Melanie’s Mighty Tasty Mexican Martini


We lived in Texas for 12 years and to this day, I frequently crave a good Mexican Martini. For the uninitiated, it’s a margarita, but with the addition of olive juice and a lot more tequila. The extra tequila translates to an oft maligned rule: most places cut you off after two or three. This rule is so common, it’s included on the menus of restaurants that enforce it. I came to appreciate the rule after seeing the effect more than two or three had on many a good drinker. This beverage is not to be toyed with, y’all.

My cravings for Mexican Martinis have diminished in the nearly seven years we’ve been in New Orleans, due to lack of quick access to my favorite Austin-grown Tex-Mex chain and Mexican Martini purveyor, Chuy’s. In a cruel twist of fate however, I found myself craving one the other day. It was cruel, because I am doing Dry July for health and to raise money for the Dry July Foundation, which provides assistance to people with cancer and their caregivers. (Click here if you’d like to learn more or donate. Even $1 makes a huge difference!)

In anticipation of Dry July, I ordered a bottle of zero proof Ritual Tequila Alternative. I did the New Orleans Eat Fit Alcohol Free for 40 Challenge during Lent and taste tested mocktails, non-alcoholic beers and wines and a few zero proof spirits, with Ritual’s gin alternative quickly leading the charge, so this time around, I was eager to try the brand’s tequila alternative. It did not disappoint. It smells and tastes like a spicy, smoky tequila. I was concerned that the smoke and spice would change the flavor of the Mexican Martini in a way that I wouldn’t like, but in reality, the spice enhanced it and the smoke flavor blended to the point of disappearing. It was so good, I’m mixing up another one for a tele-happy hour with my bestie, whom I met in Austin and who now lives in Mobile, Alabama. I told her and my friend Dutch, a Houston-native, about the Mexican Martini and both thought it sounded delicious and expressed interest in the recipe, so I thought rather than just share the love with them, I’d share it with you, too. If I can spread the joy of Mexican Martinis, it’s my duty to do so. Feel free to use either full-proof or zero-proof tequila in the same amounts. But, if you go with the real stuff, I highly recommend cutting yourself off after two. As Ti Martin and Lally Brennan of Commander’s Palace assert regarding their infamous .25 cent martinis, “that’s enough.” There are countless recipe variations out there for this cocktail. This is mine, but feel free to experiment!


Melanie’s Mighty Tasty Mexican Martini


  • 3 ounces of your favorite tequila or tequila alternative
  • 1 ½ ounces of Cointreau, your favorite orange liquor or (if you are alcohol free), about six to eight shakes of orange essential oil or orange extract
  • 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce green-olive brine from the jar or to taste (I like a lot and generally add more to taste even after the full ounce)
  • a splash of fresh orange juice (optional)
  • lime wedges and olives (I like jalapeño or blue cheese-stuffed olives for this drink) for garnish



Chill a martini glass by adding ice and water to the glass and letting it sit while you mix the cocktail. Add ice, tequila or tequila alternative, Cointreau or substitute, lime juice and olive brine to a shaker. Gently swirl or stir to cool and combine. Toss the ice water and, if you’d like, salt the rim of the martini glass. Strain mixture into glass and garnish with olive and lime wedge.





If you try it or if you have a Mexican Martini recipe you’d like to share, pop it in comments or email me at





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