If you’ve sworn off margaritas because of a traumatic headache-inducing experience, don’t blame the drink, blame the drink maker. Chances are whoever made it used tequila that wasn’t 100 percent agave spirit, added corn-syrup-based prebottled margarita mix, then blitzed it in a blender to jump-start the pain with some brain freeze. To offer you a kinder, gentler reintroduction to the pleasures of ­summer’s greatest cocktail, we consulted New York’s Employees Only co-owner Dushan Zaric, who has sampled dozens of excellent margaritas in Mexico in the name of research. “This version is quite classic,” says Zaric. “We added agave nectar for body and mouthfeel. It belongs in the daisy family of cocktails, which use a spirit, lime juice and triple sec. In Spanish, margarita means ‘daisy.’ ” Muy auténtico, muy delicioso. Welcome back to summer.

• 2 oz. 100 percent agave tequila
• ¾ oz. Cointreau
• ½ oz. agave nectar
• 1 oz. fresh lime juice
Shake hard in cocktail shaker for five seconds. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Agave nectar
Agave nectar (a.k.a. agave syrup) adds more body and a richer sweetness than sugar-based simple syrup.

Hand squeezer
Always squeeze the lime juice to order for each drink. Old lime juice ­oxidizes and tastes off.

Key limes
Key, or Mexican, limes are juicier, tarter and more aromatic than standard or Persian limes.

The deep, sweet orange flavors of Cointreau add more complexity than run-of-the-mill triple sec.