Want to learn to make margaritas in all flavors and colors? You don’t need to be a bartender to make the magic happen. These margarita recipes have you covered.
When it comes to cocktails, the margarita is king. This summer concoction has the perfect balance of sweet and citrusy.
The kick of tequila is absolutely on point.
In this article, I’ll teach you how to make margaritas and fill you in with all my margarita-making secrets.
I’ll also spill my favorite margarita variations, from mango to blackberry to watermelon. All 26 are a must-try, so you’re all set for the year.
So sit back, relax, and check out this collection of magnificent margaritas. Every hour is happy hour with these boozy drinks!
What Ingredients Are In a Margarita?
The classic margarita calls for 6 ingredients:
- Tequila – It’s the main ingredient of a margarita that gives that unique punch of flavor (and buzz). That said, using a good-quality tequila couldn’t be more important. I have an extensive list of my top tequilas below for guidance.
- Orange Liqueur – This bright and zesty liqueur adds a citrusy flavor to your margarita. Orange liqueurs vary in the type of alcohol, orange, and level of sweetness. It’s up to you to decide which brand to use, but here’s a guide, for reference:
- Curaçao – The original orange liqueur, it’s made with dried orange peels soaked in sugarcane or beet-based alcohol. It has a sweet, citrusy flavor and a thick syrupy consistency.
- Triple Sec – It’s widely considered as the standard orange liqueur. There are many types of triple sec that vary in sweetness.
While generally sweet, the cheaper ones are sweeter, while the more high-end ones, such as Cointreau, have a more sweet and bitter flavor, and a distinct orange taste.
- Grand Marnier – It’s a blend of cognac and orange liqueur, giving it a rich, mostly sweet and slightly bitter flavor. It also has notes of orange zest, vanilla, and oak.
- Lime Juice – Go for freshly squeezed lime juice for best results. Bottled lime juice will give your margarita an unpleasant artificial flavor.
- Sweetener – Margaritas have such sharp-tasting ingredients, so you’ll need something sweet to make the flavors more appealing. I like to use agave nectar or simple syrup.
- Salt – A margarita isn’t margarita if it’s not served in a margarita glass rimmed with salt. You can also add a pinch to the margarita itself to heighten its sweetness. Fine sea salt or kosher will work.
- Ice – Margaritas are better on the rocks! You can also blend the ice cubes with the margarita for a slushy-like treat.
How to Make the Best Margarita (Top Tips)
You don’t have to have a cocktail shaker to make margaritas at home. Just stick to my top tips and you’re all set!
- Ratio is important. While taste is subjective, the golden ratio for the perfect margarita is 3 parts tequila, 2 parts orange liqueur, and 1 part lime juice.
For a single serving, this translates to 1 1/2 ounces of tequila, 1 ounce of orange liqueur, and 1/2 ounce of lime juice.
For the sweetener, just a splash will do. But of course, feel free to add more or less to suit your taste.
For a pitcher of margaritas, you’ll need 2 cups of tequila, 1 cup of orange liqueur, and 1/2 cup of lime juice.
A jigger, which is equivalent to 1 1/2 ounces or one shot, is a good tool to have for measuring. But if you don’t have one, you can always count on a measuring glass.
- Chill the glasses. You’ll want to keep your margaritas cool longer, so pop the glasses in the freezer for 30 minutes before use. This technique will also make the salt stick to the rims easier.
- Chill the tequila. Pop it in the freezer so you won’t need to rely on too much ice to keep your margaritas cool.
- Ice matters. More specifically, its size. Don’t go for jumbo ice cubes – those are more appropriate for whiskeys or bitter spirits that you sip slowly. The best size for margs is a one-inch cube.
- The riper the limes, the better. The skin should be shiny. It should be soft when pressed, but still firm.
- Get the most out of your limes. For reference, one lime should yield around 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice.
To get maximum juice out of the lime, roll it against the counter to loosen up the juices. You can also microwave it for a few seconds to soften the pulp. Slice it in half, lengthwise, for better grip.
Also, squeeze them 4 to 10 hours before use. This will bring out their zesty flavor more while reducing the sharp acidity.
- Try other citrus fruits. Grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine, key lime, the list goes on and on.
Just be mindful that since these fruits vary in sweetness and acidity, you may need to adjust the amount of sweetener and orange liqueur to balance out the flavors.
- Make homemade simple syrup. It’s easier than you think. Just bring equal parts sugar and water to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool completely before use.
- Don’t stir it, shake it. When using citrus juices, it’s better to shake the mixture instead of stirring it. This will help the flavors marry much better.
