Margarita Cocktail Drink

Margarita

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

If you want to make a standout cocktail, this Margarita recipe has all the necessary ingredients! This Marg is a drink that’s as easy to make as it is enjoyable to sip.

Best Margarita Recipe

Sip your way to happiness with this classic Margarita recipe! This zesty cocktail is a go-to for any celebration, made with Tequila, lime juice, and triple sec.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

264 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • ½ oz Triple Sec or Cointreau
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime wedge or slice, for garnish, optional
  • Salt, for rimming the glass, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Strainer & Fine-strainer
  • Martini or Coupe Glass

Instructions

  • Chill the glass: Place your Martini glass in the freezer or fill it with ice cubes to chill.
  • Add Ingredients: In the cocktail shaker, combine ½ oz simple syrup, 1 oz lime juice, ½ oz Triple Sec or Cointreau, and 2 oz Tequila.
  • Shake: Fill your cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake the mixture until cold.
  • Prep Glass: If you like a salted rim, run a lime wedge around the rim of your glass and dip it into salt.
  • Strain: Fine strain the mixture into your prepared chilled glass.
  • Serve: Enjoy your Margarita immediately. Cheers!

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Tequila: I use mezcal for a smokier flavor when I don't have Tequila. It's a game-changer!
  • Triple Sec: I've used Grand Marnier for a richer, more complex flavor. Cointreau works well, too.
  • Lime Juice: In a pinch, lemon juice can work but will alter the classic Margarita taste.

Making a Pitcher of Margarita:

  • Scale: To serve 8, multiply all ingredients by 8. That's 16 oz of Tequila, 8 oz of lime juice, 4 oz of triple sec, and 4 oz of simple syrup.
  • Mix: Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well with ice cubes.
  • Serve: Pour into individual chilled glasses, garnish, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic (skinny margarita):

  • Tequila Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic tequila alternative available in specialty stores.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use the non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps for a guilt-free Margarita.

Making it Vegan:

  • Triple Sec: Ensure your triple sec contains no animal-derived coloring or flavoring. Most are vegan-friendly, but it's good to check.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
264
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.03
g
0
%
Sodium
 
12
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
22
g
7
%
Fiber
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sugar
 
20
g
22
%
Potassium
 
52
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.04
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.01
g
Vitamin A
 
14
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
9
mg
11
%
Calcium
 
6
mg
1
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%

 

Margarita Cocktail Drink

Best Margarita Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Sip your way to happiness with this classic Margarita recipe! This zesty cocktail is a go-to for any celebration, made with Tequila, lime juice, and triple sec.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 264

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • ½ oz Triple Sec or Cointreau
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime wedge or slice - for garnish, optional
  • Salt - for rimming the glass, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Strainer & Fine-strainer
  • Martini or Coupe Glass

Instructions

  • Chill the glass: Place your Martini glass in the freezer or fill it with ice cubes to chill.
  • Add Ingredients: In the cocktail shaker, combine ½ oz simple syrup, 1 oz lime juice, ½ oz Triple Sec or Cointreau, and 2 oz Tequila.
  • Shake: Fill your cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake the mixture until cold.
  • Prep Glass: If you like a salted rim, run a lime wedge around the rim of your glass and dip it into salt.
  • Strain: Fine strain the mixture into your prepared chilled glass.
  • Serve: Enjoy your Margarita immediately. Cheers!

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Tequila: I use mezcal for a smokier flavor when I don't have Tequila. It's a game-changer!
  • Triple Sec: I've used Grand Marnier for a richer, more complex flavor. Cointreau works well, too.
  • Lime Juice: In a pinch, lemon juice can work but will alter the classic Margarita taste.

Making a Pitcher of Margarita:

  • Scale: To serve 8, multiply all ingredients by 8. That's 16 oz of Tequila, 8 oz of lime juice, 4 oz of triple sec, and 4 oz of simple syrup.
  • Mix: Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well with ice cubes.
  • Serve: Pour into individual chilled glasses, garnish, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic (skinny margarita):

  • Tequila Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic tequila alternative available in specialty stores.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use the non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps for a guilt-free Margarita.

Making it Vegan:

  • Triple Sec: Ensure your triple sec contains no animal-derived coloring or flavoring. Most are vegan-friendly, but it's good to check.

What is a Margarita?

