What Is The Ideal Ratio For A Mezcal Margarita? We Asked An Expert

Preparing a mezcal margarita sounds simple. Newcomers to the task might assume you simply swap clean, smooth tequila for the warm embrace of smoky roasted agave. However, according to expert mixologists, that's not the case.

Instead of an exact substitution, the tastiest mezcal-based margaritas rely on a blend of the two spirits. Food Republic consulted David Ortiz, Corporate Beverage Director at Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar, for guidance on preparing this refreshing cocktail. "I highly recommend using a split-base mix," Ortiz said.

The term "split-base" refers to making drinks using multiple spirits, rather than a single bottle or type of booze, to form the foundation of a beverage. He recommends a 1:1 ratio of mezcal and 100% Blue Weber blanco tequila to form the backbone of the drink. In other words, use the same amount of each liquor to build the cocktail. This is a boon for seasoned cocktail makers, who likely already sought out the best tequila for making a margarita and can now put it to good use here.

Why experts recommend a split-base mezcal margarita

"Splitting the base" is a technique used by bartenders in a variety of drinks to build complexity and draw out different tasting notes. Though not an unusual concept on today's creative bar menus, split-base drinks are an excellent guiding concept for those eager to whip up a balanced mezcal margarita. Mixologists also employ the idea to concoct mocktail-adjacent sippers, like a lower-proof old fashioned, and more adventurous pairings like sherry and mezcal.

However, we recommend starting with a straightforward blend of smoky and sweet agave. Expert David Ortiz suggests using one ounce of Dos Hombres Mezcal and one ounce of Casa Del Sol Blanco Tequila. Although drinkers can use their bottles of choice, these are two labels that Ortiz believes make for a winning combination. Regardless of the labels you choose, the goal here is to create a mixture that tames and smooths the riot of flavors and smells.

This approach ensures the charred agave doesn't overpower the drink's tangy citrus — or overwhelm newcomers to the alcohol. Tequila and mezcal each have their own tasting notes, so try pairing different bottles to see which combination produces your favorite result. The answer may also change as you experiment with spicy additives or unexpected ingredients, like rhubarb or cucumber. Of course, smoke enthusiasts can ultimately go against the recommendation and use solely mezcal or adjust the ratio, but the result will turn the summer refreshment's easy taste into a more bracing beverage.