How to make Rio (like) Margaritas

Posted on 27 August 2009

There is no “limit three” here, but a few of these will rip your face off!

If you live in the Denver or Fort Collins area (or even Austin Texas now), you’ve likely had or heard of the Rio Grande’s famous margarita. The Rio, as most call it, is a Mexican restaurant that was started in Fort Collins, Colorado. Since then, six locations were opened in northern Colorado, and the most recent was opened in Austin Texas in the warehouse that the Real World Austin called home.

The recipe below probably isn’t the actual recipe that the Rio follows – but it tastes close. You see, the Rio has done a very good job of protecting the actual ingredients, and apparently the bar tenders (back in the day when they mixed from scratch) were sworn to secrecy.  I’ve experimented with the ingredients below, and believe it tastes very similar to the Rio’s margarita.  The drink contains a lot of tequila, and the optional ingredient of Tree Top apple juice does a good job of dulling the bitter edge of the tequila, if you wish.


  • 3 ounces Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila
  • 3 ounces Juarez Triple Sec
  • 1 ounces Duffy’s Lime Juice
  • ice
  • margarita salt
  • wedge of lime

and an optional ingredient of:

  • 1 ounce Tree Top apple juice

Why Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila?  Apparently the Rio is the number one non-liquor store account for Jose Cuervo – so it only makes sense.   The real secret to the ingredients might be the Duffy’s lime juice, as Mike points out in his article Secret Lime Juice.  On Mike’s blog he suggests a couple places one might be able to find Duffy’s, in addition to the places he has suggested, I was able to find it at argonaut wine & liquor on 760 E. Colfax in Denver, just across the street from the Fillmore auditorium.

Whip up some chips and salsa, and enjoy!

Up next, a personal favorite when I used to live in Austin.  Trudy’s Mexican Martini!

3 responses to How to make Rio (like) Margaritas

  • wyoangel says:

    Sooooo, having had the “Rio” margarita, I must say my recipe comes in a close second (losing by a hair)…because it includes another favorite frosty beverage….Corona!

    1 Corona
    1 small can frozen Limeaid
    Tequila- your favorite brand, I use the empty can of Limeaid to measure (fill ‘er up!)
    Diet 7-Up- approx. 12 oz (eyeball it)
    limes, salt, ice!

    YUMMY…don’t ask me why Diet…but, it seems to be the way to go…try it out, it’ll give “Rio” a run for her money!

    Now I’m wondering if I’m on call tonight…it might be a fancy drink kind of night!

  • […] Enjoy!  If you like this, you might also like my favorite margarita recipe. […]

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