*Chef’s Kiss* Margaritas - Introducing Besos!

"Besos" is Spanish for kisses, and created by Chef Luis Cabrera, Besos Margaritas are literally *Chef's Kiss*

Besos Margarita Mix!

Year after year, the Margarita remains the single most-ordered cocktail IN-THE-WORLD! And why not? The best Margaritas offer a perfect ratio of lime, tequila, and orange liqueur. Mex together the iconic palate pleasers of sweet, sour, and salty and they become a thing of beauty. Shaken or frozen, with salt or without, whichever way you like your margarita, this beloved tipple may seem like a pretty “basic” cocktail. One would hope even, that every trendy cocktail bar worth their margarita salt is able to execute this popular classic sublimely and consistently. But ay caramba(!), they so often don’t!

Fret no longer Margarita aficionados – BESOS Margarita has arrived!

BESOS is the supremely slurp-worthy Margarita premix crafted to heavenly perfection by Mexican maestro, Chef Luis Cabrera. This is his signature recipe blended with premium ingredients and ready to serve straight from the bottle. Shake with ice and pour on the rocks to experience the authentic taste of Mexico. Fans of this tequila tipple are in for a real treat. Besos Margaritas is mixology’s version of an iconic rock star. It will never disappoint. Salud!

The Besos Latinos Story

A couple of years ago, Besos Latinos was a thriving Ceviche bar in the Auckland CBD. Run by Chef Luis Cabrera, it had a steady stream of regulars, and great reviews. Looking at them now, a theme was certainly emerging…

And on and on they go… Margarita, margarita, margarita! Besos Latinos restaurant, first at Elliot Stables then in Wynyard Quarter was cementing itself firmly as the spot in Auckland to go for Margarita excellence. In fact, when opening the Wynyard location, Chef Luis decided to do something potentially crazy… he was only going to offer Margaritas on the cocktail list.

“For the new restaurant I decided we’re just going to use that margarita. So no mojito, no piña colada, no caipirinhas, nothing. Just the margarita. Initially it was crazy, just one option, but when you have one option, and you know nobody does it better than you, then you’re safe.”

Then, as the story so often goes… Covid-19 hit. (dun dun…) We all know how tough this period was for hospitality, followed up by significant staff shortages across the whole sector… Chef Luis got in touch with his regulars and asked what he can offer in the absence of a fully functioning premises. “Margaritas!” was their resounding answer. They told Luis that while they missed his delightful ceviche and food, they were missing his signature margaritas even more. And so, an idea began to form…

Luis started preparing his margaritas but didn’t have a license to sell alcohol off-premises, so to get them safely delivered to his loyal fanbase, he partnered with a liquor shop in Wynyard Quarter who sold it on his behalf, and from there it snowballed. They told friends, and friends told friends, and eventually, Besos Latinos closed its doors to make way for Besos Margaritas!

Chef Luis Cabrera

Luis and Natalie and Margarita

Chef Luis Cabrera’s journey is nothing short of a culinary odyssey that has led to the creation of this remarkable product.

Born in Jalisco, Mexico, the birthplace of Tequila, he embarked on a culinary adventure that took him from the enchanting canals of Venice, where he honed his skills in the art of cooking, to top restaurants and hotels in Mexico City, Boston, Dublin, Milan, Venice, and Sydney. However, it was in New Zealand, more than a decade ago, that Luis decided to make his home.

Throughout his extensive culinary career, Luis dedicated over a decade to perfecting his signature Margarita recipe. His passion for this beloved cocktail led to the establishment of Agave Spirits in Auckland, with a single purpose: to capture the magic of his Margarita and share it with the world.

“As a chef I had a different approach, versus what a barman would normally have, or a mixologist. I think it made a difference.”

The History of the Margarita

The exact birthplace of the margarita remains a delightful mystery, with Mexico being a prevailing theory due to the sacred Agave Plant which is native to unique states in Mexico, but it doesn’t stop all kinds of claims.

