The margarita is a drink that needs no introduction. Every Mexican bar or restaurant has a margarita on its menu, and it’s a popular cocktail everyone can recognize from a mile away. Those salt-rimmed glasses filled with an iced cocktail and a fancy lime wedge? Iconic.
But what really sets a good margarita apart is the cocktail mixture. If you combine just the right amount of high-quality tequila, sweet triple sec, and tangy lime juice, you’ll get a smooth margarita that tastes divine!
In this recipe, I’ll be showing you my best homemade margarita recipe for a serving of 16. And no, of course you’re not going to make them individually in a cocktail shaker! We’ll be making an ice-cold pitcher of margaritas to pour out from.
I’m also including a recipe for a single serving of margarita. Whether you’re hosting a Taco Tuesday dinner party or hosting a solo happy hour, I’ve got you covered. Cheers!
You’ve probably heard of margarita variations like passion fruit margaritas and spicy jalapeño margaritas. I have some recommendations on how to switch up a classic margarita, but more on that later.
First, we’ll need to craft a classic margarita. The basic ingredients in this margarita recipe are:
- Reposado Tequila – Use any Reposado tequila (tequila that has been aged for 2 to 12 months). I like how it gives off sweet vanilla and oaky aromas and always prefer it to Blanco which is lighter.
- Triple sec – My go-to orange liqueur is triple sec. Cointreau is also a good option, so go with what you like!
- Freshly-squeezed lime juice – Bright citrus flavor from fresh lime juice is a must-have in margs! (Pro Tip: to get more juice out of your lime, roll it over the counter, pressing slightly, to loosen up the juices)
- Lime wedges and coarse salt – For salting the rim of the glass.
- Optional sweetener – Triple sec is already quite sweet, but if it’s still too bitter for you, drizzle a bit of honey or simple syrup to balance that out. I personally do not use sweetener as I love tequila, and the lime gives it a nice freshness that is perfect for a hot summer’s day!
- Ice – Use one-inch ice cubes if serving margarita on the rocks. Use crushed ice if making a frozen margarita.
Pretty simple, right? For the exact amounts of each ingredient, please scroll to the margarita pitcher recipe card.
What Is The Ratio Of Tequila To Margarita Mix?
A margarita cocktail is a mix of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. However, balance is key to making a great-tasting margarita that goes down easy.
If there’s too much triple sec or orange liqueur, it’ll be too sweet.
If there’s too much lime juice, you’re better off drinking lemonade.
If there’s too much tequila, your margarita will be too bitter to be enjoyed.
What we want is just the right amount of each. While taste is subjective, my recommended ratio of tequila to margarita mix is 4:2:1 (tequila : triple sec : lime juice).
Tips & Variations
Save time with pre-made margarita mix:
Nothing beats a homemade margarita, but I get it: squeezing limes can result in sore arms, especially when there are 10 limes to juice! If you’re really pressed for time and can’t be bothered to squeeze fresh limes, you can get bottled pre-made margarita mix at grocery stores – but I don’t recommend this.
There are so many varieties of it. Most of them are sweetened lime juice but some already have triple sec mixed inside. Choose wisely, but remember homemade is always the better option.
Let the ice melt slightly:
Once the margarita is made and poured into your cocktail glass, I like to let it sit for 5 minutes before taking a sip (I have pretty good self-control, you know).
The ice will start to melt, slightly diluting the mixture. This mellows down the tequila, allowing for smoother sipping. Ice, ice, baby.
And now, let’s look at some of my favorite margarita variations and how to make them.
Normally, we’d make margarita in a shaker with ice. A frozen margarita is an ice-blended margarita with all the same basic ingredients. This ice-cold slushy is really fun to drink! Just throw tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and ice into a blender and watch it go. Then, serve the cocktail in a salt-rimmed glass.
Frozen fruit margaritas:
Once you’ve discovered any fruit add-in, it’s like opening Pandora’s box of thirst-quenchers. You can blend your favorite fruits into your margarita mix, but pick one fruit at a time to keep it simple! Try mango, watermelon, passion fruit, blackberries, or strawberries for an extra refreshing drink.
Spicy jalapeño margaritas:
Yes, it’s a real thing. Sounds strange, but it works, especially when you’re feeling a little adventurous! One or two slices of jalapeño into your margarita mix is all it takes to get that spicy kick in your tastebuds. You can even infuse your tequila with jalapeño ahead of time if you’re really committed to the process – this makes it even more flavorful.
Margarita Pitcher Recipe
FOR A PITCHER OF MARGARITAS
- 4 cups reposado tequila
- 2 cups Triple Sec
- 1 1/2 cups freshly-squeezed lime juice
- optional sweetener: honey or simple syrup to taste
- lots of ice
- lime wedges and coarse salt for rimming the glasses
FOR A SINGLE MARGARITA
- 2 ounces reposado tequila
- 1 ounce Triple Sec
- ½ of 1 lime freshly-squeezed lime juice
- optional sweetener: agave nectar or simple syrup to taste
- lime wedge and coarse salt for rimming the glass
FOR SERVING A CROWD
For The Pitcher:
- In a glass pitcher, combine all ingredients, except the ice. Keep the margarita mixture refrigerated until ready to serve.
For The Glasses:
- When ready to serve, rim the glasses with salt (if desired) and fill each with ice.
- If salting the rims, run a lime wedge (the juicy part) around the top rim of your serving glass. Fill a shallow bowl or plate with salt, then dip the rim until it is covered with your desired amount of salt. Set aside.
Mixing It Up:
- Fill a cocktail shaker ¾ of the way with ice. Add enough prepared margarita mixture to the top of the ice. Cover tightly and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Pour into prepared glasses and serve immediately.
- Drain excess water from the shaker. Repeat for the additional servings, adding more ice as needed.
- Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.
FOR SOLO HAPPY HOUR:
For The Glass:
- If salting the rim, run a lime wedge (the juicy part) around the top rim of your serving glass. Fill a shallow bowl or plate with salt, then dip the rim until it is covered with your desired amount of salt. Set aside.
For The Margarita:
- Fill a cocktail shaker ¾ of the way with ice.
- Add tequila, triple sec and lime juice.
- Cover tightly and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
- Pour into prepared glass, add ice from your shaker and garnish with a lime wedge! Add additional ice to the glass if needed.