Also, shaking produces small bubbles that make the margarita nice and frothy.
- Salt moderately. Don’t simply dunk the glasses in lime juice and coat with salt. There’ll be far too much salt sticking to the rim, both outside and in. Chances are, salt particles will go into your margarita, altering the flavor of the ingredients that you so carefully measured.
The way to do it is to run a lime wedge along the outside of the glass and gently roll it on salt. You can also salt just half of the glass if you’re not a fan of salt.
Best Tequila for Margaritas
Tequila is a spirit made from blue agave. This plant is native to Jalisco, Mexico, and is used primarily for making tequila.
It goes through a very long process before it transforms into tequila, though. Once harvested, the agave is baked, fermented, distilled, and aged.
Now, when it comes to making margaritas, honestly, any type of tequila works.
You might think that high-end brands will yield better-tasting margaritas, but it doesn’t necessarily follow.
It really depends on your budget and flavor preference. Here’s a guide to help you decide:
- Blanco Tequila – For me, this is the best tequila for margaritas. It’s unaged, which means it has clear, bright, and bold flavors. It also has hints of spice and sweetness that pairs wonderfully with orange liqueur and lime juice.
Good blanco tequila brands include Patrón Silver, Casamigo Blanco, Hornitos Plata, and Espolon Blanco. These range from $25 to $50.
- Reposado – Aged in oak barrels for 2 months up to a year, reposado (“rested,” in Spanish) and a nice golden hue.
Aging gives it hints of oak, vanilla, and an almost caramel-like flavor, which tastes great with orange liqueur and lime juice. It’s also lighter and smoother than blanco tequila.
- Gold – Also called joven tequila, this type of tequila isn’t purely made from agave. Instead, it’s a blend of blanco and reposado, which is why it has that golden hue.
Gold tequila is the least expensive out of the bunch. While you can use it to make margaritas, expect it to have a rather harsh flavor.
- Mezcal – This one isn’t a tequila, but you definitely should consider it a margarita option. It’s also made with agave, but it goes through a different process that allows it to have a rich and smoky flavor.
Now that we’ve covered all the basics, it’s time to experiment with flavors.
Without further ado, here are 26 must-try margarita recipes I’ve curated just for you. Let the fun begin!
Let’s kick things off with this highly refreshing strawberry margarita. If you love the one they serve at Texas Roadhouse, this copycat is a must-try.
As long as you stick to fresh ingredients, you won’t have to worry about the artificial flavor that most strawberry margaritas have.
I’m such a sucker for sweet ripe mangoes, so this margarita is a personal favorite. It’s almost like drinking a mango slushy, but with a boozy twist.
Sweet and refreshing with a citrusy twist, this mango margarita pairs well with chips, salsa, and your favorite Tex-Mex treats!
How about a spicy kick? This jalapeno margarita will definitely liven up your Cinco de Mayo celebration.
It’s spicy, but not too much that it becomes unpleasant. It’s smooth and has just the right amount of heat.
The recipe is terrific as is, but feel free to throw in some fresh fruit to the mix.
Tequila, lime juice, and watermelon: these are all you’ll need to make this sweet and refreshing concoction.
Unlike a classic margarita, this one skips out on the orange liqueur. But don’t worry, it still tastes phenomenal.
It also doesn’t need any sweetener because watermelon is already sweet and flavorful on its own.
Start your weekend right with this boozy blackberry drink. After a week of hard work, you definitely deserve it!
If you’re worried this recipe will only result in that overly sweet, pre-mixed blackberry margarita you’ve had at a random bar, don’t.
This blackberry margarita is made from fresh ingredients, so expect nothing but delicious, authentic goodness.
As I’ve earlier mentioned, other citrus fruits can be used to substitute limes in making margaritas.
Grapefruit juice is sweeter, which does wonders in toning down the bitter flavors of tequila.
This margarita is fantastic as it is, but you can take it to the next level by muddling a slice of jalapeno in your drink.
You can also rim your glass with a mix of salt and chili powder for extra oomph.
Want a unique spin on the classic? Give the Mexican favorite an Italian twist!
The Italian margarita is made with tequila, fresh lime, and some type of Italian liqueur such as limoncello or amaretto.
It’s still smooth, sweet, and citrusy, but with a fun Italian flair.
Roasted tomatoes in a margarita? It sounds strange, but it works.
A blend of tomato juice, lime juice, and tequila, think of it as a cross between a margarita and a Bloody Mary!
If unique is what you’re looking for, this one perfectly fits the bill.
This one’s a lot similar to the classic, but with a fizzy spin.
