InStyle July - Jimmy Buffett - Lead
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To celebrate summer, we’re asking the season’s most iconic superstars to share their warm-weather secrets. Here, Jimmy Buffett—whose musical, Escape to Margaritaville, is currently playing on Broadway—shares the recipe for his signature summer drink.

Most people don’t know the real story behind the song “Margaritaville,” but the truth is that it was written in five minutes. I was visiting Austin, Texas, for work in 1977, and a friend of mine was driving me to the airport. It was a hot afternoon, and we stopped at this funky little place for lunch on the way. I thought, “Why not have a margarita before going to the airport?”

You could only get a good one back then in Mexican border towns, where people just went to have fun. I was definitely doing my share of that. So I ordered one, and it tasted good. I came up with the name “Margaritaville” right there on the spot.

No one cared about the ingredients at the time, and it’s actually funny to me that everyone is so worried about the pedigree of the tequila they drink now. The thing is, you really can’t take the margarita too seriously—it’s not a science project. The whole point of the drink is just to disguise the taste of tequila.

Although they tend to be too sweet for me these days, every now and then I still like to have one on the rocks, no salt. I’ve had great ones and I’ve had bad ones over the years. But the very best margarita? That will always be the one that somebody else buys for you.

InStyle July - Jimmy Buffet - Embed - 1
Credit: Paul Thurlby

Jimmy Buffett's Signature Drink


1 oz. Margaritaville Tequila Gold

1/2 oz. Margaritaville Tequila Silver

1/2 oz. triple sec

1/2 oz. orange curaçao

1/2 oz. lime juice

2 lime wedges


1. Rim margarita glass with salt (optional).

2. Combine ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Squeeze lime on top, then drop wedges in.

3. Cover, shake vigorously, and pour.

For more stories like this, pick up the July issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download now.