Margarita: the best tequila recipe for making the classic margarita cocktail

Total time: 5 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 1 person
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By Cookist
silver tequila
1 1/2 ounces
triple sec
1 ounce
Lime juice
3/4 ounce
lime wedges, for garnish
coarse salt for rimming the glass
simple syrup to taste (optional)

There's nothing like a perfectly chilled margarita on a hot summer's day to beat the heat. Tangy lime, sweet orange liqueur such as triple sec, and citrusy, strong bite of blanco tequila make the classic margarita oh-so refreshing.

The margarita is one of the most popular cocktails across North America, which is no surprise considering how bright, zesty, and delicious it is! A single margarita has about 27 percent alcohol, making it a boozier cocktail with a crisp, sweet-sour flavor that can be even salty if you rim the glass with salt.

Although February 22nd is National Margarita Day, this fantastic cocktail is killer any time of year – especially when the mercury rises. It's a delicious aperitif, or can be sipped on alongside spicy dishes, Latin cuisine, or even a cheese board. Make a big batch of this easy margarita recipe to share with friends at your next outdoor gathering. The drinks are bright, festive and come together in no time.

Margarita Origins

The margarita dates back to the early 20th century, although its exact origins are uncertain. There's a great deal of folklore surrounding this beloved drink.

There are various stories stating that the drink was made in honor of different dancers or showgirls by a bartender. What we do know is that the margarita comes from south of the border, with most origin stories saying it was made in Baja California.

Other cocktail historians say that the margarita is related to the Daisy, one of the earliest cocktails. The daisy is made from spirits, a little simple syrup, and lime juice. Sound familiar? Given that the word margarita means daisy in Spanish, this theory is a strong one!

Margarita Ingredients

The classic margarita is made with three ingredients: tequila, triple sec, and lime juice.

Silver or blanco tequila is the best tequila for mixing up margaritas.

Use an orange liqueur like triple sec. Cointreau is a widely available type of triple sec you'll find in many margarita recipes. You could use Grand Marnier, a cognac-based liqueur notable for its rich flavors and incredible complexity. It's more expensive than triple sec, but it adds loads of flavor to cocktails.

Finally, make sure to use freshly-squeezed lime juice. Anything else won't taste as good.

If you want to make your margaritas a little sweet, add in some simple syrup or better yet, some agave nectar. Tequila is made from blue agave, so the flavor of agave nectar goes beautifully with the spirit.

Kosher salt, which has nice medium-sized crystals, is a great choice for salting the rim of your margarita glasses. You can also avoid large salt crystals which can overpower your drink. At the same time, table salt is much saltier tasting than kosher, and it will leave you thirsty rather than refreshed.

How to Make a Margarita

Even if you're not the most confident bartender, it's super easy to make a margarita. Start by pouring salt (or sugar if you like your margarita rims sweet) into a shallow bowl. Rub the rim of your cocktail glass with a lime wedge, then dip it into the salt. Set it aside for the moment.

Next, pour ice into a cocktail shaker. Add the tequila, triple sec, and lime juice and shake it well. About 10 seconds should do. Fill your salt-rimmed cocktail glass with fresh ice. Strain the margarita into the glass, garnish with a lime wedge or wheel, and enjoy!


Can You Make a Pitcher of Margaritas?

Planning a party with plenty of thirsty guests? Make a margarita pitcher! Combine 3 cups of tequila, 2 cups of triple sec, and 1 ½ cups of freshly-squeezed lime juice.

If desired, you can sweeten your margarita pitcher with simple syrup or agave nectar – just taste it until it reaches your ideal level of sweetness. Once everything is mixed, pour it into a pitcher and serve! For extra ease, rim the glasses with salt ahead of time.

Tips for Making a Classic Margarita

Do not use cheap tequila or premade margarita mix for your margaritas. They won't taste anywhere near as good. Buy a decent quality silver (blanco) tequila and use freshly-squeezed lime juice.

Shake the cocktail shaker well, but don't overdo it. You want to chill the cocktail but avoid watering it down excessively.

Salting the rim of your cocktail glass is optional.

Margarita Variations

Once you've mastered the basic classic margarita, it's time to experiment with other flavors. There are dozens of fabulous margarita variations to try.

Some popular flavors are strawberry, watermelon, berry, mango, passion fruit, ginger, guava, and frozen margaritas.

You can also spice up your margaritas with fresh chili peppers and use a chili-salt rim. Play around with adding your favorite fruits to your margarita.

Want to make a blue margarita? Swap blue curacao for the triple sec.

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Squeeze lime juice until you get 3/4 ounce.


Pour salt into a shallow bowl. Run a lime wedge around the edge of the glass.


Gently but firmly dip the rim into the salt.


Turn the glass upside down again.


Pour in tequila, triple sec, and lime juice.


Add ice to a cocktail shaker.


Shake well for about 10 seconds.


Fill the cocktail glass with fresh ice. Strain the margarita into the glass, garnish with lime, and serve.

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