These creative Tamarind Margaritas feature a vibrant Indian/Asian influence through the addition of tamarind. Tamarind is a fruit pod native to Asia and Northern Africa, but also very popular in Latin America where it's called tamarindo. These refreshing cocktails are sweet-tart and delightfully boozy with a hefty mix of tequila and triple sec!
Over the years I have ordered tamarind margaritas at my favorite local Mexican and Indian restaurants. Tamarind is a common ingredient in many global cuisines including Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, and Caribbean to name a few.
Adding it to margaritas is TOTALLY brilliant, and something every tamarind-lover should try. Before we dive into how to make these incredible tamarind cocktails, I want to take a moment to discuss the star ingredient.
What is tamarind?
Tamarind is an edible pod-like fruit that grows on trees. India is the biggest producer of tamarind in the world, but it is very common throughout Southeast Asia and also Latin America.
You can purchase tamarind in a variety of ways. Tamarind pulp is quite popular, and is the actual compacted fruit pulp (sometimes with seeds) pressed into a block.
To use blocks of tamarind pulp, a bit of prep is required. Soak the pulp in boiling water until softened, and then strain, pressing out the tamarind puree, leaving the fibers and seeds behind.
You can also purchase tamarind puree concentrate (this link is for a Thai brand) or tamarind paste concentrate (this link is for an Indian brand) in bottles or jars. The texture can vary depending on the specific brand and preparation.
While tamarind puree may be more like applesauce in texture, tamarind paste can be extremely thick and pitch black. Depending on the type you use, I'm sharing different instructions for this margarita recipe so anyone can make it!
For this recipe you can use a small amount of super concentrated tamarind paste to make tamarind simple syrup. Because this tamarind paste concentrate is SO intense, it's much easier to make a tamarind simple syrup with it rather than shaking the paste directly into your cocktail where it may not fully dissolve. If you use the puree concentrate, you can easily shake it right in your cocktail shaker.
Just a note: I've made this tamarind margarita recipe with both a Thai style puree concentrate and an Indian style paste concentrate, and both are delicious! I'm sharing the process and measurements for both. The Thai style puree yields a more opaque margarita while the Indian paste-turned-simple-syrup is a clear cocktail like the ones in these photos.
How to make tamarind margaritas with tamarind paste
Making these refreshing tamarind margaritas is similar to any other margarita recipe. We begin by making simple syrup by combining equal parts water and sugar in a small saucepan.
If you are using a thick tamarind paste, add a tiny spoonful to this mixture. Heat until the sugar and tamarind are fully dissolved. Remove from the heat, and cool completely. You'll yield about 3 fluid ounces.
You have a couple options here. You can use the syrup to shake up individual cocktails or make a small pitcher of 4 servings at once.
To make a single margarita:
Combine 2 ounces of tequila, 1 ½ ounces triple sec, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, and ¾ ounce of the tamarind simple syrup. Shake in a cocktail shaker with ice, and then strain into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice.
To make ALL the margaritas:
Combine all the ingredients in a large measuring cup or small pitcher (1 quart capacity max). You can portion from here and shake up individual margaritas if you want. But if you're like me and make this mixture ahead of time, simply refrigerate it for a couple hours. It will get ice cold, and then all you have to do is give it a stir, and pour it into salt-rimmed ice-filled glasses. Easy peasy!
How to make this recipe with tamarind puree
If you use tamarind puree, you don't need to add it to your simple syrup. You can just shake it in later when you are ready to serve your drinks (it's much more fluid than the paste, almost like applesauce in texture).
Simply add your tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice, plain simple syrup, and tamarind puree to your cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and then strain into your ice-filled glasses.
Please note that although the tamarind margaritas will taste basically the same, the ones made with puree tend to be more opaque than the ones made with the paste. The cocktails featured in this photos are made with the paste.
How to serve them
Margaritas traditionally feature a salt rim, although some people prefer sugar or a combination of salt and sugar. The easiest way to do this is to pour some kosher salt (or sugar if that's your jam) onto a flat plate. Then rub a lime wedge over the rim of each glass. Press the wet rim into the salt, rotating the glass as needed to cover the entire circumference.
