Home Enthusiast The 10 best margarita recipes to make at home

The 10 best margarita recipes to make at home


As with many classic cocktails, the specifications for the best margarita recipe depend on who you ask. Do you prefer sweeter or tangier drinks? Tequila or mezcal? And what about orange liqueur – is triple sec or Cointreau better for margaritas, or should you toss the orange and opt for blue curaçao?

Fortunately, there are more right than wrong answers.

“It’s delicious in every way,” says Ronnie Muñoz, chef-owner of Todos Santos in Los Angeles. He loves Tommy’s margaritas, a riff that replaces orange liqueur with agave syrup. Muñoz often opts for mezcal over the traditional tequila.

A margarita can take many forms and appeal to countless palates.

“It’s super accessible and takes on a lot of other flavors, like fruit purées and other spirits with other flavor profiles,” he says. “For us, for me, it’s just a very fun cocktail to make and drink. He is universally loved.

A margarita can be a practical or a sentimental choice.

“They’re familiar, delicious, potent, and hard to mess up,” says Kara Newman, spirits reviewer for Passionate about wine. “Even a ‘bad’ margarita tends to be pretty good.” She adds that since many of us have sipped margaritas on vacation or at dinner parties with friends, we often associate the cocktail with fun and festive times.

“It also doesn’t hurt that tequila has become one of the most popular spirits in America, and that margaritas now come in such a wide range of variations,” says Newman.

In a divided world, margaritas offer something for everyone.

What’s typical in a Margarita?

Margaritas are usually made with tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Some may include an additional sweetener like simple syrup or agave nectar.

Within this rubric lies a world of possibilities, according to John deBary, author of drink what you want.

“You can find huge variation in margaritas just by changing the type of tequila and orange liqueur you use,” he writes. “Try one with blanco and Cointreau, and try another with reposado and Grand Marnier, or swap the tequila for mezcal. This drink can take many forms.

Choose your mind wisely, adds deBary. “The biggest margarita crime is using bad tequila.”

Silver or blanco tequila is usually the base alcohol for margaritas, although some prefer to use lightly aged reposado tequila to balance out the citrus notes of the drink.

“My favorite margarita is the tequila reposado, rocks, no salt,” says Newman. However, she will change her order depending on the circumstances. “Especially on a humid day, I wouldn’t say no to a frozen margin straight out of the blender.”

Either way, keep your mind light and your flavors bright. “Save the expensive, very old tequila añejo to sip,” writes Dale DeGroff in The craft of the cocktail.

How much alcohol is in a margarita?

In 2014, Britain’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) created a digital calculator to help cocktail lovers figure out how much alcohol is in their favorite drink.

There is a fair amount of alcohol in a margarita. According to the NIH, three-ounce margaritas contain 33% alcohol. In comparison, the organization registers a six-ounce tonic vodka with 13% alcohol.

Of course, the actual alcohol content of a cocktail depends on who prepares it and how. If you pour spirits with a lighter touch or prefer more orange liqueur than tequila, your drink will be less alcoholic than someone who puts a lot of tequila in theirs.

What tools will you need to make margaritas?

Luckily, you don’t need a cabinet full of fancy bartending equipment to make margaritas at home. Your most important tool is a cocktail shaker. There you will combine your ingredients with ice, shake for 10-15 seconds, then pour into a glass.

You’ll also need a jigger to measure your spirits and juices, but in a pinch, a measuring cup or tablespoon will do the job as well.

Fresh lime is the key. Depending on your agility, you can either squeeze limes with a juicer or use your bare hands and some elbow grease. If none of these work for you, try holding half a lime over a bowl while you dig into it with non-reactive kitchen tongs. Then twirl the lime on the tongs to mimic a juicer.

Rocks glasses are what many bartenders use to serve margaritas, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with pouring your own into a tall, bowl-shaped margarita glass if that’s what you prefer. It’s your happy hour.

The best margarita recipes (maybe)

This collection of cocktails contains some of our favorite margarita recipes. Whether you want a classic margarita, a spicy iteration, or a flavor-packed virgin margarita, there’s a cocktail for every drink.

Still, the best margaritas are the ones you like best. If this cocktail dive makes you want to riff on one of these recipes and create your own homemade margarita, great.