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The Salt Air Margarita: A Modern Twist on a Classic Cocktail

If you’re a margarita maven, a contemporary adaptation of this beloved concoction might seize your fancy. The salt air margarita, an ingenious creation by Chef José Andrés, marries the comfort of the familiar with the thrill of the new. This avant-garde twist on the perennial margarita promises a sensory extravaganza that leaves you with an insatiable longing for the next sip.

Origin of the salt air margarita

This enticing spin on the salt air margarita emerged from the culinary genius of Chef José Andrés, first introduced at the Bazaar Mar nestled in the heart of SLS Brickell in Miami, Florida. A vision of frothy ocean waves kissing the sandy shoreline provided the muse for a less intense alternative to the salt-rimmed traditional version.

The pedigree of the classic margarita remains clouded in contention. One of the oldest references harks back to 1945, courtesy of a Jose Cuervo advertisement proclaiming, “Margarita: it’s more than a girl’s name.” Among potential creators are a Tijuana bartender, Danny Herrera, who reportedly crafted it for the actress Marjorie King in 1938, and a Dallas socialite, Margarita Sames, who brewed it for her Acapulco friends in 1948.

A salt air margarita revitalizes the classic with an effervescent topping of salty foam concocted from simple salt, fresh lime juice, and the power of an immersion blender. This “salt air” lends the margaritas a textural dimension and playful twist, complementing the cocktail’s tequila, fresh lime juice, and orange liqueur backbone.

The saline foam’s nuanced taste harmonizes exquisitely with the lime’s tartness and the tequila’s subtle bitterness, establishing a symphony of flavors. The salt air margarita is as versatile as it is delightful, accommodating a variety of flavors like strawberry and mango and exotic salts like smoked or pink Himalayan salt, inviting an infinite palette of gustatory adventures.

What is the purpose of a salt rim on a margarita?

A salt rim on a margarita is not just a decorative touch but a way to enhance the flavor and aroma of the drink. Salt can reduce the perception of bitterness and increase the perception of sweetness and sourness in our taste buds. What this means for your margarita is that a salted rim helps to counteract any bitterness from the orange liqueur or the tequila, enhancing both the drink’s sweet and sour notes. What’s more, the taste of salt somehow enhances our sense of smell, which makes the cocktail seem to have a more powerful taste. Adding a salt rim to your margarita contrasts textures and temperatures as you sip the cold liquid and crunch the coarse crystals that make the salt air. Salting the rim of your margarita is a simple way to elevate your drinking experience.

How to make a salt air margarita

To create this margarita recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ounces Blanco tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce Cointreau or another triple sec
  • Ice
  • 4 ounces water
  • 2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sucrose (a powdered emulsifier)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Follow these steps to make the drink:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice, then shake vigorously to combine.
  2. Strain the mixture into a chilled coupe or martini glass.
  3. Combine water, additional lime juice, sugar, and salt in a separate container. Using an immersion blender or a hand mixer with a whisk attachment, blend the mixture while whisking constantly until bubbles form.
  4. Gently spoon the salty foam, or salt air, on top of the margarita. Serve immediately, and enjoy your margarita!

The salt air margarita pairs well with various foods, such as spicy tacos, chili, ceviche, shrimp cocktail, grilled chicken, or steak. The unique texture and flavor of the salt air foam add a memorable touch to any meal.


The salt air margaritas, a modern twist on a classic cocktail, has become a favorite among enthusiasts of cocktails and foodies. Whether you’re sipping one at a Las Vegas bar, like Bazaar Mar by José Andrés, or making it at home, this cocktail is a delightful drink that will leave you wanting more. So go ahead, take a sip, and let the waves of salt foam transport you to a refreshing ocean getaway.

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