This classic margarita recipe is perfect. There, I said it.
It’s the ideal blend of sweet, salty, and sour. And between the fresh citrus, tequila, and salt-rimmed glass, it’s the best way to start the weekend.
Dare I say this classic margarita is better than the margs at Mexican restaurants? I’ll let you be the judge of that!
There are so many margarita recipes out there; it can get overwhelming for new mixologists.
Frozen, spicy, fruity, smoky – how do you choose?
Well, how about starting with the OG? The margarita that started it all and made a whole generation of millennial women dance the night away.
The classic margarita is one of the most popular cocktails in the world because it strikes a perfect balance of sweet, tart, and salty.
The fresh lime cuts through the potency of tequila, and Triple Sec delivers the perfect amount of sweetness.
Lastly, the salt enhances those flavors to perfection.
While its origins are unclear – I’ve heard at least a dozen stories! – many people believe it rose to popularity in the States during prohibition.
US residents traveled south of the border to get a little boozy. And while they were there, they discovered the margarita.
And the rest is history.
A perfect classic margarita requires a few simple ingredients. And since you only need a few things, make sure to get mid-top shelf bottles!
Trust me, you’ll taste the difference.
- Tequila: Blanco tequila (or Silver tequila) is popular because it’s crisp and clean. I prefer Reposado because it’s more complex. Choose what you think tastes best and go for brands like Patron, Don Julio, and Espolon.
- Orange Liqueur: Orange liquor is the key behind this drink’s sweetness and citrus flavor. Cointreau or Grand Marnier are best, but Triple Sec works, too.
- Lime Juice: Fresh is always best!
- Ice: Like most cocktails, this is best served ice cold. So don’t be shy – fill the glass!
- Coarse Salt: You could say this is optional. But ask any margarita fanatic, and they’ll tell you otherwise (It’s me. Hi. I’m the fanatic). The saltiness makes all the bold, sweet, and citrus flavors sing.
- Lime Wedge: For a pop of color and an extra citrus kick.
- Agave Nectar: Orange liquor is delicately sweet but not very potent. And some limes are more sour than others. So, if you want your drink sweet, add agave nectar or simple syrup.
How to Make a Margarita
Here’s a quick rundown on how to make the perfect margarita at home. Jump to the bottom of the post for more details.
1. Chill the glass. Place the glass in the freezer for 15 minutes. Or fill it with ice and water (which you’ll toss out before serving).
2. Prepare the glass. Run a lime wedge around the rim and dip it in the coarse salt.
3. Get shaking. Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add tequila, orange liquor, and lime juice. Shake for 20 seconds, or until the cocktail shaker is cool to the touch.
4. Add sweetener (optional). If using, add it to the mix and shake again for 10 seconds.
5. Pour and serve. Strain the drink into the chilled glass. Add a lime wedge, serve, and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Margarita
Check out these quick and easy tips to make your margarita Mexican restaurant worthy:
- No cocktail shaker? No problem! Stir the ingredients in a pitcher or a jar with ice, and no one will know the difference.
- Serve a crowd. Multiply the recipe and mix everything in a pitcher without the ice. Keep it in the fridge until ready. Serve with ice-filled, salt-rimmed glasses.
- Make it spicy. Muddle a few jalapeño slices in the shaker before making the drink. Also, add Tajin to the rim.
- Try a smoky drink. Use mezcal instead of tequila for a super deep flavor.
- Try a mocktail. Leave out the tequila and mix lime juice, orange juice, and club soda over ice.
How Much Alcohol Is in a Classic Margarita?
Classic margarita recipes use a 2:1:1 ratio. That’s two parts tequila, one part lime juice, and one part orange liquor.
This makes for one potent margarita (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
One serving has three ounces, which is the equivalent of two shots of tequila!
If you prefer a less-potent margarita, opt for a 1:1:1 ratio.
How Do You Make a Frozen Margarita?
Want to make a Mexican restaurant-like frozen margarita at home? You don’t need a fancy margarita machine to recreate this classic.
Instead of piling everything into a cocktail shaker, add it to your blender. Pulse for 10 seconds at a time until the margarita reaches the right consistency.
More Classic Cocktails You’ll Love
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