Here's how to make a smooth, smoky mezcal margarita on the rocks with in-season blood oranges--in just five minutes! Originally published February 2021. Last updated August 2023.
I first fell in love with mezcal while vacationing in Mexico and highly recommend making margaritas with mezcal instead of tequila for a little something different. Let's get into the delicious details.
What does it taste like?
This homemade rocks margarita is smooth and lowkey refreshing. You'll taste smoky and herbal notes depending on the expression of mezcal you use. You'll also taste bright citrus, tart, and sweet notes--a very balanced drink!
What does mezcal taste like? Because of the cooking process, mezcal can have a much smokier and slightly earthen taste than tequila. But it can also taste herbal and even slightly sweet!
What You'll Need for this Recipe
Mezcal You can certainly make my blood orange margarita recipe with tequila but when you make a margarita with mezcal, you get a whole different experience with a simple switch. Use your favorite brand.
Blood Orange Juice squeezed from fresh blood oranges is preferred but bottled or concentrated juice will also work.
Orange Liqueur is technically optional since we're using blood orange juice but I still recommend. Grab your favorite, like Triple Sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier.
Sweetener of your choosing. I developed this recipe with maple syrup but have tested with agave nectar and honey syrup, too. Simple syrup also works.
Mexican Red Chile Spice Mix like Tajín or Valentina is perfect finishing touch for the blood orange marg recipe. Use it in place of salt.
Check out the recipe card below for full ingredients list, measurements, nutrition facts, and step-by-step instructions!
Flavored Mezcal Marg How-To Video
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Tips & Tools
Making margaritas on the rocks at home is much easier than you might think. Grab a cocktail shaker. You'll also need a jigger or shot glass for measuring the liquids.
What kind of ice should I use in my margarita? Mexican drinks are well known for the use of cylinder ice cubes with holes in the middle. The science behind this actually cools drinks faster!
If you don't have access to Mexican ice technology, plain cubes, pebbled ice or even rocks ice will work.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between tequila and mezcal? Tequila and mezcal are both Mexican spirits made from the agave plant. Tequila is made with steamed agave whereas mezcal is made with agave that has been cooked in the presence of wood, charcoal, and lava rocks.
How to make margaritas without mix? In place of margarita mix, all you need is fresh lime juice, orange liqueur, and the sweetener of your choosing.
Can I make it frozen? Yes. To turn a rocks margarita into a frozen, simply toss the ingredients in the blender with extra ice and pulse until uniform.
This homemade blood orange margarita from scratch was inspired by a deliciously smoky frozen mezcal margarita I enjoyed on Isla Holbox, Mexico!
How to do Tajín rim on a drink?
The tajín rims are the crowning glory of my winter citrus cocktails but they're actually the first step in the recipe rather than a finishing touch. To make a tajin rim, pour a bit of seasoning mix onto a small dish. Next, run a wedge of lime around the edge of a glass then dip it into the dish. The lime juice helps the tajin stick to the glass.
More Favorite Blood Orange Recipes
I hope you'll add this winter mezcal cocktail to your at-home happy hour ASAP while blood oranges are still available. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this smoky margarita recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
How to Make a Blood Orange Margarita at Home with Mezcal
Blood Orange Mezcal Margarita with Tajín Rim
- 1 tablespoon Mexican red chile seasoning mix like Tajín or Valentina brand
- ¼ lime
- 2 ounces mezcal
- 2 ounces blood orange juice (about three oranges)
- ½ ounce orange liqueur
- ½ ounce sweetener like agave nectar maple syrup
- Run lime wedge around the rim of a rocks glass. Pour seasoning mix onto a plate then dip the rim of the glass into the mix to coat it. Add ice to glass then set aside.
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice then add mezcal, blood orange juice, orange liqueur, and sweetener. Cover shaker tightly and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds or until chilled to the touch.
- Open cocktail shaker and strain mixture into prepared rocks glass. Enjoy responsibly!