A Margarita is a tequila-based cocktail that combines lime juice and triple sec for a balanced blend of sweet and sour flavors. Many consider it the ultimate party drink, often served in a salt-rimmed glass to enhance its zesty profile. The Margarita has earned its place in the cocktail hall of fame for its taste and ability to set the mood for any social gathering. The cocktail is categorized among “Contemporary Classics” by the International Bartender Association(IBA) that officially acknowledges the drink.

A side shot of a Margarita cocktail in a coupe glass on a black stone plate placed on a blue table surrounded by lime wedges and on a pink background colour.

What is a Margarita made of – The ingredients

Our Margarita recipe requires the following ingredients:

  • Tequila: Provides the base spirit and adds a distinct, earthy flavor.
  • Lime Juice: Offers a tart kick that balances the sweetness.
  • Triple Sec: Adds a citrusy sweetness to round out the cocktail.
  • Ice Cubes: Chill the drink without diluting the flavors too much.
  • Salt: Optional for rimming the glass, enhances the drink’s overall taste.
  • Lime Wedge: Optional for garnish, adds a visual and flavorful touch.

Tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice and simple syrup laid out on a white bar table.

How do you make a Homemade Margarita?

Follow our guide to achieve the best result when making your own Margarita:

1
<p>Start by preparing your glass.</p>

Start by preparing your glass.

2
<p>Pour the simple syrup into your cocktail shaker, for a sweeter taste.</p>

Pour the simple syrup into your cocktail shaker, for a sweeter taste.

3
<p>Add lime juice to the shaker, introducing the tart element that balances the cocktail.</p>

Add lime juice to the shaker, introducing the tart element that balances the cocktail.

4
<p>Include triple sec to bring in a sweet, citrusy note that rounds out the flavors.</p>

Include triple sec to bring in a sweet, citrusy note that rounds out the flavors.

5
<p>Pour Tequila into the cocktail shaker, setting the foundation for your Margarita.</p>

Pour Tequila into the cocktail shaker, setting the foundation for your Margarita.

6
<p>Ice up the cocktail shaker, seal it the cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds to mix and chill the ingredients.</p>

Ice up the cocktail shaker, seal it the cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds to mix and chill the ingredients.

7
<p> Remove the ice cubes from the chilled coupe glass.</p>

Remove the ice cubes from the chilled coupe glass.

8
<p>If you prefer a salted rim, run a lime wedge around the rim of the chilled coupe glass.</p>

If you prefer a salted rim, run a lime wedge around the rim of the chilled coupe glass.

9
<p>Then dip the rim into a plate of salt.</p>

Then dip the rim into a plate of salt.

10
<p>Strain the mixture, removing any traces of ice.</p>

Strain the mixture, removing any traces of ice.

11
<p>Enjoy your freshly made Margarita. Cheers!</p>

Enjoy your freshly made Margarita. Cheers!

The best Tequila for a Margarita

When making a killer Margarita, the type of Tequila you choose can make or break the drink. Let’s cut to the chase: you want a tequila that’s 100% agave for the best flavor. Brands like Espolon and Patron are solid choices that offer a clean, agave-forward taste. Espolon’s Blanco is affordable and versatile, great for mixing without overshadowing the other ingredients. Patron Silver is another go-to, known for its smoothness and slightly citrusy notes. But if you’re looking for a tequila that takes your Margarita to the next level, I recommend Don Julio Blanco. It’s crisp, light, and has a hint of sweetness that pairs perfectly with lime and triple sec. It’s a bit pricier, but the quality shines through in the final drink. So, if you’re serious about your Margaritas, Don Julio Blanco is worth the splurge.

The best orange liqueur for a Margarita

The orange liqueur in a Margarita is the unsung hero that ties everything together. You’ve got a few big names in this game: Triple Sec is the most common and budget-friendly. Then you’ve got Cointreau, which is a bit more upscale and offers a cleaner, crisper orange flavor. Grand Marnier is another contender, adding a touch of luxury with its cognac and bitter orange blend. But if you ask me, Cointreau is the way for a Margarita. It’s not as syrupy as Triple Sec and not as heavy as Grand Marnier, hitting that sweet spot right in the middle. It elevates the drink without overpowering it, making your Margarita taste like a pro crafted it. So, Cointreau is a solid investment if you want to step up your Margarita game.

