Key Lime Margarita

Every so often, I’ll re-read a random part from “A Moveable Feast” By Ernst Hemingway and it makes me want to have a cocktail. Hemingway, lived in Key West after his time in Cuba during the 1930s. I believe it is cruel torture to make high school students read Hemingway and not be able to drink during it. All of his stories taste better with a cocktail. Even though Margaritas have nothing to do with Hemingway, A Key Lime Margarita matches “A Moveable Feast” very well.

A Moveable Feast” is a collection of short stories and scenes about the time that Hemingway spent in Paris. He gives a snapshot of who the Lost Generation Writers really were. We meet Fitzgerald and Ford Maddox in an imperfect way that is really can only be shown by someone who was there. When I was in Paris in 2012, my fiance bought a specific edition of “A Moveable Feast” from Shakespear & Co specifically because of Hemingway and his first wife in front of that book store. If you like a book where someone is talking shit about their contemporaries, read this.

I am aware that Hemingway is known for Mojito and Jack Rose and Daiquiri (is also known as the Papa Doble), but its the Key Limes that make me think of Hemingway.

My favorite Hemingway Fact: During World War II, in France, he stole a tank to liberate his favorite bar in Paris, The Ritz Bar. OK, it wasn’t a “tank” but a “Jeep with a machine gun” which says Tank to me (Source). Be like Hemingway, liberate your bar from the Nazi Forces.

Recipe Notes:

You could use regular limes for this. Normal limes are easier and quicker to juice. They are also less Tart. Key limes are tiny compared to limes. This leads to super tart limes brighten up the drink and remind you you are alive! I like how they do not disappear into the background of the drink but play a key role in it. I juiced 2 pounds of key lime for multiple drinks. You only need 1 oz of juice per drink. But I dare you to stop at one. Don’t use bottled key lime juice. It’s fine for a key lime pie. But you lose that freshness from juicing the key limes. If all you can find is the bottled stuff, it’ll work. Key Limes are not always available.

To make a simple syrup, heat up equal parts of sugar and water in a saucepan and stir until the sugar is absorbed into the water. Set aside to cool a little before shaking the drink. You can make this in advance and keep it in the fridge.

Before adding ingredients into the cocktail shaker, rim the glass with salt or sugar (or a mix of). To rim the glass, take a lime wedge and wet the outside of the chilled glass and roll it in your sugar or salt. When the glass is prepared, shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. You’re going to shake until the cocktail shaker is frosty before pouring the margarita into a chilled glass. I tend to either strain through the lid of the shaker or through a strainer. Sometimes lime pulp gets into the shaker and its not exactly what I’m looking for in the drink.

Tools and Supplies

I’m not going to lie. I can talk your head off about what I like and I don’t like about Bourbon and Rum. Truth is, I have no idea what I’m doing with Tequila. I fully admit, there are better ones out there and there are ones that taste better. I have no idea what they are and just stick to the basic Patrone because he’s easy to find and a good standard. Also, I can get a small bottle in the check out line so that’s a win.

For the Orange Liquor, you can use Cointreau or Triple Sec or any other good Orange Liquor that you enjoy. My Cointreau was on sale after Christmas and was cheaper, that’s why I have this bottle.

I tend to default to my old cooper shaker set. No reason then it feels better in my hands and I’m used to it. Most youtube mixologists and bartenders will use something more like this set.

Key Lime Margarita

A Margarita is a classic recipe that everyone should know how to make. Using Key Lime brings extra tartness that elevates this drink from mundane to unexpected.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 1 Serving


  • Shaker
  • Juicer


  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Orange Liquor
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz Key Lime Juice Fresh Squeezed

Simple Syrup

  • 8 oz water
  • 8 oz Sugar

Sugar/Salt Glass Rim

  • 1 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt


  • To Make the Simple Syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan on medium heat until sugar and water combine into a clear syrup.
  • Juice key limes. Save 1 lime peal
  • In a cocktail shaker, over ice, combine Simple Syrup, Key Lime Juice, Orange Liquor, and Tequila and shake until the shaker is frosted.
  • On a plate, mix together sugar and salts. Run saved lime peal along the outside lip of the glass and dip it in the sugar salt rim the glass.
  • Pour Margarita into rimmed glass, add ice cubes.


Note- If you like saltier rims, add more salt. The Pink Himalayan Sea Salt will give you more of a salty punch.
Keyword Cocktain, Key Lime, Lime, Margarita

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