A Spicy, Bright and Easy Margarita for Autumn

hornitos don francisco margarita

Hornitos Tequila recently hosted an online media event where it debuted a margarita adapted for the fall. Called the Don Francisco Margarita, the inclusion of orange juice makes this tequila cocktail a kissing cousin of a Tequila Sunrise. It doesn’t have grenadine, though, and the dose of lime juice keeps it within the margarita family. Reposado tequila, which rests in oak barrels for two months, lends more depth than found in traditional warm-weather margaritas thanks to undertones of cinnamon and coriander.

The glass is rimmed with a 50/50 mix of chili powder and salt, lending a smoky, sultry and spicy flavor perfect for the cool season. (I prefer using kosher salt, which has bigger crystals that catch the light.)

The procedure is very simple and you’ll have an autumn appropriate cocktail ready to serve at home in about five minutes. (This can be scaled up and batched by simply changing the measurements below to “parts” rather than ounces.)

Watch the cocktail preparation in this Instagram video, then scroll down for detailed measurements and instructions.

Don Francisco Margarita

  • 2 ounces Horintos Reposado Tequila
  • 1 ounce orange juice (bottled or freshly squeezed)
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (accept no substitutes)
  • 3/4 ounce honey syrup
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp salt (ideally kosher)
  • 1 fresh orange for garnish and wetting the glass rim
  • Optional garnish: edible marigold or other edible flower

Hardware: You’ll need either an Old Fashioned or martini glass (really, any wide-mouthed glass will do), shaker, cocktail strainer and jiggers that measure in ounces and parts of ounces.

To make the honey syrup: it doesn’t get easier than this. Mix an equal amount of honey syrup and warm water. Stir until the honey dissolves and set aside. Honey syrup will keep in the fridge for about three weeks.

Mix the chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle around the edge of a saucer, plate or flat-bottomed bowl. (Use what you have that best matches the size of your glass.) Slice the orange crosswise in half and half again. Cut two wedges from one of the orange quarters and small slices in the fleshy center of each. One is to garnish your drink. Set it aside. With the other, place on the glass rim and go all the way around to wet the edge. Dunk the edge into the salt and chili mixture; swirl and spin around until the edge is thoroughly coated. Carefully fill to about halfway with ice cubes (so as to not knock off the attractive spicy glass rim you just created). Set glass aside.

Fill the shaker with ice and add the tequila, orange juice, lime juice. Close and shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into glass over ice and garnish with the orange wedge (and edible flower, if you happen to have one).

Disclosure: media participants in the virtual event were provided everything needed to make this cocktail. 


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