Perfect Margarita

published May 3, 2024

Shake up the best margarita of your life with just lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur.

Serves1

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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A classic margarita is my go-to cocktail whenever I find myself at a bar. But up until recently, I never knew exactly how to make my own at home. My husband, a retired bartender, walked me through the process of how to properly salt the rim of a glass, the ideal ratio of lime juice to blanco tequila, and the importance of straining before serving (this delivers a clean cocktail without any seeds or ice chips). Now I can confidently make a deliciously refreshing margarita for myself in less than five minutes. Whether you’re staying in for the night or impressing your guests with your margarita-making skills, here’s how to do it! 

Why You’ll Love It

  • It’s absolutely delicious — without any sweetener! Seriously, you don’t need it! Here, orange liqueur adds a touch of sweetness for a well-rounded flavor. 
  • It really couldn’t be easier. As long as you have a lime, tequila, and orange liqueur, you’ll be sipping on this tasty margarita in just five minutes.  
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Key Ingredients in a Margarita

  • Tequila: Go for blanco (or silver) tequila, which is the least aged and most agave-forward. You don’t need to break the bank here — just make sure to use one you like. 
  • Lime juice: You’ll want to use only the freshest lime juice for the best margarita.
  • Orange liqueur: I prefer Cointreau for its cleaner taste, but Grand Marnier works too; your margarita will have a deeper flavor. 

How to Make a Margarita

  1. Salt your rim. Moisten the rim of an Old-Fashioned or margarita glass with a lime wedge, then dip in kosher salt to coat. 
  2. Shake the ingredients. Combine lime juice, blanco tequila, orange liqueur, and nectar or simple syrup if using in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, seal, and shake until very frosty. 
  3. Strain & enjoy. Pour the cocktail through a fine-mesh strainer and garnish with a lime wedge.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Helpful Swaps

  • If you’re out of limes, you can swap in key limes or even an orange to complement the orange liqueur. It’ll still be super refreshing! 
  • For a distinctive twist, swap in smoky mezcal for half or all of the tequila. 

More Margarita Recipes

Margarita Recipe

Shake up the best margarita of your life with just lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur.

Prep time 5 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons

    Diamond Crystal kosher salt

  • 1

    medium lime

  • Ice

  • 1 1/2 ounces

    blanco or silver tequila

  • 1 ounce

    orange liqueur, preferably Cointreau

  • 1/4 ounce

    agave nectar or simple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. Spread 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt in an even layer on a small flat plate. Halve 1 medium lime. Cut 1 lime wedge from one half, then juice the remaining lime pieces until you have 1 ounce. Run the lime wedge over the rim of an Old-Fashioned or margarita glass to moisten. Invert the glass into the salt, turning it as needed, to coat the rim. Fill the glass with ice.

  2. Place the lime juice, 1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila, 1 ounce orange liqueur, and 1/4 ounce agave nectar or simple syrup if using in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker halfway with ice, seal, and shake until the outside of the shaker is very frosty, about 20 seconds.

  3. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into the glass. Garnish with the lime wedge.