The Matador cocktail, or el Matador if you are feeling fancy, is a classic sipping cocktail that’s as complex as a bullfighter’s footwork. It may only have three ingredients, but each one has depth and character and when shaken together, they create a timeless cocktail that refuses to be forgotten.
The Best Matador Cocktail Recipe to Make at Home
PREP TIME 5 min
Pre-chill your glasses in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.
Serve in a coupe glass for an authentic 1930s drinking experience.
Sip the Matador slowly. As it warms, more aroma and flavour compounds will be released.
Half–fill a cocktail shaker with ice
Add the tequila, orange liqueur and vermouth
Shake for 30 seconds then strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish and serve immediately
History of the Matador cocktail
The Matador cocktail recipe might be simple, but its history is a little more complex. Legend has it that the first version of it appeared in the Café Royal Cocktail Book published in 1937, and it featured tequila, orange liqueur, and dry vermouth. This is the original version that we’re making today.
The second and more common version is credited to Trader Vic’s—an American restaurant and tiki bar chain. Vic’s tequila matador cocktail is a tropical riff on a Margarita, but uses pineapple juice instead of orange liqueur.
Whatever the real story is, we’re just happy this iconic Matador cocktail survived through the ages.
The Matador has worn many guises over the years and some versions even include mezcal. If you want to learn what makes mezcal different from tequila, then walk this way. Another way to customise your tequila matador cocktail is to play with different tequila types like Espolón Reposado Chardonnay. It is aged in American oak and finished in chardonnay barrels for a truly unique drinking experience. Or if you’re looking for something a little more festive and warming then check out our very merry bourbon Christmas cocktails.
When to serve
The original Matador cocktail is perfect for celebrations or special occasions. It brings a touch of nostalgic class to any event which your guests will appreciate. On the other hand, Trader Vic’s Matador will fit in at any party or event whatever the theme.
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