The Keys To Making The Best Margarita On The Rocks:
Why We Love This Recipe
A solidly constructed margarita on the rocks, well-balanced and made with top-shelf ingredients, is an institution. It’s a thing every cocktail lover should know how to make.
Just like we’ve done with the daiquiri, Americans have ruined the margarita in SO many ways over the years that it’s not even worth enumerating. But to adopt a rocks-glass-half-full mentality, that makes it all the more satisfying to get back to the basics.
How To Make A Classic Margarita:
- Start off by salting the rim by gliding a lime wedge around the top of the glass. Dip the top of the glass in coarse Kosher salt. Fill the glass with ice cubes.
- In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, a sweetener if adding, and some ice cubes. Top the shaker with the lid and shake until chilled for around 10 seconds.
- Strain and pour the mixture over the rocks and garnish with a lime wedge.
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What About Margarita Mix
, the first being alcohol-free which typically has some mix of sugar, lime, lemon, and orange flavors to which you add the tequila yourself.
The second is a fully integrated mix with all juices and alcohol in it, so you just pour it over ice and enjoy. This is a great option if the process of making the individual cocktail is too involved for what youre looking to do. After all, there is a bit of work involved to juice the limes, measure and shake each drink, and rim the glass.
Pros: Margarita mix is easy to bust out for gatherings where you cant be shaking drinks all night lest you miss out on quality time with your guests. It is consistent, straightforward, a bit lower ABV, and tastes pretty good!
Cons: Many mixes come with a lot of additives and sugar. A typical margarita mix from the grocery will be an unspecified tequila and orange liqueur , artificial lime and citrus juices, citric acid, and high fructose corn syrup, with the potential side of glycerol abietate, gum arabic, sodium citrate, yellow #5 and Blue #1.
TIP: Store-bought mixes are often high in sugar, and in the case where you must use one, I recommend buying limes and oranges to go alongside it. The acid from a squeeze of fresh lime juice can bring balance to an overly sweet mix should it be too sugary for your taste.
Ingredients You Will Need
- Tequila is the main alcohol in this drink. I recommend silver tequila, but you can use whatever you like.
- You will need an orange liqueur such as Triple Sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier is more amber in color and I think it looks the prettiest.
- Limes are an important element in a properly mixed margarita. I suggest squeezing the juice yourself. Youre going to need lime wheels for garnish anyway, so no sense wasting the rest! If you do happen to use bottled juice, make sure it doesnt have any added sugar.
- Coarse sea salt is used to decorate the rim of the glass, a must with this particular cocktail.
- I dont use simple syrup for my own drink, but if you like it a little sweeter you certainly can! I have included that in the recipe below.
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How To Get The Most Juice Out Of Limes
What Is A Skinny Margarita
What exactly defines a margarita as being skinny versus non-skinny? The sugar content.
The more sugar, which is found in simple syrup, agave, and margarita mixes, the less skinny your margarita will be. Of course, this also means it will taste sweeter.
I sweetened this particular margarita recipe with a little agave, but feel free to sweeten it with simple syrup if you prefer
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A Bit Of Margarita Cocktail History
No one really knows who invented the margarita. There are several stories of origin around women named Margarita claiming to be the beverage inventor, but they are iffy. One of the oldest mentions of a similar cocktail called the Picador, meaning a type of bullfighter , can be found from the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book by William Tarling.
Compared to the watered down and ultra sweetened margaritas that are served at many bars and restaurants today, the original margarita recipe is quite tart consisting of just tequila, orange liquor and lime juice.
: “The World’s First Frozen Margarita Machine” was invented in 1971. 24-year-old Mexican restaurant owner, Mariano Martinez, needed a quicker and more consistent way to keep up with the margarita demand. The answer struck him after seeing a 7-Eleven Slurpee machine. Readily frozen margaritas are now available throughout America. Thanks, Mariano!
Why This Is The Best Margarita Recipe
- It is perfectly balanced in flavor, not too sweet, not too tangy, not too salty.
