex-Mex Margarita a try! It is the perfect treat for a hot summer day. Thank you for coming by and have a good week.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Wow - that looks refreshing on these hot summer days. I enjoy a good margarita, unfortunately I have had some really bad ones over the years so it is not on my list of favorites. May have to give one of these recipes a try!

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Cardisa, I hope you get a chance to use these recipes sometime. I'm sure the mock margaritas were still delicious...anything with lime juice is good in my book. : ) Thank you for coming by! It's always nice to see you.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks for the Amaretto recipe. On my birthday last month I could not find that liquor anywhere. I had to make mock Margaritas and try to figure out what went in them on my own. They didn't taste quite as good as the real thing but they passed anyway...lol

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      alocsin, I'm sure you can swing making this special margarita. Enjoy and thanks for your support and votes!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I always thought margaritas were far more complicated to make. But it sounds like something that even I can do. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      anglnwu, I'm glad you learned something from the interview and hope you won't be drinking anymore cheap tequila! I appreciate your support and the stars. : )

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Om Paramapoonya, I'm glad this margarita recipe put you in a party mood! Have fun with it and thanks for your comment.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 4 years ago

      This is amazing. Love the picture and the interview--learn so much from it. Now, I know why I get headaches from margaritas--they use cheap tequila. Thanks for this fantastic-awesome-margaritastic hub. Rated up, of course.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

      What a delightful hub! I appreciate the recipes, tips, interview and everything. Thanks a lot. This hub has put me in a party mood. I love me some margarita!

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Vickiw, I'm glad you enjoyed this information and the recipes. The amaretto is so easy and inexpensive. I always enjoy hearing from you! Have a great week.

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Toytasting, I'm glad you enjoy Margaritas and hope you can try this recipe someday. Thank you for coming by!

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      AliciaC, I'm glad you enjoyed this information on margaritas and tequila. The homemade amaretto is delicious and inexpensive to make, too. Thanks for your nice comment!

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Loved your method of presenting this, Vespa, with the interview! Great job. The margaritas sound delicious, and your information was so comprehensive. I can hardly believe that amaretto liqueur can be made o easily! Thanks for this.

    • Toytasting profile image

      Toy Tasting 4 years ago from Mumbai

      I am a big fan of Margaritas. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. The pictures are beautiful, makes me want to taste it right away. Cheers :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very interesting hub, vespawoolf! I don't know much tequila or margaritas, but the information in your article is entertaining and useful. I love the photos, too - especially the first one!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wow buddy, I kept following this, and the comments are awesome. Be proud of a great hub. Boozing it up has such a bad rap, like Tequila. But you show us it is all in the love baby. I sure the heck am glad I follow you.

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Deborah-Diane, thank you for sharing that sweet memory of your Dallas afternoons. What a great way to enjoy margaritas! I really appreciate the vote.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      These recipes for Margaritas sound wonderful. We used to live in Texas in a suburban neighborhood of Dallas. Every Friday afternoon the wives took turns whipping up a pitcher of Margaritas. Then we would relax on the front porch of someone's house, watch our children play on the front lawns, and wait for our husbands to get home. I have pleasant memories of Margaritas! Voted UP ... Awesome!

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      rajan jolly, thanks for the comment, vote and share!

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Lindacee, what a well-thought-out and meaningful comment! I'm glad you learned a lot about tequila and margaritas. Interviewing Joshua was a fun way to research this topic. Thanks so much for your votes and support!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting read. The margarita looks very tempting. Voted up and shared.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

      What a fun-filled, information-packed Hub, vespa! I learned so much about tequila and margaritas. I'm not much of a tequila drinker, but this definitely makes me crave an ice cold margarita on a hot Vegas afternoon! No triple sec or cointreau though. From now on, I'll ask for one made with amaretto! Voted up, useful and awesome! :)

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Peggy W, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview with Joshua and the recipes. I find the homemade amaretto so simple and inexpensive! I hope you can try one soon. : ) As always, thank you for your support.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I loved the interview with Joshua. He seems to know his tequila! Seeing that icy glass of margarita at the top made me think that it is about time that I have one sometime soon. Thanks also for the recipe for making homemade Amaretto. Love the flavor of that liquor but have never made it from scratch. It certainly sounds simple enough and would be economical. UUI votes and definitely sharing. :)

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      rebeccamealey, I'm glad you appreciated this information on tequila. I appreciate your support! Have a great weekend.

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      truthfornow, thanks for coming by.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Yum. Makes me want to waste away in Margaritaville. This is a really interesting look at the quality of fine liquors mixed into wonderful recipes.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Cherry limeade without cherries, sounds interesting. Good tips.

