A good margarita is liquid salvation.

A bad margarita...well, we've all been there. Sour mix situations. Tropical fruit follies. Don't even get us started on those slushy-machine monstrosities.

Jeret Peña, owner of San Antonio craft cocktail den The Brooklynite (yes, the Brooklynization of the universe is now complete) and the soon-to-open The Last Word, has the simple solution: Don't mess with the marg so much.

Jeret Peña with his libation of choice

"A classic margarita is something that's beautiful in its own way," Peña says. "Most people don't realize that the margarita is a variation of the Daisy, which calls for citrus, orange liqueur and a spirit--in this case, tequila. 'Margarita' actually means 'daisy.'"

The margarita Peña serves at The Brooklynite, the La Doña, is made with Tapatio tequila blanco, fresh Key lime juice and Cointreau (see the recipe). It's also one of the best we've sipped.


Despite his traditionalist views, Peña isn't afraid of a few fancypants flourishes: Honey syrup adds a touch of sweetness; each drink is finished with a few drops of an árbol chile tincture.

Lastly, instead of a salt rim, which he finds overpowering, Peña sprays a saltwater-vodka essence into each glass using an atomizer.

Peña explains, "Much like salt adds flavor to food, it brings out the flavor of the drink."

All that flavor with no salty crunch. Pour us another.