Red Chile Margaritas


Oh, lordy… this may be the best margarita recipe ever!

John and I have tasted our fair share of New Mexico margaritas through the years. The Shed, Coyote Cafe, Inn of the Anasazi, Casa Sena, Bishop’s Lodge— just about ANY place in Santa Fe or Taos has a better version than the watered-down, syrupy or bottled-mix margaritas we get at home. We always throw up our hands in disbelief. Why can’t anyone outside of New Mexico get it right?

In Taos this summer, we needed some late-afternoon refreshment and I’d heard good things about the Cowboy Buddha margarita at the Taos Inn, a rambling old adobe building right on the main drag. Luckily we snagged a table on the patio which overlooks the busy Paseo del Pueblo Norte and has the best people-watching in town.

The waitress brought us two tall, frosty glasses of the smoothest, freshest, most perfectly balanced margaritas. Oh yeah, they were strong, too! We sat there sipping them, the sun on our faces, watching the eclectic mix around us-  grey-haired hippies (Is there any other kind?), Taoseños sharing gossip, French tourists and two friendly dogs. Sigh…Not bad for an August afternoon.

But the news gets better. The Taos Inn lists its margarita ingredients on the menu, so it didn’t take us long to recreate the drink at home.  The secret? Simplicity. Just tequila, Cointreau and lime juice. But what makes our recipe different- and maybe, MAYBE even better than the Taos version, is the chile-salt which rims the glass. Yes, you should use New Mexico chile powder! We always have a bag from the Chile Shop on hand, but in a pinch any chipotle or even cayenne powder would do.


Author: Adapted from [url href=”” target=”_blank”]Doc Martin’s at the Taos Inn[/url]
Serves: 1
  • 2 ounces Herradura Silver tequila
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Chile Salt:
  • 1 tablespoon fleur de sel or other good, coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexico red chile powder (may substitute other dried chile pepper, but adjust for hotness)
  1. Mix tequila, Cointreau and lime juice in ice-filled shaker. Pour over ice into glass rimmed with chile salt.
Chile Salt:
  1. Mix fleur de sel and chile powder and put in saucer. Moisten rim of glass and place rim-side down into salt.

Herradura tequila


Looking for something substantial to eat with your Red Chile Margarita? Why not try our Carnitas,  tender shredded pork with just a hint of coconut…




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here