Margaritas aren’t the only popular tequila-based cocktails in Philadelphia. We asked Philadelphia-area dining and event planning expert Renee Patrone, of Manayunk’s Events by Renee, who makes the best tequila-based cocktails these days, and she immediately referred us to Derek, of Derek’s Restaurant. Those in the know head to Derek’s Restaurant in Manayunk for some of the best tequila concoctions served up in the City of Brotherly Love. This bright, modern spot on Main Street in Manayunk is chef Derek Davis’ passion. The restaurant is known for its amazing food and drink specials, including an extensive list of unique and daring cocktails like these tequila-infused fan favorites.

Chef Derek Davis
Derek’s Restaurant
4411 Main Street
Downtown Manayunk
Philadelphia, PA 19127
(215) 483-9400

Chef Derek offered his top tequila-infused cocktails by not only sharing recipes, but adding a few of his inside tips as well. “The typical Margarita is made with either too much lime juice or some crappy sour mix made with high fructose corn syrup, Davis said. “A few years ago I decided I just could not do margaritas anymore because the acid from the lime juice retarded my ability to sleep because of acid reflux. What I came up with is a drink I call The Modern Margarita. It uses agave syrup and only fresh fruit, [and it’s become] one of our top sellers. It is a serious drink, but it does not have the typical volume because there are no other liquids besides premium tequila.”

The Modern Margarita

  • 3 oz. premium tequila like Herradura Silver or Milagro Silver
  • 3 wedges lime [2 for drink, one for garnish]
  • 1 wedge lemon
  • 1 wedge orange
  • 1/2 oz agave syrup


  1. In a 10 oz. shaker muddle the fruit with the agave syrup
  2. Fill with ice, add tequila and shake vigorously.
  3. Pour entire drink into 10oz. rock glass or tumbler
  4. Garnish with lime wedge.

The Mexicali Tickler

  • 2 oz. 1800 Silver Tequila
  • 1 oz. fine French Cassis
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup


  1. Mix all ingredients over ice, stir, do not shake. Stirring will make a fresher looking drink and it will not be cloudy.
  2. Garnish cocktail glass with smoked chili salt mixture (1 teaspoon smoked chili powder like chipotle, 4 teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt mix ingredients to taste)
  3. Strain drink into glass

The Gecko

  • 2 oz. Cuervo Gold
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 3 oz. Orange juice
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice


  1. Shake it all up
  2. Serve up or on the rocks
  3. Salt or no salt

Related: Top Bottomless Mimosas For Brunch In Philadelphia

The Hornirita

  • 2 oz. Hornitos tequila
  • 1oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. triple sec
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice


  1. Shake it up, on the rocks or pour it up.

Salt or no salt

“Besides the Modern Margarita, this may be my favorite of them all,” Davis said.

The Mercadito

  • 2 oz. Milagro Reposado tequila
  • 3 slices cucumber
  • 3/4 oz. agave syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 small slivers jalapeno pepper
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice


  1. Muddle together the cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno and agave syrup.
  2. Fill Highball glass with ice and add tequila.
  3. Shake vigorously.
  4. Serve garnished with salted cucumber wheel and sliced jalapeno on glass rim

Related: Top Martini Bars In Philadelphia

Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on