Thai Lemongrass Margaritas! Who’s ready for an easy-to-make-cocktail that’s refreshing and fun to serve all year long?! It fits right in with summer meals but can easily find a spot next to a spicy warm curry dish or stew.
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Flavored with fresh lemongrass, ginger and cilantro (or Thai basil), this Thai-inspired cocktail is definitely a surprising departure from the flavors of a classic margarita. Nonetheless, it’s one that has become a regular in our house.
The ginger adds a spicy punch of flavor while the lemongrass is mildly herbaceous, and the cilantro, well cilantro is always good with tequila.
For most of my cocktails I like to naturally sweetened them (just a bit!) as often as I can. This lemongrass margarita does have a bit of orange liqueur but is mostly sweetened with natural agave nectar.
What’s agave nectar?
Agave nectar is made from the agave plant. It’s poisonous raw but once baked or made into a syrup it can be used in a variety of applications such as cocktails, desserts and more. Additionally, agave is what tequila and mezcal are made from. You can find agave nectar in most grocery stores now next to the honey or maple syrup.
What is lemongrass and where can I find it?
Lemongrass is a classic herb used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. It’s a long, thin stalk (looks like a reed) and is light grayish-green with a white, woody base. It has a mild lemony flavor that can best be described as sour-lemon and herbal.
Most grocery stores sell them in small 2-inch pieces in plastic clamshell herb containers but I prefer to stop by my local Asian (or Thai) market instead. The lemongrass offered at most Asian markets is much fresher and in their full-stalk form. However, whatever you can find will work for this recipe.
What to serve with Lemongrass Margaritas
Although these margaritas are Thai-inspired, they still go really well with all kinds of foods. From tacos to salads, grilled fish and of course Thai food, these margaritas are very versatile.
- Fish Tacos
- Spicy Harissa Lamb Tacos
- Chipotle Tempeh Tacos
- Thai Beef Larb
- Kale & Lentil Salad
- Triple Herb Chicken & Zucchini Skewers
That all being said, I did develop these with a menu in mind. Check out my Curry Night Menu! This curry dinner menu is great for busy weeknights as well as if you’re planning a dinner party!
Thai Lemongrass Margarita
For the rim:
- 2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoon curry powder
- Lime wedges
For the margarita:
- ½ ounce agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
- 2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
- 1 sprig cilantro or Thai basil (regular sweet basil also works)
- 3 ounces lime juice
- 3 ounces tequila blanco
- ½ ounce orange liqueur
For the rim:
- Combine salt and curry powder in a shallow dish. Cut a small slice horizontally through flesh of lime wedge then run around rim of a rocks glass; lightly dip rim in salt mixture then fill with ice.
For the margarita:
- Muddle agave, ginger, lemongrass and cilantro in a shaker until thoroughly smashed, about 1 minute.
- Fill shaker halfway with ice, add lime juice, tequila, and liqueur secure lid and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled.
- Strain margarita into prepared glasses, top with a splash of club soda and garnish with lime wedges, lemongrass and cilantro or Thai basil (optional).
Yum!! You had me at Lemongrass!
Cannot wait for the first summer day to make these beauties!
Yay! I hope you enjoy them! 🙂
These were probably the best margaritas I have EVER had—better than any restaurant! I let the mix soak with the muddled lemongrass and ginger over night and it was just so good! Paired this drink with some Thai red curry and plan to do it again!!
Love the note on letting the ingredients soak a bit—genius!! SO glad you enjoyed this, sounds like a delicious dinner!
Would you recommend using ginger and lemongrass paste vs. the fresh ingredients? If so, would you alter the ratio? Thanks so much!
Hi Caitlin, great question, I haven’t tested this recipe with either ginger or lemongrass paste, but I imagine it would work well. I would start with 1 teaspoon of each (or 1.5 if you like it bold) and see how they turn out. The paste is much stronger than simply muddling chopped ginger and lemongrass, so I would start with a little and adjust as needed.
Hope that helps!
Any advice on making this as a batch cocktail? I’d like to have them prepped and ready for my guests.
Hey Emily! Great question—first off, the measurements can be multiplied here—no need to scale up or back on certain ingredients.
I would muddle the lemongrass, ginger and cilantro or basil with agave in a large jar or even a bowl. Add that to a large glass measuring bowl (like 8 cups) and stir in the lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur. Give it a good stir, cover, then let refrigerate for a few hours—at least 2 hours though 4 would be better. I then would do a bit of straining before your guests get there. Strain the cocktail through a fine mesh strainer into the pitcher you plan to serve it in.
Since you won’t be shaking the cocktail with ice (which adds water) the cocktail will technically be a bit stronger. Keep that in mind when serving! Maybe use slightly smaller glasses and more ice than you typically would so you get some dilution.
I hope that helps!