Margaritas

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All you need are 3 ingredients to make my favorite margarita recipe! Instructions included for how to make a single serving margarita or pitcher margaritas for a crowd.

Classic Margarita Recipe in Glass with Lime

Raise your hand if you love a good margarita! ♡

This famously sweet, sour and salty drink will forever and always be my all-time favorite cocktail. But while I adore just about any kind of margarita — frozen or on the rocks, tequila or mezcal, fruity or spicy or fizzy or creamy, you name it — a classic margarita cocktail in my book simply cannot be beat.

By contrast to many of the diluted, super-sweet, and sometimes fizzy huge mugs of margaritas that are often served in restaurants around the world nowadays, a traditional margarita is actually a strong, tart cocktail made with three simple ingredients — good-quality tequila, orange liqueur, and freshly-squeezed lime juice. This simple margarita mix is incredibly quick and easy to make, either for a single serving or a larger batch for a crowd. And it is downright delicious served on the rocks, with or without a salted rim.

I have become quite partial over the years to making margaritas with mezcal instead of tequila, which I highly recommend if you love a good smoky cocktail. And if you feel like spicing your drink up a bit, I’ve also included tips below for how to make a spicy salted rim or muddle a few chile peppers into your drink — so good!

Bottom line, if you love margaritas as much as I do, take a moment to read through my tips below and memorize this simple 3:2:1 ingredient ratio. Then let’s make a round of margaritas together. Cheers!

Margarita Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Margarita FAQ:

What does margarita mean? Margarita means “daisy” in Spanish. ♡

Where did margaritas originate? We have the rich food and drink culture of Mexico to thank for this famously sweet, sour and salty cocktail. Historians debate the exact origins of the drink (you can read some of the most famous possible origin stories here and here). But it rose to popularity in the United States around Prohibition, during which time many Americans traveled to Mexico to drink and fell in love with their local tequila. And today, the margarita ranks as one of the most popular cocktails in the entire world.

How are margaritas traditionally served? By contrast to the large mugs of diluted margaritas that are popularly served nowadays in many restaurants around the world, margaritas are traditionally served as a strong cocktail in a margarita glass rimmed with salt. (Please note that the recipe below is the strong cocktail version!)

When is national margarita day? February 22, so mark your calendars is you’d like to celebrate!

Margarita Mix in Measuring Cup

Margarita Ingredients:

To make the best margarita mix, all you really need are three basic margarita ingredients:

  • Tequila: Silver or reposado is traditionally considered to be the best tequila for margaritas, but any type of tequila (or smoky mezcal or sotol) will work.
  • Freshly-squeezed lime juice: For the best fresh flavor, I highly recommend juicing your own limes versus using store-bought lime juice. I swear by this citrus juicer, which makes juicing a breeze and comes in especially handy if you are making a large batch.
  • Orange liqueur: Cointreau is my go-to, but Grand Marnier is also delicious or you can use a good-quality Triple Sec.

You are also welcome to add:

  • Agave: If you would like to sweeten your margarita, I recommend adding agave syrup (or simple syrup, or any other sweetener you prefer) to taste.
  • Kosher salt: If you would like to salt the rims of your glasses, run a lime wedge around the rims and then dip them in coarse Kosher salt or margarita salt. (I also like to mix some Tajín into my salt to give it an extra chili-lime kick.)
  • Additional lime slices/wedges: Save a few extra lime slices or wedges if you would like to add them to the glass as garnish.

How To Make Margaritas with a Cocktail Strainer

How To Make A Margarita (Single-Serving):

Detailed instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a brief overview of how to make a single-serving homemade margarita:

  1. Prep your glasses: If you would like to salt the rim of your glass, simply run a juicy lime wedge around the rim and then dip the rim in coarse Kosher salt. Set the glass aside until ready to use.
  2. Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker: Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and a few ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. (Or alternately if you do not have a cocktail shaker, you can stir the ingredients together in a measuring cup or shake them together in a mason jar.)
  3. Shake shake shake: Give the mixture a good shake (or a good stir!) for about 10 seconds or until chilled.
  4. Taste and add sweetener, if desired: Give the margarita mix a taste and if you think it needs extra sweetener, add in a teaspoon or two of agave (or simple syrup) at a time until the mix reaches your desired level of sweetness.
  5. Strain and serve on the rocks. Place a few ice cubes (or I often use one large ice cube so that it will melt more slowly) in the serving glass, then strain the margarita mix over the ice and garnish with a slice of lime.

