Classic Margaritas

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing quite like a refreshing margarita on a hot day or to accompany a meal of tacos, enchiladas, or fajitas. While there are restaurants that do the classic drink justice, many make theirs with sour mix or pre-prepared margarita mix, which makes them way too sweet.

I personally do not enjoy frozen margaritas nearly as much, so this recipe is for margaritas on the rocks, which is how I prefer to enjoy them. However, I am sure that you could use the same proportions to make these into frozen margaritas.

First of all, let’s talk tequila. Ultimately, it’s the star of the margarita, so you should use a good quality tequila. I am not saying that you should go out and spend a ton of money on an expensive tequila like Patrón, but something in the $18-25 range should be good. For these margaritas, I picked up a fifth of El Jimador Silver Tequila, which was around $19, if I remember correctly. I had never used this brand before, but it was really good. You could also use a different style of tequila (gold, reposado, etc.), but I personally prefer silver tequila (also referred to as white, or blanco) when I’m making margaritas.

Next, let’s talk triple sec. Triple sec is a orange flavored liqueur that also plays a big role in the margarita. If you’re going to use a good tasting tequila, you don’t want to use a low quality triple sec. Even though it is expensive, my triple sec of choice for margaritas is Cointreau. Where I live in Florida, it usually costs about $35 for a fifth of Cointreau, but when I went to ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, it was actually on sale and there was an additional manufacturer’s coupon on the bottle, so I ended up paying about $28.

Lastly, let’s talk lime juice. Because there is already some sweetness to the Cointreau, I do not use a pre-prepared margarita mix or sour mix, but rather I use freshly squeezed lime juice. To make things easier when I’m going to be playing bartender and making margaritas for a crowd, I use a handheld citrus juicer to squeeze the limes the day of and put them in a squeeze bottle (one of those plastic bottles meant for ketchup or mustard).


  • 2 ounces of tequila (silver/white is my preference)
  • 1.5 ounces of triple sec (Cointreau is my preference)
  • 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice


  1. If you are going to be making margaritas for a crowd, start by squeezing a bunch of limes and putting the juice in a plastic squeeze bottle or something that you will be able to easily pour it from.
  2. Prepare your glasses. rub a cut lime around the edge of each glass and dip the edge of each glass in kosher salt. I actually found some key lime cocktail salt at ABC, which was so good with margaritas. Fill the glasses 3/4 of the way with ice.
  3. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Into the shaker add 2 ounces of tequila, 1.5 ounces of triple sec, and 1 ounce of lime juice. This should make one margarita, depending on the size of the cup, so if you’re making several you could multiply the proportions to make a bigger batch. Shake several times until the shaker becomes really cold.
  4. Strain and pour the margarita into a prepared glass and enjoy! I personally do not garnish my margaritas with a lime because I think that this recipe has the right amount of lime, but it would be a good idea to have some leftover limes in case someone asks for a lime wedge.

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