Mexican Martini

The Mexican Martini is the margarita-martini mash-up you never knew you needed. This savory yet slightly sweet cocktail is a must to mix up your next taco night.

Two dirty martinis in classic glasses garnished with olives and lime wedges, served on a white surface with extra olives and lime slices nearby.

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Mexican Martini recipe

I love a good fusion drink. There’s the beermosa, a beer crossed with a mimosa. And there’s a champagne mule, a Moscow mule crossed with champagne. Then there’s the Corona sunrise, a tequila sunrise mixed with a beer.

I’ve got another one for you to try: the Mexican Martini. It’s not a martini, and it’s not quite a margarita either. It falls somewhere in the middle.

If you love, margaritas and martinis, (and by martinis, I mean the original kind with gin or vodka, not the versions with sweet liqueurs), then you will love the Mexican Martini.

This mashup of a margarita and a martini is unconventional, but it’s actually quite delicious.

More savory drink recipes: Cucumber MartiniDill Pickle MartiniBloody Caesar

Two martini glasses with olive and lime garnish, surrounded by additional olives and lime slices on a white surface.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Martini lovers who are also margarita lovers, you’re going to love this best-of-both-worlds cocktail:

  • It’s savory but with a slightly sweet edge. It’s good, I promise.
  • With just five ingredients, it’s easy to shake up.
  • You can customize it how you like! Try it with more or less olive brine, different types of tequila or non-alcoholic spirits.
Top view of a martini garnished with olives and lime on a skewer, beside a bowl of olives and lime slices.

What is a Mexican Martini?

The Mexican Martini is a mashup cocktail consisting of some martini ingredients mixed with classic margarita elements.

It’s more similar to a classic martini, but made with tequila instead of the typical gin or vodka, plus lime juice, orange liqueur, orange juice and olive brine. But you could also say it’s a margarita served in a martini glass.

The drink was invented in Austin, Texas in the 1980s, but where in Austin is another story. Austin’s Cedar Door bar claims to have invented the drink, but some say it hails from the famous Trudy’s Tex-Mex restaurant. Trudy’s Mexican Martini is — in true Texan fashion — big. It serves four and comes in a giant cocktail shaker.

The drink has grown popular throughout Austin, Texas and beyond. According to Food & Wine, this Tex-Mex Martini goes by a few other names at other locales: Matt’s Knockout Martini at Matt’s El Rancho, the Almatini at El Alma and the Perfect Texas ‘Tini at Chuy’s.

A martini garnished with a lime wedge and an olive on a cocktail pick, served next to a bowl of olives and lime slices on a white background.

Tools & glassware

Most martinis are made in a mixing glass, but the drink comes together in a cocktail shaker, so you’ll need a jigger and a strainer.

Serve the drink in a martini glass, of course. Or go for stemless martini glasses. Rocks glasses and margarita glasses could work too.

 
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Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • tequila: A blanco tequila, AKA silver tequila, is crisp and has a clear color, perfect for mixing in this cocktail. We like Tito’s and Lunazul lately. You can also use a reposado tequila or an añejo tequila.
  • orange liqueur: Any clear orange liqueur will work. You can keep it simple with triple sec or go top shelf with Cointreau or Grand Marnier.
  • lime juice: Fresh is best! Keep in mind the store-bought stuff is a bit more tart than fresh lime juice, but it will definitely work.
  • orange juice: As splash of OJ gives this recipe a slightly sweet twist.
  • olive brine: The things that make this most like a dirty martini are the olives and a splash of their salty brine from the jar. My faves are Castelvetrano olives, but you could also try blue-cheese stuffed olives.
A hand placing a skewer with an olive and lime slice into a martini glass filled with a yellow cocktail, with another similar drink and a bottle in the background.

Garnishes

Finish off the cocktail with the best of its predecessors: a pretty garnish of green olives and a lime wedge.

The drink can be served in a salt-rimmed martini glass, if you like. However, I think the olive brine adds enough salty flavor to the drink, but you do you!

Two martini glasses filled with a yellow cocktail, garnished with lime slices and olives on skewers, placed on a white surface.

Variations and substitutions

Mix things up with one of these variations:

Spicy Mexican Martini: Use jalapeño tequila instead of plain for a spicy margarita twist.

Dirty Mexican Martini: Add a little extra olive brine and a couple extra olives. A salty rim would make it just a tad saltier, too.

