6 Local Bartenders Share Their Margarita Recipes

This week we return with the seventh edition of our ongoing bartender series, with an exclusive focus on margaritas in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Go here for week oneweek two, week threeweek four, week five and week six.

READ: 12 Restaurants Where You Can Get Tacos, Tequila and More To-Go For Cinco de Mayo

As service industry workers struggle to get a foothold in these uncertain times, various services have popped up to assist those who are struggling. This website allows people to tip a randomized staff member when they have a drink. We will also be including Venmo handles of the involved bartenders below if anyone wants to tip them personally. 

Cara Frink – Bar Manager at Comida

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Location: Comida is located in Stanley Marketplace at 2501 Dallas St., Denver. It is open Wednesday – Sunday 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Recipe: Comida Margarita
1 1/2 oz blanco tequila (I like Altos Blanco for this!)
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 oz fresh lemon juice 

Pour into a cocktail shaker with fresh ice and shake it like you mean it. If you like, salt the rim of your favorite marg glass and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a juicy green lime.

Reason: Oh man, I love it because it is simple and fresh and represents everything that we do here at Comida. It’s not too sweet or tart. And it’s perfect without any bells or whistles.

Venmo Handle: @Cara-Frink-1


Nino Razon – General Manager at Bartaco

Bartaco Margarita. Photo courtesy of Bartaco.

Location: Bartaco is located at 1048 Pearl St., Boulder. It is open every day from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Recipe: Bartaco Margarita

1 1/2 oz Libélula Joven
1 oz triple sec (I like Combier)
1 1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz agave simple syrup
Salt for rim (if you like)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker, fill the shaker with ice. Shake, shake, shake. Shake again. Then shake once more. Rim a rocks glass well with salt — if you like, not necessary. Fill the glass with ice and strain cocktail into the glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Reason: The Bartaco margarita is the perfect representation of our concept and who we are. A mix of bold flavors from exclusive Libélula Joven tequila, Combier, agave nectar, and hand-squeezed lime juice symbolizes our attention to detail and our one of a kind atmosphere. You’re guaranteed to fall in love with this margarita.

Venmo Handle: Razon asked that anyone hoping to tip consider purchasing a gift card, with all funds going to employees.


Matthew King – Bar Manager at Bonfire Burritos

Location: Bonfire Burritos is located at 2221 Ford St., Golden. It is open every day from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Recipe: Grandma’s Marg

2 oz Exotico Tequila
2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz apricot brandy
1/2 oz agave nectar
salt (optional)
Combine ingredients with ice and shake. Strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with a lime or a slice of jalapeno.

Reason: This margarita is inspired by my grandmother who passed away last year at the age of 92, and enjoyed the simplicity of this margarita any time of day. This is my go-to margarita at home because it is straightforward, fresh and can be enjoyed along with the trails, the tailgate or the tacos — perhaps an afternoon at grandma’s with a nice puzzle. Mix a batch for your elders. Choose a bold tequila that will stand up to the subtle and sour notes that the brandy and lime juice contribute. For a spicy variety, muddle a jalapeno.

Venmo Handle: TBA


Jen Broyles – Managing Partner at Lola Coastal Mexican

Lola Q Coin Margarita. Photo courtesy of Lola Coastal Mexican.

Location: Lola Coastal Mexican is located at 1575 Boulder St., Denver. It is not currently open for regular business but is hosting a series of pop-ups including one on Cinco de Mayo.

Recipe: Lola Q Coin Margarita

1 1/4 oz El Tesoro Tequila (or silver tequila of your choice)
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz agave nectar
1 1 inch-thick wheel of cucumber
orange wedge
In a shaker, muddle cucumber and agave nectar. Add ice, tequila, lime juice and orange wedge. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with an orange wedge and a cucumber peel twist.

Reason: This iconic Big Red F drink was created more than a decade ago and has been a Lola staple ever since. A blend of silver tequila, fresh muddled cucumber, orange, agave and lime — it’s an incredibly refreshing and crisp take on the classic marg. I chose this drink not only because it’s such a fan-favorite, but because it’s a super easy and complex tasting cocktail to make at home with grocery store ingredients. All you need is a bottle of tequila — no orange liqueur or any additional bottles needed.

Venmo Handle: @BigRedF-Fund. Any proceeds that go to this will go to the Big Red F family fund 4013c. The money in this fund is distributed to employees in need via grants, at the sole discretion of a Fund Board made up of BRF peers.

Erich Whisenhunt –  Food and Beverage Director at Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

Hibiscus Margarita. Photo courtesy of Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant.

Location: Rio Grande has five locations across the front range. Each one is open every day from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Recipe: Hibiscus Margarita

2 oz hibiscus infused tequila* 
1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice 
1 oz simple syrup
lime for garnish
Measure all ingredients into a mixing glass except the lime for garnish. Hand shake. Pour into a glass of your choice and garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.
Hibiscus-Infused Tequila
1 750 ml bottle of tequila (we prefer Maestro Dobel Diamante Tequila)
1/2 oz dried hibiscus flowers (You can find hibiscus online or at a specialty food store)
Pour tequila over hibiscus flowers in a glass jar. Screw on the top and let sit for at least 24 hours and no more than three weeks. Strain out the hibiscus and enjoy.

Reason: The hibiscus adds a tart, bright, floral element as well as a vibrant beautiful color to a classic margarita. The key to a great drink is that it is well balanced, contains at least one high-quality ingredient and is freshly prepared. Additionally, this cocktail clocks in at less than 200 calories, making a great lighter drinking option.

Venmo Handle: Whisenhunt asked that anyone hoping to tip donate to Colorado Restaurant Association’s Angel Relief Fund.

Leo Dunaev – General Manager at Dos Santos

Lemon Rosemary Ginger Margarita. Photo courtesy of Dos Santos.

Location: Dos Santos is located at 1475 East 17th Ave., Denver. It is open Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Recipe: Lemon Rosemary Ginger Margarita

2 oz Arette (or Blanco tequila of your choice)
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz lemon-ginger simple syrup
garnish with candied ginger, candied rosemary or a lime
Fresh lime and lemon juice. This is something that no self-respecting quarantine drinker should be cutting corners on. Get some limes, and for this recipe get some lemons too, juice those babies, and sip easy knowing you are going for the freshest drink that you’ve earned. 
Ginger Simple Syrup
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup of water,
4oz of ginger
4 sprigs of rosemary
Bring sugar and water to a very light simmer and add in ginger and rosemary. Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes and then take it off the heat and let it steep for 45-60 minutes.

Reason: I love this cocktail. Super easy to make, refreshing and perfect to sip on during this — finally — summer weather. An excellent choice to stave away cabin fever and pretend you are kicking it on a beach in Cozumel.

Venmo Handle: @Leo-Dunaev. All proceeds from tips will go to hospital workers at Saint Joseph Hospital. 

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