The addition of club soda gives this margarita a bubbly and foamy feel. It’ll definitely add more fun to your party.
Give your margarita a sweet tropical flavor! All you’ll need is pineapple.
I just love how bright this sunny drink is! Both its color and flavor are perfect for the summer
The combination of sweet pineapple, zingy lime, citrusy orange, and sharp tequila creates such bright, powerful flavors.
Okay, calling this a margarita is a bit of a stretch. But it’s definitely worth a try. I promise.
A blend of coffee, tequila, honey, and lemon peel, think of it as the love child of a Black Russian and a margarita.
You’ll enjoy how it’ll calm you down and pump you up at the same time. It’ll make you feel chill, yet give you all the energy you need to mingle with friends.
If you’re into floral notes in your cocktail, this hibiscus margarita is a must-try. It’s sweet, tart, and has such a beautiful, deep hue.
This is cocktail gaming, elevated.
The sweetness and juiciness of peaches make them such a great candidate for margaritas. Their flavors taste amazing with orange liqueur and lime!
This fruity mix is so refreshing and perfect for your summer party.
You can even skip the alcohol and make a kid-friendly version. It’ll surely be a hit.
What better way is there to bring extra fun to Thanksgiving than with these boozy cranberry drinks?
This simple, 4-ingredient margarita combines tequila, triple sec, cranberry juice, and lime juice. It’s holiday-worthy, both in appearance and flavor.
Made with a blend of tequila, orange juice, pumpkin puree, and a medley of fall spices, this margarita is the quintessential autumn cocktail.
It’s sweet, mildly spiced, and spiked with booze. It’s the perfect way to warm you up on a cold day!
Unlike purely tart and zesty limes, blood oranges are wonderfully sweet. As a sweet tooth, I love how they make margaritas sweeter and more delightful.
Also, look how pretty! Its deep pink hue makes me want to drink more.
I’d like to think of this cocktail as butterbeer turned into a margarita.
Made with ginger beer, lime juice, tequila, and simple syrup, it really has the same warming flavor of my favorite Harry Potter drink, but spiked with alcohol.
Even if you’re not a Potterheard, though, you’ll still enjoy this delicious beverage. It has just the right amount of sweetness with added warmth and crispness from the ginger.
Rarely will you find recipes that combine pomelo and ginger, but believe me, it works. This tandem deserves more attention than it’s given.
This pomelo ginger margarita is a perfect blend of sweet, citrusy, and warming. Apart from the flavor, the unique ingredients also make it super nutritious!
This honeydew margarita is wonderfully sweet and insanely refreshing. The scent of sweet honeydew is so heavenly, to boot.
You’ll love the combination of sweet honeydew, lime juice, and tequila. The glass is rimmed with a mix of salt and chili, giving the cocktail a spicy kick.
20. Papaya Margarita
The thing I love about margaritas is that you can use almost any kind of fruit and it’ll taste amazing.
This papaya margarita is absolutely incredible. The sweetness of the papaya balances out the acidity of the lime juice and the bitterness of the tequila!
It doesn’t sound too enticing, but prickly pears are actually tasty.
Also called cactus pears, these pink fruits taste like a mash-up between watermelon and bubblegum. How awesome is that?
I always say that fresh fruit is better, but only when available.
Prickly pears are hard to come by, so the next best thing is prickly pear syrup. Don’t worry, it’s still delicious.
This tamarind margarita has such a pleasant combination of sweet and tart. If you’ve never tried tamarind juice, take this as a sign.
This margarita is a mix of tamarind paste, lemon and lime juices, and tequila.
That said, it definitely has strong tart flavors, but they’re balanced out beautifully with sweet agave.
Anything with blueberries on them is always a treat. This blueberry margarita is sweet and refreshing, to say the least.
Also, how pretty is its purplish hue? I can stare at it for hours!
If you’re looking for a refreshing drink, this cucumber margarita is calling out your name.
Cucumber juice is unique for its cooling and ridiculously refreshing flavor.
Mixed with classic margarita ingredients, it creates the perfect summer drink.
We can’t have a list of margarita recipes without featuring the classic, now can we?
If you’re looking for the original margarita mix, look no further than this recipe.
It’s sweet and tart, bright and citrusy, and oh, so tasty. I know we should drink responsibly, but one glass isn’t enough.
Here’s a bonus recipe for all you dessert lovers out there!
As refreshing as margaritas are, nothing beats the heat better than cold popsicles. So why not make both?
These margarita popsicles combine the goodness of sweet mango juice and strawberry margarita.
You can drink it as is, or better yet, pour it into a popsicle mold, freeze, and enjoy.
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