Sweeter Mexican Martini: If you like yours to have a little more sweetness, add ¼ to ½ ounce simple syrup or agave nectar.

Non-alcoholic Mexican Martini: Substitute a zero-proof spirit like Seedlip Agave or Ritual tequila alternative for the tequila, and omit the triple sec to make a mocktail version.

Instructions

Here’s how to make this Mexican martini recipe:

A person pours water from a measuring cup into a textured glass on a white background.
A person pours a viscous, translucent liquid from a metal measuring cup into a clear glass.

To an ice-filled shaker, add the tequila and lime juice.

Hand pouring orange juice from a small pitcher into a textured glass on a white background.
A person pours a clear liquid from a measuring cup into a glass filled with a yellow beverage, set against a white background.

Then add the orange juice, Cointreau and green olive brine.

A hand pressing down on the gold lid of a cocktail shaker filled with a yellow liquid, set against a white background.
A hand pouring a cocktail from a golden shaker into a glass, isolated on a white background.

Shake well to combine and chill the ingredients. Then strain the drink into a martini glass and garnish with green olives and a lime wedge.

Two martinis garnished with lime wedges and olives on skewers, surrounded by lime slices and a bowl of olives on a white surface.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • For more olive flavor, add the olives to the glass before pouring in the drink mixture.
  • Experiment with different types of olives to find your favorite brine and garnish.
  • To make Mexican martinis for a crowd, you can stir up a big batch and serve them from a large pitcher. You can also stash it in the fridge to have Mexican Martinis ready to drink all week long.

Food pairings

Martinis are a great happy hour drink before a meal, especially because they are savory cocktails. Enjoy them with appetizers like marinated cheese or a charcuterie board.

But since they’re Mexican, serve them for your next taco night with Texan-style pulled pork tacos or a casual snack of chips and pineapple salsa.

A martini glass filled with a yellow cocktail garnished with a lime slice and an olive on a skewer, set on a white surface.

FAQ

What are the best olives for a Mexican martini?

Castelvetrano olives have a mild, buttery and salty flavor that works beautifully in a savory martini. You can also use Manzanilla, Picholine or Losada olives.

What is a Mexican Martini?

The Mexican Martini is a cocktail blending martini and margarita elements – a tequila martini with lime juice, orange liqueur, orange juice, and olive brine, essentially a margarita served in a martini glass.

More tequila drink recipes

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

Two dirty martinis in classic glasses garnished with olives and lime wedges, served on a white surface with extra olives and lime slices nearby.

Mexican Martini

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Originating in the vibrant bars of Texas, the Mexican Martini has become a favorite for its unique flavor and festive spirit.
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce orange juice
  • ½ ounce olive brine
  • 2-3 green olives for garnish
  • 1 lime wedge for garnish

instructions

  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, orange juice and olive brine. Shake well to combine and chill the ingredients.
  • Pour into a martini glass.
  • Garnish with green olives and a lime wedge.

notes

Optional salt rim: The drink can also have a salt rim, if you like. However, I think the olive brine adds enough salty flavor to the drink, but you do you!
Adjusting the olive flavor: For more olive flavor, add a splash more olive brine. You can also add olives to the glass before pouring in the drink mixture. For less olive flavor, simply use less olive brine. 
Best olives: Experiment with different types of olives to find your favorite brine and garnish. My faves are Castelvetrano olives. Here are some other varieties to try: 
  • Manzanilla olives: Spanish olives with a nutty, smoky flavor
  • Castelvetrano olives: Sicilian olives with a large with a buttery, salty flavor
  • Picholine olives: French olives with a mild, slightly fruity flavor
  • Losada olives: Spanish olives with a meaty, salty flavor
Make Mexican martinis for a crowd: Stir up a big batch and serve them from a large pitcher. You can also stash it in the fridge to have Mexican Martinis ready to drink all week long. To make 8 drinks, you’ll need:
  • 2 cups tequila
  • 1 cup Cointreau
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup olive brine
  • ~24 green olives, for garnish
  • 8 lime wedges (2 limes cut into 4 wedges)

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 drink

amount per serving:

Serving: 1ounce Calories: 243kcal Carbohydrates: 13g Protein: 0.3g Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0.2g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 540mg Potassium: 75mg Fiber: 0.4g Sugar: 11g Vitamin A: 74IU Vitamin C: 16mg Calcium: 10mg Iron: 0.1mg
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