Difford’s Guide has a fantastic account of the known history here – following it’s evolution from ‘The Tequila Daisy’ to the ‘Picador’ and ‘Tequila Sour’ through to the ‘Margarita’s first known mention by name in the 1950’s, as well as detailing some of the claimed creators and pioneers.

Regardless of knowing the truth behind the origin of this delightful cocktail, the Margarita continues to be one of the world’s most popular cocktails. And whilst it is a drink that needs no introduction in 2020 the Margarita reached new heights, proving to be pandemic-proof and remarkably resilient. Particularly, it seems for Luis in Auckland.

According to the IWSR, whilst sales of Tequila and cordials (which include liqueurs) surged by 66.5% and 44.6% in growth that year the trend of “Home Mixology” and convenience cannot be overlooked.

“The 10-litre batches became 30 litres, then 40, and then 200 litres a week, as demand exploded among customers stuck at home during lockdown… I applied for the licence and registration and then it reached a point where I was pretty much ordering all the Patron tequila that was available,” recalls Cabrera, “and I was struggling to find it. Suppliers were surprised that I was buying such an amount of tequila during Covid!”

Margaritas in New Zealand

Margaritas are popular the world over, but NZ has a secret weapon: Chef Luis Cabrera!

Earlier this year, The Post (formerly known as The Dominion Post’) released an article that appears at first to make a bold claim; that NZ serves better margaritas than Mexico City.

Less controversial than it perhaps first appears, Luis is profiled and explains that in Mexico, Margaritas actually aren’t that popular. “If you want tequila in Mexico, you drink just tequila. You don’t do anything with it.”

But after settling in NZ and opening restaurants specializing in Mexican cuisine, he was somewhat surprised at the repeated requests for Margaritas, but was all too happy to delve into the welcome challenge of creating the best darn Margarita they could possibly have, and then keep making it again and again and again. His quest for perfection and consistency has made him the Margarita King of Auckland (and soon to be NZ!)

Stats for our Hospo' Crowd

hold me tighter, margarita! I think I'm going down...

“Industry survey confirms cocktails are the way of the future”

… reads the title of Charlotte Cowan’s report for The Shout in November 2023, which is packed with fantastic information.

“Chief Executive of Spirits NZ, Robert Brewer, says the survey of bar and restaurant owners across New Zealand, provides evidence that consumer habits have changed post-COVID, and with the increasing cost of living; “Kiwi consumers are now drinking less but are more discerning with their spend and are drinking better,” he says. “Where a patron may have previously had three averagely-priced drinks on an evening out, the trend is that they are instead choosing to savour one high quality cocktail.”

“Despite consumer spending habits changing, their tastes appear to be more consistent, with the respondents reporting that the Espresso Martini is the most popular cocktail they serve – both in 2023 and at the same time last year. The Margarita comes in second in 2023, replacing the Mojito which was runner-up in 2022.”

“Many venues are starting to see the benefit of pre-batching cocktails, with 40% of respondents saying they both pre-batch and provide cocktails made to order, and 10% saying they now only serve pre-batched cocktails.”

The Blue Agave Difference

Blue Agave for the best margarita

“If asked about their first experience with tequila, unfortunately, most folks do not have a positive story to tell. That infamous bottle of gold labeled liquid could be passed around a table like a torch, each person reliving those not so fond memories. How can this experience be so similar for so many people? And how is it that we’ve come to love and enjoy the good Tequila the way we do now?

Our answer lies in a simple distinction between two categories: Tequila Mixtos and 100% Blue Agave Tequila. Choosing products with the latter on the label is the number one rule in quality Tequila selection. Selecting anything missing this label, may send you back to those not-so-good ol’ days.

Tequilas that say ‘100% Blue Agave’ on the label are spirits made from just that, 100% Blue Agave. Tequila Mixtos on the other hand, are only required to be made from 51% Blue Agave sugars, and the other 49% can be made from any other kind of sugar.

Doesn’t sound too bad when we say it that way but let’s break it down a little bit further and see why we really want to stay away from those Mixtos tequilas.

