Amargarita-Santa Fe Sips

Continuing my exploration of all things margarita.

The standard margarita uses orange liqueur (typically Cointreau) to add another citrus flavor and some sweetness. In this version, adding an orange amaro in place of Cointreau addsa little bitterness that provides a lovely counterbalance to the sweetness of the agave nectar. This is another drink that balances sweet, tart, and bitter flavors. It’s still recognizable as a margarita, is really refreshing, and a cocktail I’d be happy to drink any day.

Amargarita, Matt Mathai, 2022


  • 2 oz Tequila Blanco

  • 0.33 oz Aperol

  • 1 oz Lime juice

  • 0.5 oz Agave nectar

  • Garnish 1 wheel lime

  • Rim Salt (partial)


  • Chill a rocks glass. Salt half the rim.

  • Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker

  • Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds.

  • Strain into the rocks glass

  • Garnish with a lime wheel


  1. As always, use a decent tequila. It makes a difference. I used Fortaleza Blanco

  2. Aperol is a bitter orange liqueur, slightly less confrontational than Campari

  3. Lime juice: freshness matters a great deal, esp. in a cocktail with very few ingredients.


About Matt Mathai

My Santa Fe street cred: almost zero, but I do love it here. My wife and I retired to Santa Fein 2019 after buying our house here in 2012. We lived in Annapolis, MD for many years and had long careers. Mine was in technology - airline communications, healthcare, and online training delivery.


I love to eat good food, although I can do without some of the fussiness of fine dining. Good food to me reflects its cuisine/place of origin, is filling, and doesn’t have to be expensive.

  • From childhood, I’ve traveled (and eaten) all over the world, and when these pandemic restrictions ease, my wife and I will begin traveling again.

  • I have done sports photography professionally for about 15 years, mostly soccer and rugby. I’ve covered league and national team matches in both sports, for both men’s and women’s teams. Whenever I stop doing that, I want to get better at landscape and travel photography. Santa Fe is perfect for that.

  • I used to be a musician - a guitar player and singer. I quit graduate school to play in a band, which really didn’t go over very well with my parents. One day I’ll get back to it, just for myself.

  • I spend way too much time and attention on my dog, Luna, but it keeps me engaged and has gotten me fit.

  • And now, I love cocktails. After a long (30+ year) period of avoiding alcohol completely - don’t ask - I’ve jumped back into the deep end of the pool.

What I am: