Variations and Substitutions
The lemon margarita has room for interpretation and variations to shake around to make the best one for you.
- If you don't have agave on hand, simple syrup or honey are easy replacements.
- Try an añejo, reposado, or mezcal instead of silver tequila.
- Add an egg white for a thicker, more savory lemon margarita. To achieve this, add all ingredients except for ice to a cocktail shaker, then shake for approximately 45 seconds, and finally add ice and shake again to chill.
- For a lemon margarita with a subtle flair, consider using one ounce of silver tequila with a half-ounce of coconut or pineapple tequila.
- Try equal parts silver tequila and mezcal if you want a subtle smokey with the bright lemon flavor.
Don't feel stuck with a lemon wheel garnish. You can go as traditional or contemporary as you'd like.
- Add a sugar or salt rim; to do so, rub the rim of the glass with a lemon wedge. Place the salt or sugar in a saucer, then dip the rim of the glass in the salt or sugar to evenly coat. You can do this with just part of the rim or the entire rim.
- For an even more modern "rim" look, run the wedge down a strip of glass from top to just above the bottom, then coat this in the salt or sugar.
- Opt for a lemon wedge or slice.
- Include or use just a lemon ribbon, peel, twist, or coin.
- You can also use an orange! Same as the lemon, this can be an orange ribbon, peel twist or coin, and a wheel, wedge, or slice.
- A dehydrated citrus wheel adds an updated look to a classic drink.
About the Lemon Margarita
Margaritas have been rattling around cocktail shakers since the early 20th century, the recipe evolving over time to eventually become the standard tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and agave. The standard recipe varies from location to location and even bar to bar; some opt for simple syrup or honey instead of agave, some use a homemade sour mix, others sinfully add pre-made sour mix.
The appearance of lemon instead of lime has no known traceable roots, but the swap makes sense. Homemade sour mix often uses lemon and lime juice, so dropping the lime juice in favor of all lemon doesn't take away from the spirit of the margarita. In fact, the lemon offers a different type of tart-- the bright and subtly sweet lemon complementing its sour notes. Ultimately, the lemon margarita is a fresh and glowing margarita compared to the original and well worth trying.
A Bright and Sour Twist
The lemon margarita makes sense. Lemon and lime can be easily interchanged flavors in tequila drinks. So whether lime isn't your favorite or you want to try a new margarita, the lemon margarita will be waiting for you. If this has you inspired, try a few more mixed drinks with sweet and sour flavoring.