You Can Try More Than 150 Margarita Flavors At One Cancun Hotel Bar

Even country music star Luke Bryan might be overwhelmed by the impressive number of margaritas on the roster at JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa. The award-winning singer and "American Idol" judge pays homage to the beachy delights of tiki bars and tequila drinks in his hit song "One Margarita," but even he stops at three (plus a shot) — at least according to the lyrics. What makes for an impressive number? How about a whopping 150 — and every single one showcases a different variety of tequila. Why? Perhaps a better question would be, why not? Tequila is Mexico's national spirit; it's also the second best-selling spirit in the United States, and Americans account for a major slice of Cancun's tourism market. Seems like a match made in tiki drink heaven.

When the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, built in 2001, began an extensive renovation in 2019, food and beverage director Guillermo Canto saw an opportunity. He wanted to create a tequila-centric bar with something for everyone. "We thought, what do people want when they come to vacation in Mexico? Tequila," Canto told Food & Wine. "The most famous tequila cocktail has to be the margarita. But we wanted to create a way that would really showcase the variety of tequilas we have here." To bring his vision to life, Canto recruited the entire hospitality team to brainstorm ideas and taste-test their way through myriad combos based, at least loosely, on a classic margarita.

Name that margarita

With a mixologist to help interpret their ideas, Guillermo Canto's team set out to develop a menu of 100 different margaritas, keeping tasting notes and recording anecdotes to build backstories for the beverages. In the end, they exceeded their goal by 50 percent, capping the roster at 150. Each libation is built around a specific variety of tequila. Mezcal is also in the mix. To help patrons navigate the extensive menu, the drinks are divided into four categories — classic, modern, fusion, and exotic — and of course, they offer flights of mini versions for those who want to sample them first.

Margaritas of the classic variety include mainstays like the golden margarita or the skinny margarita, along with fruity twists like strawberry lime or watermelon. The modern category gets a bit more exploratory, with unexpected riffs like the Coffee Rita (Patron Café XO, raspberries, Bailey's, milk, chocolate sauce, and raspberry sauce). Peruse the fusion portion of the menu, and you'll find mash-ups like the Mojirrita, a mojito-meets-margarita blend of Tequila Omega Reposado, mint leaves, lemon juice, orange juice, mezcal, Cointreau, and agave syrup. Margaritas on the exotic roster throw the rule book to the curb with creative takes like Margarita's Toro (El Tesoro de Don Felipe, Red Bull, Cointreau, lemon juice, and simple syrup). "The hardest part was coming up with a name for every single drink," Canto told Food & Wine. "We wanted every drink to have a storytelling element to it, and for the name to tell that story."