- Adding a little agave to the mix actually enhances the tequila and lime flavor and takes some of the bite out of a strong cocktail.
- Using quality ingredients like fresh lime juice, Cointreau and good Tequila makes it the BEST Margarita on the Rocks!
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Why This Recipe Works
Made with just three ingredients, this cocktail is far superior to anything made with a store bought, artificial ingredient laden margarita mix. All you need is some top shelf tequila blanco, freshly squeezed lime juice, and some Cointreau .
If youd like to make yours a little sweeter, feel free to add in a splash of agave nectar or homemade simple syrup. That said, Id highly recommend giving the three-ingredient marg a try before you do its so tart and refreshing!
These classic margaritas on the rocks are also excellent for parties. The recipe can easily be scaled to your needs using a simple, easy-to-remember ratio. Just remember: Its basically 2-1-1 to make a delicious classic margarita. 2 parts tequila, 1 part lime, and 1 part Cointreau! Feel free to batch up a big pitcher and keep a cooler of ice nearby for your guests to serve themselves.
So, this weekend go ahead and pour yourself a REAL margarita. You deserve it!
Is This Recipe Good For Blended Drinks
Not really. The addition of blended ice invites a whole new element to cocktail making with different ratios and dilution. Blended margaritas are popular in the summer as there is more ice involved, so if youre looking for more of a slushy, frozen drink try this Frozen Margarita recipe from Isabel Eats.
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The History Of The Margarita
Like most classic cocktails, the margarita has a slightly murky history. The predominant story is that Carlos “Danny” Herrera, the proprietor of a Tijuana-area restaurant called Rancho la Gloria, invented it around 1938 for an aspiring actress named Marjorie King who was allergic to all hard alcohol except tequila. She was a picky drinker, too, so he added the lime and salt to make it taste better.
I gotta say, the more experience I have as a woman sliding into middle age, the more I believe a story about a lady who’s allergic to everything but tequila and just plain likes what she likes.
How To Make A Salted Rim
If you have a glass, a lime wedge, and a small dish of course salt, you can make a salted rim. Its super easy!
Simply run the cut side of a lime wedge around the rim of your glass. Then dip the wet rim into the course salt, straight down and then straight back up. Do not twist the glass in the salt, or you risk losing some of the granules that are already attached.
For the salt, use course kosher salt or any specialty margarita salts. I have this inexpensive margarita salt, in its own dipping dish with sealable lid, and it works great. And I was given this bamboo bar rimmer as a gift, which is extra lovely when entertaining.
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How To Make An Old Fashioned Cocktail:
To make this maple-sweetened old fashioned cocktail, simply:
How To Make A Perfect Salt Rim
Last, lets talk about the glass rim in this classic margarita recipe! The best type of salt to use is kosher salt or flaky sea salt: they have a nice chunky texture. Or try our Best Margarita Salt the orange and lime zest makes the glass look perfectly look festive! Here are our tips to making the perfect rim:
Another drink with a salt rim? Our Salty Dog.
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How Many Limes Do I Need For A Single Drink
Every piece of fruit holds a different amount of juice. On average 1 lime will yield about 1 tablespoon or 1/2 to 1 ounce of juice. This will vary depending on the size and seasonal crop of limes. Since limes keep in refrigeration for up to 2 weeks, I always buy more than I think Ill need just to be sure.
- Buy 2 limes for every cocktail. This will cover any dry limes as well as garnishes.
Do You Really Need Cointreau
Yes! The very best margarita recipe has Cointreau. Triple Sec is often used in margaritas, but it just doesnt do it here. Cointreau has a orange perfume flavor thats well balanced between bitter and sweet, but Triple Sec can have a more harsh flavor. If youre not sure whether you want to buy a bottle, there are lots of Cointreau drinks like the Sidecar, Lemon Drop Martini, and Cosmopolitan.
Fun fact: triple sec means triple distilled: its actually not a brand name! Cointreau is a brand of triple sec: its triple distilled.
