Side by side Margarita comparison

Skinny vs. Standard

When I heard someone ordering a “skinny” margarita the other day from the bar, I had to stop and ask the bartender what exactly that was. I learned that it’s a margarita with margarita mix (or sweet & sour) replaced by club soda and lime juice.

Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel has even trademarked her version of this margarita as “The Skinnygirl.” But the basic principles are simple: mixers with no sugar and fresh fruit and liqueurs for flavor.

As I’ve been using club soda to tone down overly sweet drinks for a while now, I knew I’d like this less sweet version of the margarita, but I wondered if others would accept its less sweet taste.

I decided to do a side by side comparison of the skinny margarita verses the standard, with Jan as my second judge. After all, since he’s a guy who uses Coke, ginger ale, and tonic water as his main drink mixers, I could assume he’s less concerned about his sugar (and therefore calorie) intake than I am. So while I might be swayed to like something more because it’s healthier (as I did with the peach ice cream), he would be able to judge purely on taste.

But before making the margaritas, I wanted to share a couple of my drink-mixing tips. First secret: triple sec. This orange-flavored liqueur compliments so many different types of spirits and seems to magically neutralize the strong alcohol flavors of vodka, tequila, and whiskey (the bases of most drinks mixed at my bar). It’s a must-have for a well stocked bar, and you don’t need to go fancy with Cointreau.

Also, I don’t measure anything that goes into a drink; I always eyeball it or use a shot glass to get the correct proportions. For me, this makes drink-mixing more laid back and experimental, and opens up the opportunity discover and create new drinks by chance.

If I’ve got a good ratio/recipe down, I’ll use a shot glass for measuring, so my recipe measures amounts this way (keeping in mind that a standard shot glass is 1.5 ounces). You can buy a 1.5 ounce stainless steel jigger (sometimes also called a pony), but I always use a shot glass because it’s handy and easily cleaned in the dishwasher.

All the ingredients and tools needed

Skinny Margarita

print recipe

1 shot of tequila (1.5 oz.)

½ shot of triple sec (.75 oz.)

3 shots of club soda (4.5 oz.)

Juice of half a lime (about 2-3 wedges), and 1 wedge to garnish

Standard Margarita

print recipe

1 shot of tequila (1.5 oz.)

½ shot of triple sec (.75 oz.)

3 shots of margarita mix (4.5 oz.)

Juice of 1 lime wedge, and 1 wedge to garnish


Fill glass with ice cubes and add tequila and triple sec. For the skinny margarita, fill the rest of the glass with club soda (it will be about 3 shots, or 4.5 oz. worth) and the juice of 2-3 lime wedges. Stir and enjoy. (Calories: 139. Sugar: 9 grams.)

For the standard, repeat the steps for the skinny, except replace the club soda with margarita mix. (Calories: 297. Sugar: 48 grams. This is using World Classics premium non-alcoholic margarita mix, with 200 calories and 50 grams sugar per 5.8 oz. serving.)


I liked the skinny margarita because I could taste the tequila, helping me avoid the situation of slurping the drink down without realizing how much I was drinking (a very easy thing to do with many “girly” drinks). When sipping on the two side by side, it became apparent that the standard margarita was too sweet.

Jan’s vote was for a combination of the two margaritas: keep the measurements of alcohol the same, but use half club soda/lime juice and half margarita mix. I admitted that was a good compromise, and it did a lot to cut down on the often too-acidic nature of margaritas. But I’m stuck on what to call this margarita–the sort-of-skinny? (Combination of skinny and standard margarita: Calories: 218. Sugar: 29 grams.)

7 thoughts on “Side by side Margarita comparison

  1. You’ll have to try our famous family recipe for margaritas! You can substitute agave for the sugar, but let’s be honest people, if you’re trying to be healthy, should you really be drinking tequila??? Just have one GOOD one and enjoy it!

  2. Awesome pic and post! I’m gonna try your skinny recipe. I love a margarita, but usually steer clear because they are so decadent. No mo!

  3. the Big boned margarita LOL, the thick margarita, husky margarita, below average margarita, the fit margarita, the OMG I can taste the Tequila,or simply best sugar-free margarita which pretty much sums everything up and personally I think that would be the best marketable name,just sayin… But no matter what you do be very very careful because Bethenny Frankel will probably lose her shit if you come anywhere near her brand

  4. If you are wanting To find a compromise, and try another taste for a skinny margarita that stilll has more of a flavor to it, try this

    1 1/4 oz of silver tequila (I use milagro)
    1/2 oz of Cointreau
    Splash of OJ
    Lime juice
    And 1/4 oz agave nectar.

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