February 22, 2019

How to Make the Perfect Classic Margarita Cocktail

Garnishing the finished margarita with a lime slice

The Margarita is like lots of classics in that we really are not sure where it came from.

There are a few (quite different) versions of where the famed tequila classic originated, but I’ll let you go search those on the internet yourself to see what you believe.

The bottom line is somebody made a really tasty cocktail and you should treat yourself.

Blue agave syrup to sweeten your margarita

How to make the best Margarita:

  1. Keep the ingredients quality
  2. Use fresh limes
  3. Drink them with good people

A surefire way to make bad Margaritas is using a mix and cheap tequila. Drinking them by yourself also makes it slightly less enjoyable... but still pretty good. It's an easy drink to make so you might as well just juice the limes yourself.

The results will be worth it.

How much tequila is in a Margarita?

Most standard recipes are made with 2 Oz of blanco tequila, then orange liqueur and lime juice in varying proportions based on taste.

However, in thumbing through the Death & Co. cocktail book I found this version which differs from the original recipe by adding a touch of agave (affiliate) to the mix. As a result of the added sweetness you need to use more lime and less orange liqueur which tastes great. Give it a go!

Pouring a jigger of espolon blanco tequila

What tequila should you use for a Margarita?

To make the classic version of the Margarita you will want to use blanco tequila, which means it has been aged or rested for no longer than 2 months (Espolon is nice). 

It is raw, bold, a bit in your face, and absolutely delicious. 

I highly encourage you to not buy bottles of tequila at prices that seem way too good to be true. Most of the time really cheap tequilas are cut with another alcohol, have quite a harsh burn, and leave that frat party aftertaste which you really want to leave out of your cocktails.


Stay clear of tequila that does not say 100% agave! Bottles that don't say that are typically "watered down" with neutral grain alcohol which gives it the frat party taste mentioned above.

If you would like, you can also use a reposado or anejo tequila which have been barrel aged to mellow out their flavor. These options will have a bit of caramel and vanilla notes to them that usually make the finished drink come off as a bit more sweet and mellow.

putting lime on the rim of the margarita glass
dipping the rim of the glass in pink salt

The other ingredients you'll need

After you have your tequila picked out you just need to choose an orange liqueur. There are three main options you see in recipes.

Tripple Sec, Curacao, or Cointreau.

Without getting too into the differences, I'll just tell you that I like it best with Cointreau (which is a brand of tripple sec). It has nice "deep" orange flavor, enough sweetness to balance the limes, and it still lets the tequila be the star of the show. However, any version of orange liqueur will be just fine in a Margarita, it will just give slightly different results.

Something to try

You can also serve it with a slice of lime on the glass so the person drinking it can add some extra tartness it they would like. Sort of like a sidecar...

Then you must ask. To Salt?  Or not to salt?

Totally up to you. If you choose to salt, just run a slice of lime around the outside of the rim and then dip it in some course salt. You could also sprinkle a little right in your cocktail if you'd like.

A classic margarita cocktail with blanco tequila

Serving Margaritas for a party

The Margarita is a great drink to batch for a party if you need to. 

Multiply the recipe by how many drinks you need to serve and mix the tequila, Cointreau and agave the night before and let it sit in the fridge. The day of the party juice the limes and add to the mix just before serving. You can either shake each drink individually (which will make it taste a little better), or add a bit or water and keep the pitcher in the fridge and pour it right into glasses with ice.

Lime juice deteriorates and starts to taste a little different after a day in the fridge so try to juice limes as close to drinking time as possible.

Drinks shaken right before serving them will be better, but if you don't have time for that batching them could be a nice way to still have some homemade drinks at your party.

Classic Margarita Recipe

Tart lime balanced with orange liqueur, agave, and tequila... what else do you want? It's easy to make, and is a real crowd pleaser cocktail.


  • 2 Oz Blanco Tequila
  • 1 Oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3/4 Oz Cointreau
  • 1/4 Oz Agave
  • 5 Drops 20% Saline


  • (optional) Rim your glass with salt by running a slice of lime around the rim to moisten it before dipping the glass in salt.
  • Add all the ingredients into your shaker.
  • Add ice and shake for about 12 seconds.
  • Strain into you chilled and prepared cocktail glass. Serve on the rocks if that's how you roll.


Blanco tequila is the standard when it comes to Margaritas, but feel free to use reposado or anejo for a more complex and barrel aged vibe.
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 drink
Tag me at @mydrinkinghobby when you make this!

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You can make yourself a couple Margs for just about any occasion.

So many people like them that this would be a great cocktail to show your guests how to make in the beginning of a party and have them serve themselves (just keep an eye on Lisa, she's a Diva when she's too drunk).

More Delicious Things!

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