Margarita in a glass with copper cocktail shaker and a plate of limes behind

Margarita cocktail

  • serves 1
  • Easy

Shake up this classic tequila cocktail then check out our refreshing twists for summer

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Want the make the best margarita? Check out our expert guide then try our tequila cocktail recipes.

Find more refreshing drinks in our collection of summer cocktail recipes, including a frozen margarita, Paloma cocktail, piña colada and mai tai.


Our drinks expert, Hannah Guinness, shares her at-home bar tips to help you take your margarita to the next level.

What is a margarita?

The origins of the margarita are disputed but there’s no doubt that this tequila sour – made with just three ingredients – deserves its place in the classic cocktail canon. Punchy, citrussy and refreshing, it’s easy to make and open to many variations.

Margarita ingredients

Your choice of tequila is important. Pick a 100% agave spirit for optimum results – we’ve tried and tested the best tequilas here. Blanco tequila is classic here but you can also try an aged reposado or even añejo tequila. This will give a sweeter, richer, more caramel-toned end result. Other agave spirits, like smoky mezcal, would also work beautifully. An orange liqueur such as Cointreau or triple sec is typically used but if you don’t have it then elderflower or cherry liqueurs also work well.

Bar hacks and garnishes

When squeezing limes, try rolling them firmly on a worksurface beforehand as this will help release the juices. For the salt rim, don’t use salt that’s too fine or too coarse – sea salt flakes work best. You could also mix in a little mild chilli powder for a spicier end result. Use a chilled margarita, coupe or tumbler glass.

Check out our margarita mocktail here.


Easy margarita recipe

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Ingredients

  • salt
  • lime juice 25ml, (reserve 1 squeezed lime wedge)
  • tequila 50ml
  • Cointreau (or any other triple sec) 25ml

Method

  • Step 1

    Sprinkle a little salt on a saucer and rub the reserved lime wedge around the rim of a margarita or coupe glass, then dip in the salt to cover the rim. Put the lime juice, tequila and Cointreau in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into the glass and serve.


Margarita recipe twists

Spicy margarita

Margaritas pair beautifully with spicy flavours so try adding a dash of hot sauce to the recipe above (there’s a blood orange variety of Cointreau that works well). Make a chilli salt for the glass rim by mixing together ½ tsp of mild chilli powder, 1 tsp of sea salt flakes and the zest of ½ a lime.

Mezcal margarita

Smoky mezcal makes for a sultry, potent margarita – just swap out the tequila for mezcal in the classic recipe above.

Dirty margarita

Create a hybrid between a dirty martini and a margarita by adding a dash of pickling brine to the classic recipe. Pickled chilli brine works well, as does the brine from a jar of preserved lemons.

Watermelon margarita

Add a super-summery twist to your margarita by putting 50ml of tequila, 75ml of watermelon juice (we blitzed a handful of the fruit in a food processor for this), 1 tbsp of Cointreau or sugar syrup, and 25ml of lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a margarita or coupe glass.

Margarita Watermelon

Passion fruit margarita

Tropical passion fruit adds a tangy character to this drink. Cut a passion fruit in half and scoop out the flesh. Put in a cocktail shaker along with 50ml of tequila, 30ml of Cointreau or sugar syrup, and 15ml of lime juice. Add some ice, shake well and strain into a margarita or coupe glass.

Passion Fruit Margarita Recipe
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