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

123 comments on “Margaritas”

  1. I didn’t have agave or felt like making simple syrup so I added a slash of Fresh Orange ( or bottle oj in a pinch ) in each glass.
    Cuts through the tartness for me . Other than that, it’s a hit! Ty

  2. We loved it! I added 2 tbsp of Maple Syrup to a 2 servings and it taste awesome! Our #1 for this summer.

    • Thanks for the tip! Indeed adding mayple syrup is a heck! It tastes exactly like what I was looking for.

  3. Made these today with Chambord (what I had available) instead of orange liqueur. Absolutely awesome! Husband and I enjoyed them thoroughly. Great recipe.

  4. Made these for my hubby and I, and they were amazing! Absolutely hit the spot because it was incredibly warm here! Hubby said that it was the best margarita that he’s ever had! 👍👍

  5. Hi from New Zealand just when limes are at their least expensive! Great recipe and thanks for the tip about the lemons – will definitely try them when the limes are too exxy. Enjoying a classic Margarita right now. It makes a nice change to my regular Negroni.

  6. Delicious recipe!! I was looking for something super fresh, easy and with low sweetness. I used mezcal and added about 1 tsp agave for each margarita and it turned out perfectly. Thank you!

  7. I’ve been using this recipe for a couple years now and they are the absolute best! I made these for some friends who grew up in Mexico, and they said they were fabulous as well!

  8. 2 Limes 2 nips of Cointreau 2 nips of Tequila. Shake in cocktail shaker with ice serve in salted glasses with ice. 1 VERY happy couple :-) my wife and I loved this!!

  9. Taste was lovely, but this recipe is VERY very strong. The ratio is too heavy on the liquor.
    These margaritas made everyone wasted!
    :(

  10. Great recipe! Simple and taste delicious. My wife loves it as well! Thank you for sharing.

  11. Used Santa Cruz organic pure lime juice in a pandemic pinch. So delicious! Had the other stuff however, lol. Grand Marnier mmm.

  12. These were amazing! We made a pitcher for 4 adults and didn’t realize how strong they were until the next day haha! Will cut in half next time, but super tasty! We also added maple syrup 👍🏼

  13. Best Margarita ever!

  14. Excellent, however, the pitcher recipe does not scale correctly. 1x, 2x and 3x all indicate a result of 16 servings..

  15. This the PERFECT Margarita recipe! We have found that the recipe for three is extra perfect for two if put in a Nutribullet with an ounce of Agave nectar and topped off with ice for a frozen Margarita. I think I’m addicted. WARNING: Don’t try having two – you’ll regret it!

  16. The individual recipe is amazing!! But look out the pitcher is potent!! Could be bc I used a different brand of Tequila as well as a triple sec, but they packed quite the punch!! 🤪

  17. A friend bought me a bottle of Patron Mango Liqueur for my birthday. How do I make an easy mango margarita with this?

  18. Be very careful with these margaritas…I hastily made a pitcher for a “Mom’s Night” without reading the post and didn’t realize they were more of a cocktail than your typical margarita. Two margaritas later I was passed out on the bathroom floor with no recollection of the night (So were my guests!) Whoops! I did get lots of compliments in the beginning of the night though so it’s definitely a tasty drink. Add a jalapeño and you can barely taste the alcohol 🤣

  19. I tried this recipe, and added a small tweak of my own. I used 3 cups of the silver tequilla, 2 cups of Tripple Sec, 1 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice ( ran outbof limes), so added 1/2 cup of mango puree. It was still a bit bitter, so addrd just a touch more of the mango for sweetness. I also used a 12 oz glass, so im having 3 servings in one glass! Feeling good about this margarita! :) peace!

  20. These are yummy! Followed the recipe as written. Very Good!

  21. It’s seriously perfect. Added a teaspoon simple syrup for each potion. Thank you!

  22. We’ve been looking all over for a recipe that we like. Most are too sour or too strong, but this one was our Goldilocks mixture. Thanks for posting!

