05/04/2012 09:35 am ET Updated Jul 04, 2012

Margarita Do's and Dont's

As Cinco de Mayo quickly approaches, the drink that will mostly likely be in everyone's hand is the margarita. One of the most popular cocktails in the US, the margarita can be savored, sipped, and enjoyed in a multitude of ways. But what's the right way? Frozen? On the rocks? With salt? Without? Whatever your pleasure, there are some definite do's and don'ts to ingesting this famous cocktail.


The Popcorn Margarita at Gingham (Credit: J Public Relations)

Do: Keep it Simple

Margarita purists will say all you need for a good margarita is some fresh lime juice, tequila (nothing fancy, just the clear stuff), something sweet (like agave nectar) and ice. Done. End of story. Shawn Barker, mixologist at Bertrand at Mister A's in San Diego, says that the now trendy 'skinny margarita' is exactly this: "A return to the original, classic recipe." It's tart, lightly sweet and goes great with salty tortilla chips, tacos or any other tasty Mexican treats.

Don't: Add Fakes

Anything artificial just kills the overall marg-drinking experience. Syrups or other fake flavorings just add calories (about 188 calories in just one shot of triple sec!) and take away from the sweet simplicity that is the margarita. While finding these super-sweet concoctions are easy to find (enter Chili's, El Torito and other calorie-pumping locales), holding out for a location that offers made-with-care drinks (see Ra Sushi and their ever-changing cocktail menu) will be worth the search and much easier on your waistline.

Another Do: Get Creative

A surge in fresh, quality craft cocktails has appeared in bars across the country. While the beauty of the margarita lies in its simplicity, seasoned bartenders everywhere are using innovative ingredients to put their own spin on the classic margarita recipe. Take, for instance, the Popcorn Margarita made by Snake Oil Cocktail Co. at Gingham in La Mesa, California. Named one of "America's Wildest Margaritas" by, it incorporates blue agave tequila infused with freshly popped popcorn, fresh lime juice and agave nectar to create a margarita unlike any other. Or how about the Asian-Mexican fusion you can find at Ra Sushi called the Emperor's Cucumberita? Made with Patron Silver, Patron Cintronage, shaken with fresh lime juice, yuzu sour and cucumber slices, it definitely takes a large step in the direction of originality.

So basically, when it comes to a good margarita, it's all about the freshness. By all means, get creative! Have it frozen, have it with salt, have whatever sounds best to you. After all, you're the one paying for it.