All month, we’ve been exploring low-carb, low-sugar cocktails to ring in the new year, and we even talked with an actual food scientist about high intensity sweeteners. We’ve explored a whiskey Highball, a skinny Moscow Mule, and a skinny Mojito, but we’re missing one very popular option (and a personal favorite): the skinny Margarita!

Can’t wait? Click here to go to the recipe.


What’s the “Skinny” on the Skinny Margarita?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered a skinny Margarita with wildly varying results. They never look the same from bar to bar, and they often don’t taste any less sweet than a regular Margarita, which got us thinking… What exactly puts the “skinny” in a skinny Margarita? Our discovery during this experiment will probably shock you. (Spoiler alert: the skinny Margarita you’ve been ordering may not be “skinny” at all!)

We reached out to our bartender Facebook community to ask for skinny recipes and received a lot of different answers, but one came up more than any others: Quite a few bartenders were making their “Skinny” margaritas with Agave Syrup instead of simple syrup. (Sound familiar? That’s also often known as the Tommy’s Margarita.)

We decided to do a bit of experimentation. Last week on our Facebook Live, we made three Margarita recipes:

  1. A “traditional” Margarita (aka a “Daisy”)
  2. The “Skinny” (aka Tommy’s)
  3. And a third version we made with our Xylitol simple syrup.

When we worked with Xylitol earlier this month, we really liked its natural flavor compared to other artificial sweeteners, so let’s see how it works in a Margarita compared to traditional simple syrup.

Comparing “Skinny” Margaritas

Traditional Margarita

Our first drink is a traditional Margarita:

  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice

The Cointreau offers a wonderful orange flavor, but this version is the most acidic overall. From a health perspective (since we’re talking about low-sugar options after all), it contains 7.4 grams of sugar.

Not-So-Skinny Margarita

Up next is the “Skinny Margarita” recipe that most bartenders were using. (Yep, it’s the same thing as the Tommy’s Margarita).

  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • .75 oz Cointreau
  • .5 oz Agave syrup (not nectar!)
  • 1 oz lime juice

So how did it measure up? From a taste perspective, Chris and I agree this is the sweetest option, with a really rich, juicy flavor. But that’s because this version by far contains the most sugar and carbs! That’s right: the “skinny” Margarita you order to cut down calories actually contains 13.5 grams of sugar.

Xylitol Simple Syrup & Oleo Saccharum

Which brings us to our take on a skinny Margarita using the high intensity sweetener, Xylitol. We made a Xylitol simple syrup (like with the Moscow Mule) with equal parts fine-granule Xylitol and water. Here’s the rest of the ingredients (and scroll down for the full recipe with instructions)

Although it doesn’t contain the rich, cooked flavor of the Agave in the Tommy’s version, this tastes really good! It’s less tart than the original but still pretty comparable with 8.5 grams of sugar.

So… Scrap the Skinny?

There you have it! The “skinniest” option is a classic Margarita without any syrup at all. If you want a sweeter version without adding too many carbs, add some Xylitol simple syrup to avoid the sugar and calories of Agave.

So if you’re not sure what you’re ordering, just talk to your bartender! They are there to help, so just ask what’s going into your skinny cocktail and find the right version for you. Most bartenders I know love to talk about their methods and recipes.

And if you have something you want to share or have more questions, join us in our Craft Cocktail Facebook group to talk all things cocktail.


The ultimate workhorse of a Boston Shaker. This combination of weighted / unweighted makes for a strong seal that’s easy to break open. The weight is circle-welded for durability and guaranteed to last!


Skinny Margarita

Your “Skinny Margarita” might not be so skinny! Here’s a recipe for a truly “skinny” option as well as a few suggestions for making sure your bartender makes what you really want.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail


Cocktail Ingredients

  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Xylitol Simple Syrup See directions below
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 1/4 oz Orange Xylitol Oleo Syrup See directions below

Xylitol Syrup Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Hot Water
  • 1/2 cup Xylitol


Cocktail Instructions

  • Combine tequila, Xylitol simple and lime juice in a shaker tin filled with ice.
  • Shake to chill and dilute.
  • Fine strain into a salt rimmed glass and top with fresh ice.
  • Garnish with orange zest.

Xylitol Simple Syrup Instructions

  • Combine hot water and Xylitol.
  • Stir until dissolved.
  • Allow to cool before use.

Orange Xylitol Oleo Syrup Instructions

  • Combine the zest of one orange and 1/4 cup of Xylitol in a ziplock plastic bag and mash them together. Remove all air from the bag and seal shut.
  • Wait a few hours or a few days. (We forgot about it for a few days in the fridge, whoops!)
  • When ready for use, add 1/4 cup of water and fine-strain to create a syrup.