Pitcher Margaritas

How To Make A Pitcher Of Margaritas:

Detailed instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a brief overview of how to make pitcher margaritas:

  1. Prep your glasses: If you would like to salt the rims of your glasses, simply run a juicy lime wedge around the rims and then dip the rims in coarse Kosher salt. Set the glasses aside until ready to use.
  2. Stir the ingredients together in a large pitcher: Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur and a handful of ice in a large pitcher and stir to combine.
  3. Taste and add sweetener, if desired: Give the margarita mix a taste, and if you think it needs extra sweetener, add in a tablespoon or two of agave (or simple syrup) at a time, until the drink reaches your desired level of sweetness.
  4. Serve on the rocks. Place a few ice cubes (or I often use one large ice cube so that it will melt more slowly) in each serving glass, then pour the margarita mix over the ice and garnish each glass with a slice of lime.

Margarita Recipe in Glasses with Salt Rim

Possible Recipe Variations:

The sky’s the limit when it comes to different types of margaritas that you can make, but here are a few of my favorite simple tweaks that you can make to this classic margarita recipe:

  • Make mezcal margaritas: We are especially partial in our house to making margaritas with mezcal (or sotol) instead of tequila, which adds the most delicious, smoky, complex flavor to this cocktail. That said, if you would just like a subtly smoky margarita, try using a 50/50 blend of tequila and mezcal.
  • Make lemon margaritas: If you happen to live in a place where limes are super-expensive or you would just like to try a different citrus twist, try making your margaritas with lemon juice instead of lime juice, or a 50/50 lemon/lime blend. The lemon version is not traditional, but it is delicious!
  • Make spicy margaritas: If you like your margarita to have a kick, try muddling a few slices of fresh jalapeño or serrano chiles into the margarita mix. Please note, however, that a few chile slices go a long way with a single serving. So I recommend starting with one or two slices, and then you can always add more if you’d like to your spicy margarita recipe.
  • Make it “skinny”: If you would like to shave off some calories (and alcoholic content), try substituting freshly-squeezed orange juice in place of the orange liqueur to make a skinny margarita. They still taste great!
  • Customize the salted rim: I also love mixing Tajín with coarse salt to make a spicier chili-lime salted rim. Or if you want to go sweet and spicy, you can mix some turbinado sugar (or any type of sugar) with the salt too.

Classic Margarita Recipe in Glass with Lime

More Classic Cocktail Recipes:

Looking for more classic cocktail recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves:

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Classic Margarita Recipe

Margaritas

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 mins
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x

Description

My favorite margarita recipe is made with just 3 easy ingredients! See instructions below for how to make a single serving or a big pitcher for a party.


Ingredients

Scale

For A Single Margarita:

  • 1 1/2 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
  • 3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • optional sweetener: agave nectar or simple syrup, to taste
  • ice
  • lime wedge and coarse salt for rimming the glass

For A Pitcher Of Margaritas (16 Servings):

  • 3 cups silver tequila
  • 2 cups orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • optional sweetener: agave nectar or simple syrup, to taste
  • ice
  • lime wedges and coarse salt for rimming the glasses

Instructions

  1. Salt the rim (optional). Run a lime wedge (the juicy part) around the top rim of your serving glass. Fill a shallow bowl or plate with salt, then dip the rim until it is covered with your desired amount of salt. Set aside.
  2. Make the margarita mix. Add tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and a few ice cubes to a cocktail shaker. Shake or stir for about 10 seconds, until combined. Give the mix a taste and if you would like it to be sweeter, stir in your desired amount of agave or simple syrup to taste.
  3. Serve. Fill serving glass with ice and pour in the margarita mix. Garnish with a lime slice, serve and enjoy! Cheers!


Notes

To Make A Pitcher Of Margaritas (16 servings): Stir tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and a handful of ice together in a large pitcher until combined.  Add sweetener to taste, if desired, until the margaritas reach your preferred level of sweetness. Serve over ice, garnishing each glass with an extra lime slice if desired.

A Note On Serving Sizes: Please note that one serving is 3.5 ounces (a little less than 1/2 cup) and it is quite strong, making this traditional margarita cocktail different than the large mugs of diluted margaritas that are served in many restaurants.

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Recipe rating

129 comments on “Margaritas”

1 2 3
  1. Margs for brunch!? I can SO get on board with that shenanigans! This looks like the perfect recipe for a classic. But, I might need to taste test it tonight before the big day tomorrow. You know, to make sure ;) Pinned!

  2. You’re making me want to head straight to the basement to get my Mexican Party hat out. (I’m sure you have one of those) I’m ready to P-R-T for Cinco de Mayo! 

  3. I always find that brunch is an excuse to eat everything on the menu…because you gotta try everything, right? Hence, I love brunch, and a Mexican brunch is all the more delicious!  Love this dependable marg recipe:).  Perfect to wash down the tacos!

  4. While the classic is fantastic (I grew up in Texas, so know margaritas), when fresh strawberries are available right out of the field, a strawberry margarita will make that berry picking and jam making a whole lot better.  