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      ladydeonne, I'm glad you're going to try Joshua's margarita! Please let us know what you think if you have a chance. I appreciate your meaningful comment and the vote and share! Thanks for coming by.

    • ladydeonne profile image

      Deonne Anderson 4 years ago from Florence, SC

      Wow! Your photo of a margarita at the beginning of your hub is beautiful!

      I love and only drink margaritas. I have never purchased tequila and am not knowledgeable of the different brands. I just know a good margarita from a bad margarita and have my favorite restaurants to consume them. I plan to try Joshua's recipes. Wish he lived in my neighborhood. Great hub and very "refreshing." Voted up and shared.

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      epbooks, I understand what you mean. There's nothing worse than cheap tequila! But there are some excellent and not too expensive choices out there nowadays. You might not even recognize it as the same liquor. : ) Thanks for your comment!

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      rose-the-planner, I've never sampled the tequila worm but I have friends who say they've tasted it. Yuck! Thanks for the comment and vote!

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Ralph Deeds, I'll try your tip of substituting tequila for white wine. You're the second commenter to mention it, so I believe there must be something to that formula. ; ) Thanks for taking the time to come by and enjoy the weekend!

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      SuzieHQ, as always I appreciate your support even when the recipe isn't your favorite! You could try substituting the tequila for ginger ale (I'm not sure what you call that in the UK) if you'd like a lighter drink. Thanks for all the votes, pin, etc. Have a wonderful weekend and take some long walks with your partner and doggie!

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Gypsy48, thanks for taking the time to come by! I appreciate the comment and vote.

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Ericdierker, you're right about the difference between Baja Mexican food and Tex-Mex. I love them both! Maybe it's better that my Texan and you don't meet up. : ) Thanks for coming by! Have a great weekend.

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Jackie Lynnley, you could try a limeade made from Key lime juice and add a touch of almond extract for flavor. : ) with a salty or even sugary rim, you'll never miss the tequila! Thanks for your support!

    • vespawoolf profile image
      Author

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      NMLady, I've never tried white wine margaritas but I'm sure they're delicious. I have a friend who can't tolerate tequila (although she hasn't yet been brave enough to try the 100% agave tequila), so I make a drink for her with just amaretto liqueur, lime juice and ginger ale. I have to admit that it tastes pretty delicious without the tequila, too. Thank you for your interesting comment.

    • vespawoolf profile image
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      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Just Ask Susan, I'm so glad you enjoyed this information on margaritas! I'd send one to you right now if I could. : ) Thanks for all the votes, share and pin! Have a great weekend.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Good to know. I must admit- I've never been a fan of tequila for many of the reasons you listed. If I ever do seek out to try it again, I'll follow your suggestions in this hub! Very interesting!

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Great article! I agree the worm in the bottle may have been a very bad marketing ploy, lol. OMG..........this looks amazing! Thanks for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Interesting. Well done. I really like Margaritas. Here's a bit of heresy--Try making Margaritas with a good white wine instead of Tequila. I learned that at Juan's Place in Berkeley, California, where they sell wine Margaritas by the pitcher. They taste almost as good, and you can drink several without getting blitzed.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Vespa!

      What a great hub with interview from your neighbor! The facts Joshua gave of quality Margaritas was interesting, including the worm logic that No self respecting manufacturer is going to put a worm in their Tequila!!

      Great tip on getting the salt rim and love the kosher salt and lime mix.

      Although not a fan of the drink I LOVE Mexican food and will definitely make this for a special Tex - Mex night, thanks so much for sharing this! Up, useful, interesting, awesome, shared and pinned to drinks!

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 4 years ago

      Very helpful hub, I love Margaritas. Thanks for sharing your tips and recipes. Voted up.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Fantastic tie in to the Tex Mex culture. In my mind the Blue Agave is a beautiful plant. I come to different conclusions from your Texan, but hey their Mexican food is totally different from ours out here Baja California way.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I can't drink because of medicines but it sure looks good and the coating of the rim with lime salt I can almost taste! I might try that with my milk, hahaha.

      ^

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 4 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      This is a great write up. I loved the recipes. When I lived in El Paso there was a restaurant that served white wine Margaritas for 99cents on Thursday nights. They also had live musica. I have never found wine margaritas since but I do make them.

      Tequila upsets my stomach something fierce.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I can almost taste the margaritas now! Even though its only 9 a.m. here I could sure go for one now, and that first picture makes me wish I could reach through my computer screen :)

      Voting up +++ , sharing and pinning.

    working