This classic margarita is the best margarita recipe you’ll ever make! Made with 3 simple ingredients, it’s the perfect balance of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice that makes a crisp and refreshing drink every single time.
Tequila has always been my liquor of choice. The flavor truly is delicious to me. Maybe it’s in my blood? It’s possible. I am Mexican after all.
All I know is that when you love tequila as much as I do, knowing how to make a good margarita is a must! Here’s what you need to know.
What is a margarita made of?
Tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Those three simple ingredients are all you need to make the best margarita.
How to make a margarita
Margaritas are incredibly easy to make, especially when you remember the 2-1-1 ratio. That’s 2 parts tequila, 1 part orange liqueur, and 1 part lime juice. Here’s how to put it all together:
- Run a lime wedge around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the glass in kosher salt and fill with ice.
- Add a few ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and add the tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Cover and shake to combine.
- Strain the margarita into the prepared glass and garnish with a lime slice.
What kind of tequila is best for margaritas?
Reposado tequila is typically the go-to for margaritas, but you can use blanco, reposado, or añejo varieties. It’s all personal preference!
In these photos, I used a really good añejo tequila that I had in the cupboard because I was craving something with a bit more complexity and sweetness. When I want a margarita that’s simply refreshing and crisp, I choose a reposado or blanco tequila.
The most important thing when choosing tequila for classic margaritas is quality. Since margaritas are only made with three ingredients, choosing a high-quality tequila is important since there is nowhere for flavors to hide!
Which orange liqueur is best for margaritas?
Triple sec and Cointreau are the two types of orange liqueur that are often used in margaritas. They’re both acceptable to use, but I prefer one over the other depending on the type of margarita.
When making this classic margarita, I prefer using Cointreau because of its smoother finish and more balanced flavors.
When making blended fruity margaritas, I prefer using triple sec since its straightforward orange flavor is often diluted in the drink.
Sometimes Grand Marnier is used instead of triple sec or Cointreau, but it is not a traditional ingredient in a margarita.
Don’t forget the lime juice!
I highly recommend using fresh lime juice when making margaritas. It simply has a fresher and more balanced tart flavor than bottled lime juice.
If you do decide to use bottled store bought lime juice as a shortcut (we’ve all been there!), try to use the kind that is not from concentrate. Santa Cruz Organic pure lime juice is a great option!
recipe tips and variations
- Don’t have a cocktail shaker? You can stir all of the ingredients in a separate glass, shake them in a mason jar, or simply pour all of the ingredients into the prepared iced glass. Shh! I won’t tell.
- If you want something more than a traditional salted rim, you can add some Tajin seasoning for a Mexican spicy kick!
- If you prefer a sweeter margarita, you can add a bit of agave syrup or simple syrup to your liking.
- To make a spicy margarita, add a thin slice or two of a jalapeno or serrano pepper into the cocktail shaker along with the tequila and press down on them lightly with a muddler to release the juices and oils into the alcohol. Then add in the remaining ingredients and make as normal.
This recipe was originally published in September 2016 and was updated in August 2022 with more extensive recipe testing and helpful information.
If you’re wanting the older version of the recipe, it is as follows:
- 1.5 oz tequila, 1.5 oz triple sec, and 1-1.5 oz lime juice