Mexican Martinis: Sort of Mexican; Sort of a Martini

One of Many Delicious Ways Austin Stays Weird

Today we put the spotlight on something of a cocktail mystery—a cultural and culinary mishmash called the Mexican Martini. Once we get to the bottom of this tasty concoction we think you’ll want to grab this one by the longhorns and add it to your list of favorite ways to enjoy tequila.

The Mysterious Beginnings

To fully appreciate this cocktail, it helps to know a little bit about where it originated: that cowboy town with a twist, Austin, TX. Today Austin is known for its hipster, high-tech culture. But it was once a sleepy, midsized city (small by Texas standards) that happened to be the state capital and home of the University of Texas (Hook ‘Em Horns!). This was enough to give Austin a bit of a cosmopolitan air. That is, just cosmopolitan enough to get people really excited about a slightly modified margarita poured into a martini glass.

According to a 2011 New York Times article, the Mexican Margarita was first served in the ’70s or ‘80s in an establishment called the Cedar Door—which was popular with city power brokers. According to some, a bartender named Ellen had seen margaritas served neat in martini glasses while visiting Matamoros, Mexico near the Texas border. She brought the practice back to Austin where the sophisticated touch appealed to the politicians and country lawyers who frequented the Cedar Door. This may be more legend than fact, but one thing we take as fact is that this native Texan cocktail looks as cool as it tastes.

It’s All About the Ritual

Mexican Martini recipes can vary quite a bit. Some are dry and sophisticated, others might be sweet and sparkly, but they are almost always served up, poured at the table from a cocktail shaker into a martini or coupe glass. That is presumably one of the ways it earns its “martini” label. We’re sure James Bond would approve.

The glassware and cocktail shaker naturally led to the necessity of an olive or two to garnish this citified margarita. Now the olives are de rigueur for any Mexican Martini worth its salt.

Slow and Easy There, Cowboy

It’s worth mentioning that a Mexican Martini is most often two drink’s worth of martini, with half poured into the glass and half left in the shaker. It’s no mystery that this Texas-sized portion is part of the appeal. Some bars wisely put a two-martini limit on this rascal, which should serve as a bit of a yellow flag to your drinking speed.

We encourage taking your time with this drink—sip it slow and easy like a soft East Texas drawl. Good tequila, fresh ingredients and a balanced recipe will make the first sip as good as the last.

Here’s Some Mexican Martini Intel to Get You Started

Whether you’re ordering one from your favorite bartender or mixing them at home, here are some tips on making sure your Mexican Martinis are always muy bueno.

It’s All About the Tequila: Clear, blanco tequila will look more at home in a martini glass, but an aged reposado may be your taste preference. Experiment with either one but be sure to ask for a 100% blue agave tequila. This ensures you’re getting a high-quality spirit with no additives. We may be prejudiced, but Exotico just happens to be made with 100% blue agave and is a top-shelf choice for making Mexican Martinis.

Just Say No to Sour Mix: Avoid sour mix, overly sweet premade margarita mix—or even worse– Sprite. Those ingredients have their place, but that place is not in a Mexican Martini. Instead, look for fresh-squeezed lime (or other citrus) juice with just a touch of simple syrup. It should have a clean, citrusy profile with just a touch of sweet to balance it out.

Olive My Love: It’s not just a drink–it’s a meal! Slip those tasty olives onto that plastic sword and enjoy. Don’t forget to add a splash of that delicious, dirty olive brine into the shaker before mixing. That will bring out the flavors in a way that differentiates this tequila-lime libation from an ordinary margarita.

Salt That Rim! Salt the rim of your martini or coupe glass for the final touch. It looks pretty and gives your Mexican Martini just a little more of a margarita kick.

Let’s Shake Things Up

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to order a round of these Texas originals at your next happy hour. Or, add a twist to your backyard barbeque or taco night by serving Mexican Martinis along with your favorite foods. We think you and your friends will agree that this not-quite-Mexican and not-quite-a-martini drink is worthy of its Austin roots.

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, Exotico has its own twist on the Mexican Martini recipe that includes dry wine, orange juice and jalapeño-stuffed olives for a unique flavor. It’s easy to make right and will be sure to get the conversation started.

2 Mexican Martinis with salted rim and lime


  • 1½ oz. Exotico® Reposado or Blanco Tequila
  • ½ oz. Dry Wine
  • 1 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1 oz. Simple Syrup
  • ½ oz. Orange Juice
  • ¼ oz. Olive Juice
  • Jalapeño Stuffed Olives


  1. Shake ingredients over ice.
  2. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with jalapeño stuffed olives.
  3. For more heat, add 1 dash of jalapeño hot sauce.