Golden Margarita

Golden margaritas with lime slices in salt-rimmed tumblers

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
246 Calories
0g Fat
26g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 246
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 32mg 162%
Calcium 28mg 2%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 120mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Get out your gold tequila for this popular variation of the classic margarita which specifically calls for gold tequila. The recipe is fun to mix up and very easy, so it's perfect for any summer party.

The golden margarita was a very popular recipe before the most recent tequila revival which opened up tequila drinkers' eyes to the possibilities of truly great tequila. A few decades ago, gold tequilas were the norm and Jose Cuervo Especial Gold was the tequila of choice. Today, there are many more options and although gold tequilas are still not the best, there are some decent choices.

That said, don't hesitate to use another type of tequila in this recipe. Blanco tequilas are now the first choice for almost every margarita. Beyond the tequila, this recipe is a lot like the original Margarita, though it does have a bit more of a citrus bite because both lime juice and sour mix are used. While optional, the splash of orange juice helps balance the drink out. It also gives the drink a nice, golden color.

There is yet another version called the golden grand margarita. It is the same as this recipe but specifically ​uses Grand Marnier as the orange liqueur. Otherwise, triple sec, curacao, Cointreau, or any other orange liqueur will do just fine.


Click Play to See This Tasty Golden Margarita Come Together

"The first margarita I made as a bartender featured gold tequila, but as prices rose, bars switched to blanco to meet their pour costs. This golden margarita recipe is smooth because the aged gold tequila bridges citrus flavors with a layer of sweet earthiness. Tequilas can get pretty pricy, but this recipe is worth it." —Sean Johnson

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for golden margarita recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. If you like, rim a chilled margarita glass with salt: Wet the rim with a lime wedge then roll it in a shallow dish of coarse salt.

    Rim of a tumbler being coated with salt

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, and sour mix. Add a splash of orange juice if you prefer.

    Margarita ingredients in small glasses next to cocktail shaker

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Shake well.

    Cocktail shaker being shaken

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Strain into the prepared glass.

    Margarita strained into tumbler with salted rim

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Garnish with a lime wedge. Serve and enjoy.

    Golden margarita garnished with a lime slice in a tumbler with salted rim

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Are All Gold-Colored Tequilas Considered "Gold" Tequila?

It is important to note that gold tequila does not refer to the tequila's color alone. If that were the case, any reposado or anejo tequila would qualify. Gold, or joven, tequilas are a specific type of tequila and they often include flavor and color additives. If you do want to use a reposado tequila, your golden margarita will be the best possible!

What Are the Best Joven Tequilas?

If you're searching for gold tequilas, you will find a noticeable difference in prices. It is notoriously the cheapest style of tequila with the likes of Cuervo and Sauza selling for less than $15 a bottle. However, there are a handful of good gold tequilas available; look for the word joven on the label to find the best. Casa Dragones and Casa Noble make nice joven tequilas.

Why Is a Fresh Margarita Better Than a Bottled Margarita?

Don't confuse this golden margarita recipe with Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita. The latter is a ready-to-drink margarita mix that blends Cuervo Gold with Grand Marnier. Because it also includes artificial sweeteners and coloring agents, this made-from-scratch golden margarita is a better option. Plus, you can customize it to fit your taste and that is simply impossible with any bottled cocktail.

How Strong Is the Golden Margarita?

This margarita is not the weakest drink you can mix up. When made with an 80-proof tequila and 70-proof liqueur, it can have an alcohol content of around 20 percent ABV (40 proof).