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Do I Have To Put Salt On It Why What Kind
You dont have to have salt with a margarita. If anything, put a pinch in the cocktail before you shake it up to achieve a certain balance, but if you dont care about salt then let that sleeping dog lie.
However, salt does play an important role. Not only does it amplify the sweetness and flavors in a margarita, but it also works to temper bitterness and causes everything to taste brighter and lifted.
- Select a medium-size grain for this cocktail, like Kosher salt.
- Do not use iodized table salt. It is a very fine grain, and when used as a rim salt often creates unsightly clumps and tastes harsh due to the sheer concentration of the small grains.
- Large format grains are pretty, but save your precious Maldon sea salt for another day. If the grains are too big, they will fall off of the glass resulting in hardly any salt at all.
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What Kind Of Glass Should I Use
You can get creative here and use whatever glassware you want! Some folks love those funky stemmed margarita glasses and traditionalists serve it sans rocks up in a coupe. Some choose to drink everything out of mason jars.
I prefer a rocks glass, as shown, which is typically large enough for the ice, good for salt rims, and fits the 5 or so ounces of liquid the shaken cocktail will yield.
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How To Make The Best Margarita
Making an awesome margarita at home is easy! Heres what you need to do:
- First, salt the rim of a margarita glass. Rub it with a wedge of lime and dip the top of the glass in a small plate of salt. Just a heads up, its super easy to forget to do this step before you start mixing up your cocktail . But in order for you to get a good salt rim on your glass, it has to be empty. You need to be able to turn the glass upside down so that you can dip it in the salt, so always remember to do this step first!
- Next, mix up your drink! Add the tequila, Cointreau, and freshly squeezed lime juice to the glass, and stir to combine. Top the glass with ice cubes or crushed ice, and add a splash of agave nectar or simple syrup.
- Finally, taste and adjust. In order to make a cocktail you really love, youre going to have to taste and adjust. If you prefer a sweeter drink, add more agave, simple syrup, or even a splash of orange juice. If you like a stiffer drink, add more tequila and Cointreau. I like mine really tangy, just as the recipe is written. Garnish your glass with a lime slice, and enjoy!
Find the full recipe with measurements below.
Whats In A Margarita 3 Simple Ingredients
Theres nothing I love more than a basket of chips and salsa and a margarita in my hand. At restaurants and bars, I tend to ask the bartender if they can make it tart. Little did I know, a true margarita drink contains no added sugar! Thats right: no simple syrup at all. Youll find that this makes the very best margarita recipe youll find.
This popular Mexican cocktail was invented in the 1930s. Its a classic sour cocktail thats on the list of International Bartender Associations IBA official cocktails. This means that theres an official definition . Heres whats in a margarita:
- Lime juice
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What Tequila To Use
Im often asked what is the best tequila. The best tequila is a matter of personal preference. And yet its an understandable question as there seems to be a new tequila on the market every day!
Personally we drink blanco or reposado. The only suggestion we have is to stay away from cheap tequila unless you want to remember your college days and the reason why so many people fear tequila.
There are a lot of good tequilas out there in the $30-$35 price range that will do the trick!
Needless to say, after drinking these cocktails we became snobs!! I think my hubby nailed the perfect ratio of all ingredients if I do say so myself
The Best Margarita Recipe
This is the BEST cocktail for a crowd of people or just for one. If youre throwing a party, you need this easy Margarita recipe. Pitcher cocktails are a lifesaver for parties.
With only 4 ingredients: tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and a splash of triple sec. Youre ready to go!
My husband perfected this recipe a few years ago after attending an event at the Ritz-Carlton in Tucson AZ and seeing a bartender make it for us.
He told us the secret to the BEST margarita and now were sharing it with you!
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How To Make A Pitcher Of Mojitos:
If you happen to be making a round of mojitos for a group, feel free to try out the mojito pitcher recipe below instead! To make a pitcher of mojitos, simply