Get ready for Agave Love with a Tommy’s Margarita


Tommy’s Margarita

60ml blanco tequila
30ml agave nectar
(1:1 with water)
30ml lime juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and dump into your glass.

Story by Sam Bygrave

Ahead of all the festivities happening for Agave Love this weekend, you’ll want to get reacquainted with the Tommy’s Margarita — especially as Julio Bermejo, the drink’s creator, is in town.


There’s something about tequila drinks that captures the attention of people — bartenders in particular — in a way that other drinks don’t. Take the Batanga, for instance: it’s a humble drink, from very humble origins. If you’ve read our profile on La Capilla bar, you’ll get what I mean. The place is nothing to look at, really. It’s just a neighbourhood bar, with some world class drinks.

The same is true of Tommy’s Restaurant in San Francisco, home to the eponymous Margarita. The Tommy’s Margarita was created by Julio Bermejo in 1987, and since then the drink has spread around the world thanks to travelling bartenders.

So for guys like James Irvine, from Sydney’s Shady Pines Saloon, ordering a Tommy’s at Tommy’s is a box to tick off the bartender bucket list.

“I recently travelled to the West Coast of America with my old man,” said Irvine, “to embark upon a bartender’s tour of what the Western States had to offer. There was a must-see, have-to-go-to do list that went for days, but for me personally the top of the list was Tommy’s.

“I excitedly entered the restaurant, which was quite full for a Monday night, to make our way to the full bar. A small narrow room, with a bar that ran its length, that featured a back bar that displayed a lot of the world’s finest agave spirits, filled with people all drinking tequila and… a television. I was in heaven.”

And here’s a tip for you rockstar wannabe bartenders. Like Don Javier at La Capilla, you’ll often find Julio Bermejo at the bar. And how you order the drink will tell him more about you than anything else.

“The man that we came to see Julio Bermejo was behind the bar and greeted us,” said Irvine. “There was only standing room, but I didn’t care. When Julio asked what we’d like to drink, I cut my Dad’s order for two beers off mid sentence and said: ‘Two Tommy’s please!’.

“Julio asked: ‘Would you like those shaken or blended and served with salt?” to which I said, “Shaken, served short over ice… no salt please.” To which he smiled and nodded. I think that’s his way of introducing people to the real Tommy’s.”

The way they make it there, at the source, is likely different to the way you’ve made it, too. Irvine watched Bermejo pour the ingredients, including their own house agave nectar, “into a handled blender, add ice and shake in swirling fashion and voilà… a couple of Tommy’s.”

It seems the life of the sojourning bartender can be a happy one. “San Francisco is such a great town,” said Irvine, “and being able to drink a well made, great drink in its philosophical home meant a lot to me. We sat drinking our Tommy’s and snacking on salsa and chips, talking to Julio. This was the highlight of our trip.”

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