Learn how to make Classic Margaritas on the rocks, and you’ll be a hit with your guests at your next party! So what are you waiting for? Grab the tequila, and let’s get started!
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How To Make Classic Margaritas
While you may prefer to skip to the recipe card, we suggest reading the entire blog post to avoid missing valuable tips and substitution suggestions and to ensure you have the necessary ingredients, equipment, and understanding of the steps and timings.
A margarita is a cocktail consisting of tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice often served with salt on the rim of the glass. The drink is served shaken with ice (on the rocks), blended with ice (frozen margarita), or without ice (straight up).Wikipedia
Let’s face it, there’s an amazing selection of cocktails to choose from these days. However, you can’t beat the classics!
Once you know how to make classic margaritas, you’ll be able to customise and experiment with different flavors and liquors and try our Unique Margarita Recipes.
The key to classic margaritas is the right tequila and orange liqueur balance.
For example, a strong tequila requires a strong orange liqueur to balance it out.
But just use your favorite tequila for simplicity, and don’t panic too much – it all goes down the same!
Pair your margaritas with one or two of our Mexican and Tex-Mex Recipes. There are 70+ for you to try.
Ingredients Used In This Cocktail
- Tequila – silver or blanco tequila is best for margaritas, but you can use your preferred type – we used gold in this recipe
- Orange-flavored liqueur – Cointreau makes the best margaritas as it has a balance of bitter and sweet with warm spice and a clean finish
- Lime Juice – freshly squeezed is best
- Simple Syrup – you can buy it ready-made, but it is so easy to make by heating 1 part white sugar with 1 part water until sugar is thoroughly dissolved
- Salt – for adding a salt rim to your margarita glass
This cocktail is shaken, but don’t worry if you don’t have a cocktail shaker; you could just use a container with a tight-fitting lid – like a mason jar or even the cup on a blender or smoothie maker.
How Do You Salt the Rim of a Margarita Glass?
Traditionally, margaritas are served in the eponymous margarita glass, a stepped-diameter variant of a cocktail glass or champagne coupe. The rim of the glass is often dipped in salt.
You don’t have to use the margarita-shaped glasses for this cocktail – use any glass you have! The method for adding salt to the rim of a glass is exactly the same!
- Pour some salt (kosher salt/sea salt flakes work well) onto a small plate or saucer.
- Cut a wedge of lime and then cut a notch/slit into the flesh – run it around the rim of the glass to add juice to the inside and outside edges.
- Dip the glass rim into the salt and give it a twist or two (like you’re cutting cookies from some dough).
- And you’re done!
You can actually buy cocktail-rimming dishes online (there is a gadget for everything!), but a small plate or saucer will work just fine.
More Margarita Cocktails To Make
Want to make more margaritas? I think you’re going to love these ones:
- Texas Margaritas with Raspberry Liqueur & Jalapeños!
- Frozen Mixed Berry Margaritas are Perfect for Summer!
- Lavender Margarita Purple Cocktail for Halloween!
Here are some variations you might like to try:
Virgin Margarita Mocktail (Non-Alcoholic)
So that non-drinkers can enjoy an alcohol-free margarita, we just need to make some tweaks (and remove the alcohol!).
These days we have alcohol-free liquors that make virgin cocktails a breeze, or you could use syrups instead – your choice!
To make one virgin margarita mocktail, mix together:
I love the Monin brand of syrups as there are lots of flavors, and they are a very versatile ingredient that can be used in cocktails, mocktails, coffee, cocoa, shakes, smoothies, and more.
I haven’t made the mocktail version, so I recommend adding the syrups to taste as they may add a sweetness that you may not necessarily get from alcoholic liqueurs.
*Non-drinking adults who still want the tequila flavors could experiment with non-alcoholic alternatives, replacing the agave syrup with:
- If you’re in the US, you could try Ritual Tequila Alternative – a zero-alcohol tequila (also available on Amazon)
- In the UK, you could try Mockingbird, which is alcohol-free and humbly mimics the taste of Tequila by using authentic Mexican Blue Weber Agave.
Want to turn this cocktail into a frozen slushie? Easy! Put all the ingredients in a blender with a generous amount of crushed ice – then blend till smooth. Serve with a straw, and watch out for brain freeze! You could do the same with the mocktail version too.
Classic Margaritas For a Crowd!
Want to make a big batch of margaritas for a party or gathering? It’s so easy!
As long as you use the same measuring container (glass, cup, jug, etc.) for the “1 part”, the ratios will be correct, and you can make as much as you need to.
Make sure you add plenty of ice to your serving container to keep the cocktail chilled. Add slices of lime in there too.
When setting up your bar serving area, included cocktail glasses, small napkins, a filled ice bucket, stirrers, and themed cocktail decorations if suitable!
You can pre-salt the rims of the glasses or provide lime wedges and a plate of salt for guests to add to their glasses.
To make a big batch of margaritas, mix together:
- 3 parts Tequila
- 3 parts Cointreau (or other orange-flavored liqueur)
- 2½ parts Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
- add simple syrup to taste, to sweeten if desired
This cocktail recipe is intended for adults of the legal drinking age in your country of residence.
Please drink responsibly. Do not drink and drive.
How Do I Make Classic Margaritas?
Check out the printable recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. Any demonstration photos do not print out to save your ink.
For Salt Rim
- Sea salt
- Lime wedge
For the Cocktail
- 3 oz. tequila
- 3 oz orange-flavored liqueur
- 2½ oz freshly squeeze lime juice
- 1-2 tablespoons simple syrup, optional*
- Lime slices, to serve
- To add a salt rim to the glasses, pour some sea salt onto a plate. Then rub the lime wedge around the rim of each glass. Dip the glass rim into the salt and twist. Remove and set aside.
- To make a classic margarita, fill a cocktail shaker full of ice.
- Add the tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice. Shake vigorously to combine.
- Pour into salt-rimmed margarita glasses filled with ice.
- Serve with a slice of lime, if desired. Enjoy!
- *To make simple syrup, heat 1 part white sugar with 1 part water until sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
- This is a strong drink when first poured. The flavors will mellow a bit as the ice melts.
- If you prefer a little sweeter drink, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of simple syrup to the cocktail shaker before mixing.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 222Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 1g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Meal!
The beverage is covered, but what about other dishes to make this recipe into a full meal? Here are my suggestions!
- Appetizer: This Mango Shrimp Cups Appetizer is Perfect for Parties!
- Soup: Pozole Rojo de Pollo (Red Pozole with Chicken)
- Salad: Classic Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing & Croutons
- Main Dish: Cuban Mojo Pork – Perfect For Making Cubano Sandwiches!
- Side Dish: Pineapple Coleslaw with Bacon
- Dessert: Cherry Coca-Cola Cupcakes
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.