Lime juice

Fresh is usually best when it comes to lime juice for your Margarita, but let’s be real: sometimes you need a shortcut. Plenty of bottled options exist, but they’re not all created equal. Nellie & Joe’s is a popular choice, known for its tart, authentic flavor. Rose’s lime juice is another option, but it’s on the sweeter side due to added sugar. If you’re looking for a brand that nails the balance between tart and sweet, go for Simply Limeade. It’s made with real lime juice and cane sugar, so you’re not getting any artificial flavors. Plus, it’s versatile enough to use in other drinks or recipes. Bottom line: if you’re going bottled, Simply Limeade is a solid pick that won’t disappoint you.

A close side shot of a Margarita cocktail in a coupe glass on a pink background colour.

Pre-mixed Ready-to-drink Margaritas

When you’re in a rush or not in the mood to play bartender, a pre-made Margarita can or bottle can be a lifesaver. Let’s talk about some standout brands. Cutwater Spirits offers a canned Margarita that’s made with their own top-notch Tequila and natural lime. It’s a balanced drink that hits all the right notes. Then there’s Jose Cuervo, a name everyone recognizes. Their canned Margarita is reliable and gives you that classic tart and sweet combo. But if I had to choose one to keep in my fridge, it would be Cayman Jack. They use organic limes, real cane sugar, and high-quality Tequila. The taste is spot-on, making it a convenient yet flavorful option. So, if you’re looking for a solid pre-made Margarita, Cayman Jack is worth a try.

What is a dirty Margarita?

A dirty Margarita includes olive juice or brine in addition to the standard Margarita ingredients of Tequila, lime juice, and triple sec. The olive juice adds a salty, savory twist to the classic cocktail, making it a unique option for those who enjoy Margaritas and martinis. The result is a drink that offers a more complex flavor profile, blending the lime’s tartness with the olive juice’s saltiness.

What is a Frozen Margarita?

A frozen Margarita takes the traditional Margarita ingredients of Tequila, lime juice, and triple sec and blends them with ice to create a slushy texture. The result is a cold, refreshing drink that’s especially popular in hot weather. The icy consistency differentiates it from a classic Margarita served on the rocks, offering a smoother, more uniform sip.

A side shot of a Margarita cocktail in a coupe glass, on a black stone plate placed on a blue table surrounded by lime wedges.

Margarita variations – other classic cocktail recipes

Want to spice up your Marg game? Take a pick from our large selection of variations:

  • Blue Margarita: A vibrant blue color defines it, thanks to blue curaçao. Its citrus flavor adds a unique twist, making it visually striking and refreshingly tangy.
  • Mezcal Margarita: Smoky depth characterizes this one, replacing Tequila with Mezcal. The smokiness of Mezcal complements the lime’s tartness, creating a rich and complex flavor profile. I appreciate how the smoky notes add a rustic, earthy feel, which makes it intriguing and bold.
  • Jalapeño Margarita: Spicy kick comes from jalapeño peppers. The heat from the peppers contrasts with the sweet and sour elements, offering an exciting and invigorating taste experience.
  • Hibiscus Margarita: Floral notes of hibiscus infuse it, adding a vibrant color and a slightly tart, berry-like flavor. The hibiscus brings a refreshing and aromatic quality that’s both delightful and elegant.
  • Peach Margarita: Sweet, summery flavor of peaches makes it stand out. The peach’s natural sweetness pairs beautifully with the sourness of lime, creating a balanced and fruity taste.
  • Smoky Margarita: A smoky element is its feature, often achieved with a smoky liquor or a charred garnish. The smokiness adds a depth of flavor that’s both intriguing and satisfying.
  • Tamarind Margarita: Tamarind gives it a tangy and slightly sweet flavor. The tamarind’s unique taste adds an exotic and pleasantly sour twist, making it a standout choice.
  • Avocado Margarita: Creamy and rich, blending in avocado for a smooth, velvety texture. The avocado’s subtle flavor complements the traditional ingredients, adding a luxurious creaminess.
  • Beer Margarita: Combines the classic margarita with the light, refreshing taste of beer. The beer’s carbonation and hoppy notes add a new dimension, making it a popular choice for a laid-back, refreshing sip.
  • Elderflower Margarita: Elderflower liqueur lends a floral and slightly sweet flavor. The elderflower’s delicate taste adds a sophisticated and fragrant twist.
  • Frozen Margarita: Slushy, frozen delight, blending the classic ingredients with ice. The icy texture makes it perfect for cooling down on a hot day, offering a refreshing and indulgent treat.
  • Strawberry Margarita: Fresh strawberries add a juicy and fruity sweetness. The strawberries’ natural flavor enhances the overall taste, creating a vibrant and summery feel.
  • Mango Margarita: Tropical sweetness of ripe mangoes is its hallmark. The mango’s rich flavor pairs perfectly with the zesty lime, offering a luscious and exotic taste.
  • Spicy Margarita: Fiery twist with hot peppers. The spiciness elevates the classic flavors, providing a thrilling and bold taste adventure.
  • Cadillac Margarita: Luxurious choice, using top-shelf Tequila and Grand Marnier. The higher quality ingredients elevate the drink to a more refined and smoother experience.
  • Blackberry Margarita: Muddled blackberries add a tart and fruity depth. The blackberries contribute a rich color and a layered flavor profile, making it both visually appealing and deliciously complex.
  • Pineapple Margarita: Tropical flair with pineapple juice. The sweetness of the pineapple blends well with the lime’s tartness, creating a harmonious and sunny taste.
  • Coconut Margarita: Mixes in coconut cream or milk for a creamy, tropical sensation. The coconut’s silky texture and exotic flavor add a sumptuous and indulgent quality. I love the creamy texture of this; it’s like a tropical vacation in a glass.
  • Cucumber Margarita: Refreshing and crisp, with the addition of cucumber juice. The cucumber lightens the overall profile, making it extraordinarily fresh and easy to enjoy.
  • Watermelon Margarita: Light, summery feel comes from infusing watermelon juice. The watermelon’s sweetness is not overpowering, maintaining the classic Margarita’s beloved balance.
  • Pomegranate Margarita: Pomegranate juice adds antioxidants and a stunning red hue. The tartness of the pomegranate offsets the sweetness, creating a beautifully balanced and visually striking option.
  • Ginger Margarita: Spicy zing comes from fresh ginger or ginger liqueur. The ginger’s warmth and sharpness give an unexpected and exciting twist.
  • Blood Orange Margarita: Unique sweetness of blood orange juice. The blood orange adds a distinctive citrusy flavor and a beautiful red-orange color, making it both delicious and eye-catching.
  • Cherry Margarita: Cherry juice or fresh cherries provide a burst of sweet flavor. The cherries add a playful and vibrant touch, making it a delightful and fruity choice.

