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Campus Cocktails: The Jimmy Buffett Key Lime Margarita

Jimmy Buffett, a musician known for his tropical rock music, died on Sept. 1. Through songs like “Margaritaville,” “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” and “Why Don’t We Get Drunk,” Buffett inspired listeners to enjoy life and take it easy.

Buffet moved to Key West, Fla. in 1971. The songwriter was clearly influenced by the island’s upbeat atmosphere and laidback lifestyle. Buffett paid homage to Key West frequently in his songwriting. In “Woman Goin’ Crazy on Caroline Street,” he references Caroline Street—an iconic road that runs perpendicular to Duval Street. 

In 2021, I road-tripped to Key West with my best friend and her family. I loved the eccentricity of the small but vibrant island. From the wacky characters roaming Duval Street in neon clothing to the serene subtropical beaches, I cherished every aspect of my time in Key West.

To honor Buffett’s love for the margarita and his time in Key West, the “Jimmy Buffett” is the perfect cocktail to channel a live-in-the-moment approach to life. If you haven’t been to one of Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurants before, this tropical beverage will transport you there. 

The drink is a twist on a margarita, which is one of my favorite drinks. The Jimmy Buffett requires key limes, which are more acidic and have a more intense, tangy taste compared to regular limes.

I made this drink as part of a Jimmy Buffett–themed dinner party. Guests got to enjoy a “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” in addition to homemade guacamole and fresh fruit. The cocktail received rave reviews and perfectly matched the tropical vibe of the night.

DRINK: The Jimmy Buffett


For one serving 

1 ½ oz. tequila (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

1 oz. orange liqueur

1 ½ oz. key lime juice

½ oz. key lime simple syrup (optional)



  1. Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake for about 10 seconds. Add simple syrup for extra sweetness if needed.
  2. Pour the beverage into a salt-rimmed glass full of ice.
  3. Garnish with key lime slices!
September 19, 2023