I don't own any margarita glasses, so I usually serve mine in glass tumblers or even mason jars! Half-pint (8 ounce) jars should be a sufficient size for the recipe as it's written.
However, if you want to serve up bigger portions you can divide the tamarind margarita mix into 2 (for double margaritas) or 3 for slightly more generous pours. In Starbucks terms think of them as tall (4 servings), grande (3 servings) and venti (2 servings).
For grande and venti sizes you can serve these tamarind margaritas in pint-size (16 ounce) mason jars with plenty of ice.
Other cocktail recipes you may like
- Prickly Pear Margaritas
- Hibiscus Margarita (Margarita de Jamaica)
- Guava Margarita (Guavarita)
- Fleming's Blueberry Lemon Drop Martini
- Beauty Elixir
- Ooh La La
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For margaritas made with tamarind paste (enough for 4 drinks):
- ¼ cup (2 fl oz) water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon tamarind paste concentrate (see notes for examples)
- 1 cup (8 fl oz) tequila
- ¾ cup (6 fl oz) triple sec
- ½ cup (4 fl oz) fresh lime juice
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Kosher salt for garnish
For margaritas made with tamarind puree (enough for 1 drink):
- 2 ounces tequila
- 1 ½ ounces triple sec
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce tamarind puree (see notes for examples)
- ¾ ounce simple syrup (to make it yourself follow the instructions below in step 1 but omit the tamarind paste)
For tamarind margaritas with tamarind paste:
- Make tamarind simple syrup by combining the water, sugar, and tamarind paste in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar and tamarind are both dissolved (you may need to be a bit more vigorous if your tamarind paste is extremely thick). Set aside, and cool completely.
- Wet the rim of 4 margarita glasses or tumblers by running a lightly squeezed lime wedge around it. Rotate the rim of the glass in kosher salt spread on a flat plate. Fill the glasses with ice cubes.
- To make 1 margarita: Combine 2 ounces tequila, 1 ½ ounces triple sec, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, and ¾ ounce tamarind simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and then strain into a prepared glass. Serve immediately.
- To make all 4 margaritas at once: In a large measuring cup or small pitcher combine all of the cooled tamarind simple syrup, tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. You will have about 21 fl oz of tamarind margarita mix.
- To serve immediately: shake 5 ¼ ounces of the margarita mixture in a cocktail shaker with ice, then strain into an ice-filled glass. Repeat with 3 more glasses to make 3 more margaritas with the remaining margarita mixture.
- If you plan to serve these margaritas later, chill the entire mixture for several hours. When you're ready to drink, simply pour 5 ¼ ounces of margarita mix into each of 4 ice-filled glasses.
To make tamarind margaritas with tamarind puree:
- Combine 2 ounces tequila, 1 ½ ounces triple sec, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, 1 ounce tamarind puree, and ¾ ounce tamarind simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and then strain into a prepared glass (see steps above). Serve immediately. Repeat to make more margaritas.
- Tamarind can come in a variety of preparations. Blocks of tamarind pulp require a bit of effort to prepare, including soaking in boiling water and then straining. Tamarind puree and tamarind paste are other options, with the paste being the thickest and most concentrated. It's extremely thick, and pitch black in color. This version will yield margaritas that look like the ones in these photos. Using tamarind puree will result in the same flavor but a more opaque drink. I've made it both ways, and they are equally great! They just look a little different depending on the type of tamarind product used.
- Triple sec is usually column-distilled with neutral grain spirit. It has a dry quality and is clear in color. An example of a high end triple sec you can use if your budget allows is Cointreau.
- You can use this recipe to make larger, restaurant-sized portions you certain can. Make 2 giant double margaritas, or 3 extra-generous margaritas. For the doubles just measure out 10 ½ ounces per serving, and aim for 7 ounces per serving if you're making 3 margaritas instead of 4.
- To serve these margaritas in 16-ounce (pint-size) mason jars like I did, fill the jars very generously with ice and divide the margarita mixture into 3 portions of 7 ounces each. You can also serve double margaritas in this size jar, with a bit less ice.
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*