  5. I was just thinking that I should have shared a classic margarita for Cinco de Mayo! (I have an apple cider marg on my site that I adore, but tomorrow’s holiday just calls for a classic.) This version looks incredible!

  6. So excited to see this recipe!  Can’t wait to make it for Cinco de Mayo! Have you posted the recipe for your pineapple margarita?Thanks! 

    • Thanks Melissa! Yes, here is the recipe for the pineapple margarita: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/fresh-pineapple-margaritas/ Hope you enjoy!

  7. LOVE Port Fonda, I’v hear their brunch is amazing, yet I’ve never been either! What gives?! And I agree, I cannot stand a super sugary margarita with faux lime juice, not happening. These guys look (and sound) PERFECT.

  8. Margs always make meals (especially brunch) better. My favorite local spot is a 1920’s Bakersfield, Cali honkey-tony style bar/restaurant with plenty of tex-Mex food, and their brunch is killer. 

    Josh – The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.com

  9. I must know this restaurant. I’m not a huge bruncher either, but I’m a big Mexican food eater and margarita drinker. As a Texas transplant to the KC area, I’m always looking for yummy Mexican!

  10. Margaritas for brunch??? SIGN ME UP! :) 

  11. I have to say, I have always been a huge brunch person! But these would definitely be an enticing addition to any brunch menu!

  12. These look delicious – and that Mexican brunch sounds amazing! I live in Copenhagen (DK) and here, brunch is usually the same old (yogurt, muesli, fruit, eggs, bacon, maybe a pancake or two…) so the thought of Mexican brunch just got me all giddy! Oh, and I totally agree, Cointreau > Triple Sec!

  13. Okay I’m making this asap!!

  14. this is exactly how I like my margs! So fresh! I like to add a squeeze of a fresh orange slice too, and add it as garnish, love me some margaritas!

  15. I agree – they MUST have fresh lime juice! Or at least a homemade sour mix. I won’t stand for that bottled sour mix crap. Ew. And I like mine with a sugared rim. :-D

  16. Finding the perfect margarita recipe is on my summer bucket list. Looking forward to trying this one out! Would love recommendations of  what brand of tequila and Cointreau to buy. It’s a little overwhelming trying to figure out what to buy – would rather be doing the mixing and taste testing instead! :)

    • Hey Mindy! For the Triple Sec, I use Cointreau, which is great. For tequila, I love Camarena Tequila Reposado, and that’s what I usually use. But Sauza also works great, and I’ve heard good things about Siembra Azul Blanco. And of course, you can never go wrong with Patron. Hope that helps!

  17. Lived in the area for 3 years and have never been to Port Fonda! It’s a travesty, I know! Will be making it there soon!

  18. What is the recipe you use to make a pitcher of margaritas? I love a good margarita, but I find it kind of annoying to have to make each one individually. It would be much more fun to just be able to go to the fridge and refill my glass, or make a bunch so more than one person could enjoy it!

  19. i love your pins and I also have recently discovered this juicer. Amazing! The Beaty is you get so much more juice out of the fruit with a fraction of the aggravation. I can’t wait to try the margaritas.

  20. Made these today to go along with some Rose Bowl watching!  Delish!  Love that they are so simple and basic; no syrupy limeade concentrate.  Will absolutely make them again!  Thanks for the recipe!

  21. This sounds delicious! I just shared it on my blog for a post about National Margarita Day! Check it out here:
    http://www.biscuitsandburlap.com/2016/02/21/10-fresh-fruit-margaritas/
    Thanks for sharing!

    • That’s awesome Sara — thanks for sharing with us, and thanks for the sweet shout out on your blog! :D

  22. Best ever :) I will never buy a mix again

  23. I love the glasses! Where are the from?

    • Hi Melissa! Ali got them from West Elm last year, but looks like they’re discontinued. :(

      BUT, she just found some that are nearly identical at World Market. Here’s an affiliate link:

      http://rstyle.me/n/bkrj66ss9n

  24. Besides the recipe, I am super interested in the glasses in the first picture!!! Where are those from?

    • Hi Courtney! Ali got them from West Elm last year, but looks like they’re discontinued. :(

      BUT, she just found some that are nearly identical at World Market. Here’s an affiliate link:

      http://rstyle.me/n/bkrj66ss9n

  25. Hi Ali!

    I made these margaritas for Cinco de Mayo tonight! They were great.   I did end up adding a bit of agave as I had some in the cupboard but next time I may try without just to see if the Cointreau adds enough sugar to the mix. I just have one question though…the recipe lists a pitcher as 16 servings, but the notes in the recipe list a pitcher as 8 servings.  How many servings are in a pitcher? I made half of the “pitcher” recipe and I think this would equate to about 4 servings, but I don’t know if my serving size is just skewed…it is the first time I made margaritas!

