Margarita Cocktail

Margarita

The Spruce Eats / Claire Cohen

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)

The original margarita is one of the easiest cocktails you can make from scratch. You'll love the refreshing lime flavor backed by your favorite tequila, and this classic recipe inspired every other margarita in the world.

There is no mystery to this iconic drink, and the secret to a great margarita is its simplicity. The only ingredients you need are tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Once you find an ideal balance of flavor, you'll realize just how delicious a fresh margarita is and why it's hard to justify buying a bottled margarita mix.

A margarita glass is not required, and there are three main ways to serve a margarita: straight up, on the rocks, or frozen. You can also rim the glass with salt or sugar or leave it bare. The variations don't stop there. Whether you want to mix up a mason jar margarita or add flavor, there's a margarita recipe for every taste and occasion.

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Click Play to See This Classic Margarita Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec (Cointreau)
  • 1 ounce lime juice (fresh)
  • Garnish: lime wedge
  • Optional: salt or sugar for rimming

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. If desired, rim a chilled cocktail or margarita glass: Wet the rim with a lime wedge, then dip or roll it in a small dish of salt or sugar.

    Ingredients for margarita cockail recipe
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes.

    Ice in shaker
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  3. Shake
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic 
  4. Strain into the prepared glass with or without fresh ice.

    Margarita poured into glass
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge.

    Margarita cocktail
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

Tips

  • Choosing quality liquors is essential to a superior margarita. Tequila is the main ingredient and a cheap, low-quality tequila will only bring the drink down. Pick up a medium- to high-end blanco or reposado tequila and a premium triple sec, such as Cointreau, for this cocktail.
  • Likewise, you'll get a better margarita with fresh-squeezed lime juice. The average lime yields about 1 ounce of juice, which is perfect for this recipe.

Recipe Variations

  • This recipe uses a bit more lime juice than triple sec, though some people prefer to keep the two even.
  • To make it a little sweeter, add a dash of simple syrup or agave nectar.
  • For a simple twist, try a blue margarita. The recipe simply substitutes blue curaçao for the triple sec to create a stunning drink with the same flavor.
  • When you're ready to add flavor, there are many fruity margarita recipes to choose from. Apple, strawberry, and watermelon are favorites, though almost any fruit works and most can be either shaken or blended.
  • You can also enjoy the more uniquely flavored margaritas. Coconut, chocolate, and tamarind are just a few variations that are as fun to make as they are to drink.

A Mason Jar Margarita

It's become popular to serve a margarita in a mason jar with a ton of ice. The original margarita recipe was designed to be served as a short drink, with a volume of just 3 1/2 ounces. As with most classic cocktail recipes, it will barely fill many of today's larger margarita and cocktail glasses, much less a mason jar.

If you want to make a mason jar margarita, you need a recipe designed for the larger volume. This modern version makes a drink that's just over 6 ounces. With plenty of ice cubes and fresh fruit, it will fill the average mason jar mug perfectly.

To make this margarita, shake 2 ounces tequila, 1 ounce triple sec, and 3 ounces fresh sour mix with ice. Strain it into an ice-filled mason jar (rimmed, if you like) and add a few lime wedges.

This can also be mixed directly in your mason jar. At first, cut back on the ice, shake or stir the drink, then fill it with fresh ice cubes.

If you're a fan of mixing drinks in mason jars, Shane Carley's "The Mason Jar Cocktail Companion" is an excellent book. All of the recipes are measured in parts and many of the booze-heavy recipes have been adapted to the higher volume. Carley's mason jar margarita, for instance, mixes 3 parts tequila, 2 parts orange liqueur, and 1 part lime juice.

How Strong Is a Margarita?

Using the original recipe and an 80-proof tequila along with Cointreau, the margarita is definitely not a low-proof cocktail. It shakes up to around 23 percent ABV (54 proof), or half the strength of a tequila shot. If you serve it on the rocks, it will dilute and relax a bit over time.