“The Rule to Live By: Always Drink 100% Blue Agave Tequila”

Something Chef Luis settled on pretty quickly when concocting his signature recipe was that he needed to use 100% Blue Agave Tequila and only 100% Blue Agave Tequila – no Tequila Mixtos allowed!

With any consumer product, there are quality differences at different tiers. For Tequila, that difference lies in its ingredients. It makes sense when you lay it out that simply, but there’s a lot to it. Sip Tequila details this perfectly in their aptly titled write-up;

Mixing Alcohols

We’ve all had those nights where we start with a nice cocktail, maybe bourbon based, and switch to red wine for dinner. The next morning, crawling out of bed, head pounding, we wonder where we went wrong. Mixing alcohol has generally been accepted as a bad idea and with Mixtos tequilas, it happens right away, in every single drink that you consume. In addition to the sugary mixers they are usually paired with, you’re teeing yourself up for a bad time.


All tequilas are allowed to add 4 different kinds of additives up to 1% of volume: sugar-based syrup, glycerin, oak extract, and caramel color. Most 100% Agave brands say “absolutely not” to this allowance, instead relying on quality of agave, process, and barrels when aged. Mixtos, on the other hand, use them as a crutch to hide the defects in the production process and less than desired flavors. These additional sugars, artificial flavors, and chemicals make your body feel just like they do in any other product: not so hot.

The lesson: Keep it pure

Just as we want to keep our food local, unprocessed, and of the highest quality, the same applies to beverages. The best tequilas are made from just agave and water.”

Besos Margarita Mix
Besos Margarita Mix

Besos Margarita Clásica

Artfully blending premium 100% blue agave, sourced from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, with zesty lime juice and a touch of agave nectar. This expertly crafted combination creates a perfectly balanced sweet and sour flavour, encapsulating the authentic essence of Mexico. The result is a Margarita with a smooth and crisp taste that is sure to delight any tequila connoisseur.

Now, discerning drinkers who yearn for a taste of Mexico’s authenticity can find Besos Margarita in a convenient 700ml 22% abv ready-to-serve bottle, complete with its special chilli salt.

The acclaim doesn’t stop at home; Besos Margarita has garnered international recognition, clinching seven awards across the world, including a recent Triple Gold Medal at the prestigious Major League Spirits Awards (MLSA) in Michigan, 2023, as well as;

  • GOLD MEDAL – European Spirits Challenge 2023
  • GOLD MEDAL – London Awards 2023
  • GOLD MEDAL – America Wine Papers 2023
  • SILVER MEDAL – San Francisco World Spirits 2023
  • SILVER MEDAL – Melbourne International Spirits Competition 2022

“The best pre-mixed Margarita out there, even better than most freshly bar made cocktails”
ichael Meredith – Celebrity Chef & Restaurateur

“I certainly recommend giving it a try. Authentic and Delicious!”
Cameron Douglas – Master Sommelier

“I lived in the US for many years and sampled my fair share, I know a good one when I taste it and Besos Margarita is the best Margarita I’ve ever had”Jeremy Healy
– GM Hilton Melbourne

“It’s about as good as it gets – and all the mixing is already done”
Peter Gordon – Celebrity Chef & Restaurateur

One of Besos Margarita’s unique features is its portability and convenience. Whether you’re at a party, a relaxing picnic, or simply unwinding at home, serving chilled Besos Margarita over ice transforms any moment into a delightful and premium cocktail experience, with no mess or stress.

Besos Margarita Mix, in a can
Besos Margarita mix also comes in a can yo

Besos Margarita Ligera

The newest addition to the Besos family is the Ligera – the Besos Margarita answer to a handy RTD!

Released just this year, the Ligera is a full flavour Margarita based on the original Besos Clásica signature recipe. A perfect balance of sour lime, smooth blue agave and floral citrus, underpinned with that wonderfully satisfying sweet and salty flavour that leaves you in no doubt it’s fiesta time!

At 7% abv and 200ml, it’s the perfect quick-sipper at the dinner party or picnic and we’re sure these little blue and yellow cans will be the staple at every summer BBQ by summer ‘25!