Shake up a refreshing homemade pineapple margarita for a refreshing change this summer. Try both options: with tequila or with smoky mezcal.
Why you’ll love it: Margaritas are easy to make (even without a mix) and you’ll love both options: smoky or not. Make individual cocktails or stir up a pitcher.
How long it takes: 5 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: cocktail shaker
Servings: 1 (with instructions for a pitcher, too)
This is such a fun and refreshing summer cocktail! The spicy rim contrasts perfectly with the sweet pineapple juice. It reminds me a little bit of my spicy Paloma recipe (if you haven’t tried that one yet, you’re gonna want to add it to your list).
I just love the slower pace of summer. The kids are finished with school so there’s no worry about homework and getting to bed on time. Warm starry evenings beckon us outside, and often neighbors will wander over and join us around a softly crackling fire. Conversation is quiet, slow-paced, with lots of laughter mixed in.
A frosty cocktail and something to nibble on are always welcome, too. I love testing new recipes on my neighbors and they don’t seem to mind a bit. We love this pineapple margarita and I think you will, too!
By the way, don’t forget the kids or those who don’t care to imbibe. They’ll love refreshing pineapple water (pineapple agua fresca) especially if it’s garnished with a wedge of fresh pineapple and maybe a spicy rim, too.
About this Margarita
The recipe can be made two ways: with tequila or with mezcal. Each has a distinctive flavor and it’s fun to try both for comparison.
Experiment with rim embellishments and garnishes. A cocktail is a feast for the eyes as well as your tastebuds. The garnish and rim enhancements are the entry to the cocktail; the smell and flavor precede the first sip and color the experience.
If you want to make a pitcher of cocktails, you’ll find that this recipe is easily adapted to make a larger quantity (see recipe notes). You can do it ahead of time and skip the cocktail shaker since the mixture is already chilled.
What you’ll need
- Tequila or Mezcal: For a more traditional margarita, choose tequila, either blanco (silver) or reposado which is aged for a smoother flavor. If you want to try something a little different, try mezcal which has a unique smoky flavor.
- Triple Sec (Orange Liqueur): Many margarita recipes contain triple sec which is made from dried orange peels. It’s also found in other cocktails like Long Island iced tea, Sidecars, Cosmopolitans, sangria, and more.
- Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice is always better-tasting than bottled juice.
- Pineapple Juice: For the best flavor, look for fresh pineapple juice in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. Canned pineapple juice works, too; I’ve used both with good results.
- Agave Syrup: Look for light agave syrup which is nearly colorless. It has a very mild flavor and is often used in cocktails. It’s usually found in the baking aisle.
- Chili Powder or Tajín Seasoning: For the rim of the glass, choose your favorite chili powder, or try Tajín Seasoning. I would definitely recommend the Tajín Seasoning — it goes really well with this margarita. If you prefer salt or coarse sugar on the rim of your glass, that’s totally cool, too.
- Ice Cubes: I prefer ice cubes for an “on the rocks” margarita because crushed ice melts too quickly, diluting the cocktail; however, it’s your choice.
What Is the Difference Between Tequila and Mezcal?
According to Food & Wine, tequila is a type of mezcal, much like chardonnay is a type of wine. Mezcal is an alcoholic beverage that is made from any agave plant (and there are more than 40 varieties of agave). Tequila is also made from agave but only from one kind: Blue Weber Agave.
The distillation process is different, too. To make mezcal, the agave is roasted first which gives it a distinctive smoky flavor. Not all mezcals taste the same; there can be a very discernible difference between batches.
That’s a very “distilled” explanation. There’s lots more to be said but I think it’s time to move on to cocktails!
How To Make a Pineapple Margarita
Make sure you have plenty of fresh ice on hand. Nothing’s worse than stale ice in a cocktail, or worse yet, no ice! You’ll need a pretty good-sized glass; the cocktail is 6 ounces plus ice.
If you’d like to garnish your cocktail with a wedge of fresh pineapple (as pictured), make sure the wedges are cut and ready to go.
The first step is to rim the glass (or glasses) with the colorful chili powder or Tajín Seasoning. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of the spice on a plate or shallow bowl. Rub the edge of the glass with a bit of agave syrup and then roll the edge in the spice, making sure to cover it all the way around.
Put a few ice cubes into the glass and set it aside. Put a few more ice cubes into your cocktail shaker.
Add the tequila (or mezcal), triple sec, lime juice, pineapple juice, and agave to the shaker.
Cover and shake for twenty seconds or so, until the cocktail is chilled.
Remove the cover and pour the cocktail into the prepared glass.
Changes You Can Make
- Adjust the sweetness: It’s easy to make this cocktail a little sweeter or not as sweet. Add an extra ounce of pineapple juice to make it a little sweeter, or increase the agave syrup. Agave syrup is sweeter than sugar or honey so be careful not to add too much. If you prefer a more tart cocktail, omit the agave.
- Rim options: You can rim the glass with chili powder, Tajín Seasoning, coarse salt, or sugar (or a mixture), or you can choose to leave the rim unadorned.
- Make a frozen margarita: Place all the ingredients in a blender, including the ice, and process until smooth and slushy.
- Not a fan of pineapple? Try my strawberry margarita punch or a cranberry margarita.
Make Ahead & Storage Tips
Stir up a pitcher: If you’re expecting a crowd, combine the ingredients (without the ice) in a pitcher or covered container, and chill the mixture in the refrigerator up to 8 hours in advance. I’ve already done the math for you; you’ll find the measurements on the recipe card. You won’t need a cocktail shaker to serve it; simply pour the chilled mixture over rocks.
- 2 oz. tequila or mezcal
- 1 oz. triple sec or another orange liqueur
- ½ oz. lime juice
- 3 oz. pineapple juice (or up to 4 oz., depending on how sweet you like it)
- ½ oz. agave syrup, plus additional for rim
- chili powder or Tajín seasoning (see note)
- ice cubes
- Spread Tajin seasoning or chili powder onto a flat small plate.
- Use a bit of agave syrup to moisten the rim of the glass. Dip the rim of the glass into the seasonings on the plate, making sure the rim is evenly covered.
- Add a few ice cubes to glass and set aside.
- In a cocktail shaker, add ice, mezcal, triple sec, lime juice, and pineapple juice and shake well for about 20 seconds until the cocktail is cold.
- Strain into a glass, garnish with pineapple slices and serve. Enjoy!
- For best flavor, use fresh pineapple juice.
- Rim the glass with sugar or salt, instead of chili powder or Tajín seasoning, for a more traditional margarita.
- Mezcal has a smoky taste that pairs perfectly with the pineapple but this drink is also delicious made with tequila.
- To Make a Pitcher (8 servings) Mix ingredients in pitcher or covered container and chill for up to 8 hours. Prepare rims and add ice cubes to 8 glasses, fill with margarita mix, and serve.
- 16 oz. tequila (2 cups)
- 8 oz. triple sec (1 cup)
- 4 oz. lime juice (½ cup)
- 24 oz. pineapple juice (3 cups), more to taste
- 4 oz. agave syrup (½ cup), plus extra for rims
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Tajin is a trademarked product. Tajin is a proprietary brand that I want to acknowledge and give credit to. This post is not directly affiliated with them other than their product being perfect for this recipe.