Favorite Top Shelf Margarita Recipe – Judy 25’s

One of the keys to staying productive is to relax and recharge. One of my favorite ways to do this on a Saturday afternoon in the summer (or spring or fall) is to sip on my favorite top shelf margarita recipe, Judy 25’s. If you’re interested in trying out this method on any day in any month, here’s the recipe to use.

Judy 25’s

Top Shelf Margarita Recipe

Makes approximately one 6-ounce drink

1 medium orange (juiced; navel or other sweet orange preferred)

2 limes (juiced)

1 oz Cointreau

1 oz Grand Marnier

1 oz Tequila (silver or anejo preferred)

1 TB simple syrup (or honey or agave or your favorite sweetener; adjust amount to your liking)

Juice the orange and limes. For maximum juice output, roll the fruit on the counter before slicing and juicing.

Pour juice into shaker with a few ice cubes.

Add the alcohol and sweetener.

Shake six times.

Strain and pour over ice in glasses.

Optional: Rim the glasses with margarita salt before adding ice and margarita.

Not Optional: Don’t drink and drive.

Mixology Notes:

Oranges – The type does make a difference. We once used Valencia oranges, which are not as sweet, and the margaritas were definitely sub-par.

Orange Liqueurs – When we’ve run out of Cointreau, we doubled up on Grand Marnier – and vice versa. It’s not as good as the original recipe, but it’ll do.

Tequila – You don’t need to use expensive tequila, but if you use the cheaper “gold stuff” that you consumed back in your school days, you’ll taste the difference.

Sweetener – We use agave honey as our sweetener and squirt in about ½ tablespoon per drink.

Making ahead of time – For some reason, when you make an entire pitcher ahead of time and it just sits, this drink doesn’t taste as good. I recommend that you juice as much as you want ahead of time, but wait to mix the alcohol and sweetener until you’re ready to drink. If you go this route, you’ll pour in approximately 3 ounces of the orange-lime juice mixture for each drink you want to prepare, then add the three shots of liquor and your sweetener for each drink you’re preparing.


The Back Story of Judy 25s:

My hair dresser, Judy Lovett of Judy’s Loft, was meeting her boyfriend (now husband) at a restaurant. She sat at the bar and was offered a happy hour margarita by the bartender. It was so delicious that she ordered a second one.

When she looked at the bill, she almost fell over. It was fifty bucks! That’s $25 per six-ounce margarita! She decided that she wanted the recipe as a part of her $50 payment. The bartender obliged.

After Judy told me this story, I suggested to her that we couldn’t just call these “top shelf margaritas.” They needed a better name. I recommended that we call them Judy 25’s, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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