A Margarita cocktail, shot from above, in a coupe glass on a black stone plate placed on a blue table with four lime wedges on a side.

History and origin

The history of the Margarita cocktail is a subject of much debate and speculation, but several stories and theories attempt to pinpoint its origin. One popular tale credits Carlos “Danny” Herrera with creating the Margarita in the late 1930s at his restaurant, Rancho La Gloria, in Tijuana, Mexico. Herrera reportedly concocted the drink for a customer, Marjorie King, who was allergic to all alcohol except Tequila but didn’t like its harsh taste. To make it more palatable, he combined Tequila with lime and salt, commonly used in Mexico to chase tequila shots.

Another story attributes Margarita’s creation to socialite Margarita Sames, who claims she invented the drink for her guests at her Acapulco home in 1948. Tommy Hilton of the Hilton Hotels reportedly tasted the drink at one of Sames’ parties and added it to the hotel’s bar menu.

Regardless of its true origin, the Margarita gained widespread popularity in the United States, especially after the end of World War II. The shortage of European spirits like whiskey and vodka led Americans to turn to more readily available Mexican spirits, like Tequila. The Margarita became a hit, further propelled by the invention of the frozen Margarita machine in the 1970s by Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez.

 

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FAQ

How many calories are in a Margarita? 
A standard Margarita contains approximately 200-250 calories, depending on the ingredients and serving size.
How strong is a Margarita? 
A typical Margarita has an ABV (Alcohol by Volume) of around 20-25% and a proof of 40-50, depending on the Tequila used.
What alcohol is used in a Margarita? 
Tequila serves as the primary alcohol in a Margarita.
In which glass is a Margarita typically served? 
A Margarita is usually served in a Margarita glass, which has a wide rim ideal for salt.
What does a Margarita taste like? 
A Margarita offers a balanced blend of sweet, sour, and strong flavors, primarily from lime, triple sec, and Tequila.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Margarita?
The classic ratio is 2:1:½, meaning 2 parts tequila, 1 part lime juice, and ½ part triple sec with sometimes a splash of simple syrup.
How is a Margarita served concerning ice? 
A Margarita can be served on the rocks (over ice), up (shaken with ice and strained), or frozen (blended with ice).
What's the difference between a Margarita and a Tequila Sunrise?
A Tequila Sunrise uses Tequila, orange juice, and grenadine, making it sweeter and lacking the Margarita's tartness.

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