  23. I literally use this recipe as reference every time I want to make a simple, classic margarita and I always add a bit of agave syrup per suggestion – delicious. Thanks!

  24. Looking for a different “best margarita” recipe. I love the taste and bite of alcohol but this was terrible. Followed recipe to a T. Then cut the tequila and added more Cointreau. No amount of simple syrup cut the harsh taste.

  25. I love making Margaritas It is my favorite Coctail

  26. i’ve never left a comment on a recipe before – everyone rating this 5 stars after saying how wasted they got are not using stars correctly!

    im reporting live from my bed where i cannot move or i will absolutely barf. i reduced the liquor in the pitcher recipe and only had 1! this can’t be right.

    -4 stars for the unwanted hangover.

  27. A bit strong but very yummy! Tastes like it’s from a restaurant.

  28. I’ve tried literally dozens of different margarita recipes and I’ve found this to be the best one. The recipes are all generally the same but in different ratios with slight variations to the ingredients. These proportions and these ingredients are absolutely perfect. I always double mine so I’ll do 3 oz silver tequila, 2 ounces Cointreau, and 1.5 oz of lime juice. I also add 1 tablespoon of simple syrup as well (agave is good too but it makes it just a little too sweet for my taste).

  29. I’m kinda a margarita snob. There. I said it.
    I have to say, this is THE BEST margarita recipe, hands down! It is my go-to. Highly recommend!

  30. I’ve been making these for years now and keep going back to the same recipe. We absolutely love them!! Sometimes add a splash of soda water to make them last longer… they sneak up on you quick!

  31. Holy cow…We are all wasted right now after one glass from the pitcher. We’ve diluted with 3 cans of sparkling water, and it’s still so so strong.

    • Same here. Great recipe but very strong. Wondering if there is a way to dilute it.

  32. Forgot to rate. So good. So strong.

  33. I made a pitcher and it was AMAZING!!!! as always your recipes never disappoint.

  34. Made this for the first time and love it! Stronger than expected but wonderful flavor! I’ll be using this recipe all the time! Thanks for sharing!

  35. My absolute favourite margarita recipe! I prefer mine as is without sweetener, but I have added stevia, honey, and even a bit of frozen limeade with great success!

  36. Delicious 🙌

  37. Ali, My husband makes his own Margarita mix too, and it sure makes a big difference! On hot weekend afternoons there’s nothing better.

  38. Been making these for years, but I prefer a ratio of 2/1/1 with a half ounce of simple syrup. Simple, delicious and very refreshing on a hot summer day.

  39. It looks good

  40. This is now our go-to margarita! Balanced and just the right amount of lime. No need to go out when I can make these and your flour and corn tortillas. Thank you!

  41. For the pitcher ingredients I added 1.5oz of simple syrup and everyone drank the whole pitcher on the rocks. I will definitely continue to use this recipe. For the one guest that wanted a frozen one, I measured out 5-7 cubes and poured the cocktail into the glass then transferred that into my blender. Added a couple more cubes and volá a frozen margarita! Best simple recipe ever!

  42. We made these last night without any additional sweeteners! They were fantastic! My husband even wrote down the recipe ratio for the future.

  43. Yep,good grog mix!!

  44. I really love this recipe, very simple and the style of making the lemon twist. Sounds perfecious to me. Thank you

  45. So good, but now I am a member of the Former Margarita club.

  46. I’m sure the recipe is great – but I had to laugh. 3 ingredients and 42 paragraphs.

  47. Not sure of the 5 stars. All this tasted like was alcohol. Was not a good margarita. Super strong. I added double the limes and a ton of simple syrup just to make it palpable.

  48. It look so fresh!!
    I can’t wait to try make this drink at home.

    Thank you so much for sharing this fresh recipe :)

  49. This recipe is perfect! We love making ours with sugared rims to balance out the tartness.