    Thanks!

    • Hi Ceili! We’re sorry for just now getting your comment. We’re glad to hear you enjoyed these, and oh my, that serving amount is definitely a typo! A pitcher is 16 servings! We apologize for the confusion!

  26. Those look so good

  27. Listen here!

    You nailed it. I live in Galveston Texas and was a friend of Santos Cruz, Inventor of the Margarita (look up the story), and this is it. I usually use the ratio of 2:1:1 tequila, triple sec, lime juice but, being on Island time and all other measurements, somewhere in the vicinity is good. Cointreau IS much richer in flavor than Triple Sec, is a great substitute. I find, even here in Galveston, there are so many bartenders that do not know the simple recipe it’s just sacriligous! Kudos to you! Preach the word!
    Here’s a trick for your readers, a Daquiri, a true Daquiri, is simply a rum margarita. And NO TRUE AFFICIONADO would use sweet sour mix! Throw that radiator fluid out!
    I’m a big fan! Until next time JC from Texas, signing off! [email protected]

    • Thank you, John, we loved your comment! There’s nothing like a classic margarita done right. :D

  28. I also noticed in one of your comments you use Camarena tequila. Great stuff. Remember folks, buy the cheap tequila. By that I mean look for the stuff that is distilled AND bottled in Jalisco. Anything bottled in this country is way overpriced and not nearly as smooth. I use Cabrito a lot, the goat. El Amo is excellent. All of these are usually half the price of that fella Jose and much better stuff.

  29. This is my favorite way to have a margarita too. Better still, add around 25% Sprite or 7UP poured on top and give it a quick mild stir. If you don’t like the sweet try Tonic or plain seltzer. The effervescence really kicks off the flavor!!! And as a rule of thumb I use one whole lime per drink.

  30. PS Always use a tequila that says on the bottle ‘100% Agave’, not ‘agave’, not ‘blue agave’, it has to say 100% Agave or 100% Blue Agave. Anything else can legally be mixed with up 50% grain alcohlol. Use 100% Agave and avoid the headache or the Tequila hangover.

  31. 5 stars
    These are the best!!!

  32. 5 stars
    Delicious! I love a fresh no-sugar margarita and this is perfect! Thank you for posting.

  33. 5 stars
    These have become our go-to margs. SO GOOD.

  34. nice, great margarita recipe, like that you feature some essential margarita tools too, thank you for this!

  35. When we meet with friends it is always good to have something to take the stress out of the day, refresh and the margarita is perfect for this, I think very good but never prepared now seeing the recipe gave a crazy desire to do.

  36. 5 stars
    Love these. I make them for my wife and friends during the summer

  37. Will Stevia work as a sweetener (to keep it skinny)?

  38. we love margaritas at our house. we sweeten them up by adding a splash of amaretto – then it’s an Italian margarita. looking forward to trying these with the fresh lime juice!

  39. ¡Gracias! Te quiero.

  40. FYI, I recently discovered you can use a stand mixer to juice a ton of citrus at once with minimal effort. Its a game changer for margaritas!! Just quarter all the limes, plop them in the mixer, run it for a bit, and voila!

  41. 5 stars
    The best!!!

  42. 5 stars
    Soooooo good. (And strong! 😂)

  43. 5 stars
    Old post but one that never could be outdated! This is exactly like the chispas that we drink in San Antonio! For extra kick to it, rim your glass with tajin! SO GOOD!

    • Oops! This is NOT an old post… don’t know why I read that it was from 2015? I just woke up and haven’t had coffee yet! :( Sorry!

  44. Very tasty. For the pitcher option any chance you meant ounces and not cups? If you did mean cups, my wife and I and our current guest would love to join you some time as I imagine it would be a blast for a couple of hours before we all passed out. I modified a bit and it is still very tasty…and still very potent :) Thank you.

  45. I’ve tried lots of at home recipes. This one is easily my favorite. Yay, thank you!

  46. Seriously The best margarita recipe I have found! I have made this for multiple parties and everyone raves about it and asks for the recipe. This drink is made for folks who like a stiff and tasty cocktail!

  47. Love this recipe!! We will be making a pitcher tomorrow for Cinco de Mayo for sure!

  48. Can I give it ten stars?? So perfect! Your recipes are just the best.

  49. This looks so refreshing! I can’t wait to try it!
    Thanks, Ali!

  50. It’s May 13th 2020…I just found your site – the pictures for these Margaritas are so amazing that I’m going right now to make one….after all – it’s 4:30 somewhere in the world!
    With all of this self isolation and the sunshine beaming onto my front porch I am glad I have all of the ingredients for this so …Cheers! and stay safe and healthy!