Perfecting the Italian Margarita: A Simple Recipe

Published November 11, 2021
Italian Margarita



  1. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, tequila, amaretto, lime juice, orange liqueur, and agave nectar.
  2. Shake to chill.
  3. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice.
  4. Garnish with lime wheel.

Variations and Substitutions

The Italian margarita doesn't have a strict recipe to follow, so you can dream of new ways to improve and shake it up in the best way possible for you.

  • For a less booze-forward taste, add three ounces of a homemade sour mix: equal parts freshly squeezed lime juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  • Swap orange liqueur for freshly squeezed orange juice.
  • Skip the agave and add an extra quarter to half-ounce of orange liqueur.
  • If you want a stronger almond flavor, use an ounce to ounce and a half of tequila and an ounce and a half of amaretto.
  • Include a dash or two of almond bitters to punch up the almond flavors without overwhelming sweetness.


You have other garnish options if the lime wheel doesn't work for you or your Italian margarita aspirations.

  • Instead of a lime wheel, use a lime slice or wedge.
  • If you want a pop of color without too much additional flavor, use a citrus peel or ribbon. This can be done by using a lemon, orange, lime, or even grapefruit.
  • Likewise, a dehydrated citrus wheel keeps the citrus touch without altering the profile of the cocktail.
  • Add a sugar rim for a sweeter taste. To do so, rub the rim of the glass with a lime wedge. With the sugar on a saucer, dip either half or the entire rim in the sugar to evenly coat.

About the Italian Margarita

When the margarita first surged onto the scene in the early 1900s, thanks to Prohibition in America and the free-flowing and easily acquired tequila in Mexico, few, if any, could've imagined the riffs this cocktail would eventually generate.

The Italian margarita is one of the more modern spins on the margarita, and Olive Garden is credited with the popularization of this twist. Where this drink veers from the classic is the use of amaretto, or almond, liqueur, in addition to the traditional margarita ingredients.

It's understandable that the addition of amaretto would raise some eyebrows, but the almond flavors blend perfectly into a margarita, giving a savory, earthy flavor to a typically tart cocktail.

Almond Meets Margarita

Don't miss out on an exquisite margarita riff because the ingredients make you hesitate. The rich and complex flavors fully transform the Italian margarita into an entirely new drink.

Perfecting the Italian Margarita: A Simple Recipe