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.
It’s no secret that margaritas are my all-time favorite cocktail.
I love margaritas on the rocks, I love them frozen. I love margaritas made with tequila, I love them with smoky mezcal or sotol. I love margaritas made with straight lime juice, I love them muddled with fruit or cucumber or a nice kick of jalapeño. I love them on Cinco de Mayo, Dos de Mayo (my birthday!), National Margarita Day, or any other day that calls for a celebratory round of happy hour margs.
I love a good margarita. ♡
That said, of all the variations out there that I’ve tried, my favorite will forever and always be this classic margarita recipe right here. It’s made with just three easy ingredients. It’s nice and strong (look out!). It’s easy to mix as an individual serving, or scale up to make a big pitcher for a group (see tips below). And it’s legendary amongst our friends, who always request margs when they come over to our place because these are simply too good.
So if you’re craving a stellar iced cocktail to cool off during these hot summer days, here’s the best margarita recipe that I always use!
Margarita Recipe | 1-Minute Video
To make classic 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 to taste. (Or you are welcome to use simple syrup or any other sweetener you prefer.)
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 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:
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.
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.)
Shake shake shake: Give the mixture a good shake (or a good stir!) for about 10 seconds or until chilled.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
What To Serve With This Margarita Recipe:
If you ask me, just about anything can go with a good margarita cocktail. But if you are looking for some delicious Mexican dishes to accompany your drinks, I highly recommend:
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.
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
optional: 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
optional: lime wedges and coarse salt for rimming the glasses
If you would like salt-rimmed glasses, begin by running a lime slice (the juicy part) around the top rim of a glass. Fill a shallow bowl with salt, and dip the rim in the salt until it is covered with your desired amount of salt. Set aside.
Add tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice to a cocktail shaker, and shake or stir until combined. Taste, and if you would like the margarita to be sweeter, stir in a half teaspoon of agave or simple syrup at a time until the mix reaches your desired level of sweetness.
Fill glass with ice. Pour in the margarita mixture over the rocks. Serve immediately, garnished with an extra lime wedge if desired.
To Make A Pitcher Of Margaritas (16 servings): Stir tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice together in a large pitcher until combined. Add your desired amount of sweetener if desired (I would begin with 2-3 tablespoons agave) until the margaritas reach your desired level of sweetness. Serve on the rocks, garnished with an extra lime wedge if desired.
A Note On Serving Sizes: The serving size of one cocktail is 3.5 ounces (a little less than 1/2 cup), which is more akin to a traditional cocktail versus the large mugs of diluted margaritas that many restaurants serve.