Want the make the best margarita? Check out our expert guide then try our tequila cocktail recipes.
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 (you just need a cocktail shaker) and open to many variations.
How do you make a margarita?
Margaritas are simple to whip (or shake) up but a few tips and tricks will really elevate the drink. Firstly, your choice of tequila is important – pick a 100% agave tequila for the best results. Blanco tequila is classically used but you can also try an aged reposado or even añejo tequila. This will give a sweeter, richer, more caramel-toned end result.
An orange liqueur such as Cointreau or triple sec is typically used but if you don’t have it then elderflower or cherry liqueurs can also work well. When squeezing limes, try rolling them firmly on a worksurface beforehand as this will help release the juices. Don’t use salt that’s too fine or too coarse – sea salt flakes work best. Finally, a margarita glass is obviously the classic glassware choice, but we also like using coupe glasses or even small tumblers.
Easy margarita recipe
- lime juice 25ml, (reserve 1 squeezed lime wedge)
- tequila 50ml
- Cointreau (or any other triple sec) 25ml
Margarita recipe twists
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.
Smoky mezcal makes for a sultry, potent margarita – just swap out the tequila for mezcal in the classic recipe above.
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.
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.
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.