Devil’s Margarita Recipe

A tequila version of the classic New York Sour, with a striking presentation and a balance of sweet, sour, and earthy flavors.

Devil's Margarita Recipe

If a Margarita and a New York Sour had a baby, it would have to be the visually stunning Devil’s Margarita. This twist on the classic Margarita is made with blanco tequila, simple syrup, and fresh lime juice, served up and topped with a red wine float. It’s the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and boozy.

The origin of this cocktail is unknown, but one can see how a bartender on a slow shift could have thought to switch the whiskey for tequila. Or perhaps a bar patron requested the change, as I have done before when asking for a Mezcal Negroni. However, a cocktail doesn’t need a fancy origin story as long as it is delicious, and the Devil’s Margarita certainly is.

This lovely cocktail is made with blanco tequila, which boasts notes of citrus and pepper that go well with a full bodied red wine. Fresh lime juice is key, as it’s the main flavor profile of the drink. Using simple syrup as sweetener instead of orange liqueur enhances the lime flavor.

The simple syrup should be made with a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water, heated until the sugar dissolves, then cooled. Stored in the fridge in a glass jar or bottle, the syrup will last for up to a year, but chances are you will use it quicker once you make this cocktail the first time.

Because of its blood red float, it has become a popular cocktail choice for a Halloween party. But it is such a pretty, refreshing cocktail that it should be served whenever it strikes your fancy.

How to Make the Red Wine Float?

That’s an excellent question. To ensure the cocktail layers properly, hold a bar spoon upside down over the glass. Slowly pour the red wine over the back of the spoon so the wine remains on the top of the cocktail. Do not stir after adding the red wine to maintain the layering effect. Pouring the red wine into a smaller, more manageable vessel such as a measuring cup with a spout might make things easier. It may require a bit of practice, but once you master the technique you can make any number of layered cocktails to impress your guests.

What is the Best Alcohol to Use to Make a Devil’s Margarita?

Use a 100% Blue Weber agave tequila blanco that you like to drink on its own. I can’t emphasize this enough — quality matters when it comes to tequila, or any liquor for that matter. Your cocktail will only be as good as the ingredients you use. For the red wine, any brand and varietal that you enjoy and is under $10 will suffice; you don’t have to go expensive here, but think full body and flavor. Cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, zinfandel, or merlot are all great choices for flavor and color effect.

Devil's Margarita Recipe
Servings 1
5 minutes


  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila preferably blanco
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce red wine Cabernet Sauvignon or a similar full-bodied red wine works best
  • Garnish with a lime slice.


  • In a shaker filled with ice, add tequila, lime juice and simple syrup. Shake until well combined and chilled.
    Devil's Margarita Recipe
  • Strain the mixture into a coupe glass.
    Devil's Margarita Recipe
  • Slowly pour the red wine it over the back of a spoon held just above the drink’s surface so it floats to form a layer at the top. Garnish with a lime slice (optional).
    Devil's Margarita Recipe


Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Devil's Margarita Recipe

FAQs & Tips

Devil's Margarita Recipe

Devil’s Margarita Variations

  • Classic Margarita: Tequila, fresh lime, and orange liqueur combine for the timeless classic.
  • New York Sour: The traditional Whiskey Sour, enhanced with a float of red wine.
  • Tommy’s Margarita: Swap the simple syrup for agave nectar for this rich version of Mexico’s most famous cocktail.
  • Mezcal Margarita: Add a smoky mezcal instead of tequila for a cool variation.

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