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The Very BEST Margarita Recipe

Looking for the very best Margarita recipe? A Margarita that is better than any restaurant Margarita? Look no further, my friend!

When we head out to a restaurant, I am typically a ‘white wine please’ gal. That being said, our favorite Mexican restaurants are the ones whose Margarita recipes have passed THE test. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is a ‘better than restaurant Margarita recipe!’

I can honestly say, without hesitation, that my dad made THE BEST MARGARITA! Hands down! No question! After you try it, you’ll be convinced – as I am – that this is the perfect margarita recipe! 

What readers are saying…

“Hi there, I made your dad’s margaritas, and I have to say you are right! This was the best recipe I have found so far. Now I’m trying to figure out the ratio for a pitcher to have with tacos. Thanks so much for this recipe.”


Not that I want to make you feel insecure about our national security, but I’m convinced he honed his bar-tending skills during his twenty-six years in the US Navy. My dad was a submariner, so after six months underwater, they were always ready for a party when they returned home.

I consider myself a bit of a margarita snob because of my dad and his oh-so-perfect margarita recipe. I can’t just order a margarita in a restaurant without interrogating the server about the specific ingredients in their restaurant margarita recipe.

You will be the go-to bartender with this perfect Margarita recipe! But do yourself a favor and don’t limit yourself to just having this delicious libation once a year for your Cinco de Mayo margarita. Once you’ve tasted this drink’s clean, brisk, and simple flavor, you’ll be spoiled too.

And if you feel a little daring, try this Jalapeño Margarita recipe, which is just a little variation of this classic margarita recipe.

And not for nothing…

This Classic Margarita Recipe Can Be Easily Doubled…or Tripled!

Yes…my dad’s Margarita recipe can be easily multiplied! The recipe card gives instructions for making one margarita or a pitcher of margaritas.

Please note that some of the links provided may be affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. However, the price you pay remains the same. You can see my full disclosure policy here.  

Margarita in glass with salted rim

What ingredients Do You Need to Make the Very Best Margarita Recipe?

In my humble yet educated (through years of Margarita tastings) opinion, the best Margarita recipe has 4 very simple ingredients…Good Tequila, Fresh Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, and just a splash of Triple Sec or Cointreau.


Use high-quality tequila for the best flavor. Look for 100% agave tequila, as it tends to taste smoother. You can choose between Blanco (unaged), reposado (aged for a few months), or añejo (aged for a year or more) tequila, depending on your preference.

Silver tequila, also known as Blanco, is a type of clear and colorless tequila. It is usually a cleaner and crisper tequila. The reposado and añejo ‘Gold’ tequilas have a distinct caramel and earthy flavor due to being aged in barrels. I’m a Silver gal, but that’s just a personal preference; use the tequila of your choice.

Lime Juice

Freshly squeezed lime juice is always preferred for the freshest flavor. If you’re short on time or don’t have fresh limes, you can use bottled lime juice (not limeade) as a substitute. However, remember that the taste may not be as vibrant as using fresh limes. Depending on your lime, you can get close to 2 ounces out of a large one. I use an electric citrus juicer.

N&N Tip: Microwave your limes for 20 seconds and then roll them on the counter to help get the juices flowing!

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is a sweetening solution created by combining equal parts of sugar and water. A common use for simple syrup is to balance the sourness of lime juice in a margarita. You can make simple syrup by heating equal amounts of sugar and water until the sugar dissolves, then cooling it before using. Alternatively, you can purchase pre-made simple syrup from the store for convenience.

Orange Liqueur

An orange liqueur adds a hint of citrus flavor and sweetness to the margarita. Triple sec is a popular and cost-effective option, but for a higher-end choice with a smoother taste, Cointreau is the way to go. You can choose either based on your preference and budget.

Lime Wedges and Salt

Additionally, don’t forget to prepare your preferred garnishes, such as lime wedges or kosher salt for rimming the glass, to enhance the presentation and taste of your margarita. A salted rim is optional, so if you are mixing for others make sure to check their preference.

The perfect margarita recipe: limes with tequila bottle

What Orange Liqueurs Should You Use in Margaritas?

  • Triple Sec is a popular choice for margaritas. It is a clear, sweet orange liqueur with a bright citrus flavor. It is widely available and typically more affordable compared to other options.
  • Cointreau is a top-tier orange liqueur that boasts a smooth and superior taste. It has a clear appearance and a balanced sweetness. Mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts often prefer Cointreau for its refined taste.
  • Grand Marnier blends cognac, bitter orange essence, and sugar. It has a rich and complex flavor profile with notes of orange and hints of oak. Grand Marnier adds depth and elegance to margaritas but is usually more expensive than other orange liqueurs.
  • Combier is a French orange liqueur with a long history in the industry. Combier is a mixture of sweet and bitter oranges commonly used in handcrafted cocktails. It may be an excellent alternative if you’re searching for a distinct twist on a traditional margarita.

Tips for the Very Best Margarita

Chill the Ingredients

To make sure your margarita is refreshing, make sure to chill all the ingredients beforehand.

Use Fresh, Quality Ingredients

Truly, for the Very Best Margarita, don’t skimp on the tequila or the orange liqueur and use fresh lime juice. You’ll appreciate the flavor from a good-quality tequila and orange liqueur and there really is no substitute for fresh lime juice. The pasteurization that lime juice goes through when bottled truly does change the flavor.

Balance the Flavors

The key to the perfect Margarita is balance. The right ratio of tequila, lime juice, and sweetener is crucial. Start with the classic 3:2:1 ratio (tequila: lime juice: sweetener) and adjust according to your taste.

Shake, Don’t Stir

Shaking your Margarita with ice before serving helps to properly chill and dilute the drink, enhancing its flavor and texture.

Don’t Skimp on the Ice

Use plenty of ice when shaking your Margarita to get it ice-cold. However, avoid over-diluting by shaking for just the right amount of time—about 15 seconds.

Strain and Serve

If serving on the rocks, strain the mixture into a glass filled with fresh ice to avoid the ice used for shaking, which might be too broken down.

Chill the Glasses

A chilled glass will keep your Margarita nice and cool for a longer period of time.

You truly don’t need any special glass for a Margarita. For the traditional look, go for a classic margarita glass. I have two boxes of these which are perfect for entertaining larger crowds.

margarita glass

classic margarita glasses

  • 12, 9-ounce margarita glasses
  •  lead-free
  • dishwasher-safe

What Do You Serve With Margaritas?

If you are looking for Mexican-inspired recipes to accompany your Margarita, you might consider my Layered Taco Dip. A match made in Mexican Food heaven!

Or, try this Elote Dip or this Mango Habanero Salsa that can be made with frozen mango!

Some Questions and Answers About Making the Best Margarita Recipe

Fresh limes.
What’s the secret to a perfectly balanced Margarita?

The secret lies in the quality of your ingredients and their proportions. Use fresh lime juice, and quality tequila, and adjust the sweetness with simple syrup to find your perfect balance. We stick the classic 3:2:1 ratio for our Margaritas.

Can I make a big batch of Margaritas for a party?

Absolutely and you will surely be the most popular host or hostess in town! I’ve included the measurements and instructions to make this Margarita mix for a crowd in the recipe card.

How can I make my Margarita more unique?

Experiment with different garnishes like fresh herbs (basil or mint), spices on the rim (like chili powder or smoked salt), or adding a splash of fruit juice (like pineapple or mango) for a twist.

Is it necessary to use Triple Sec or Cointreau?

While orange liqueur adds depth and sweetness to the Margarita, you can adjust the recipe to your taste. For a less sweet version, reduce the amount or try a dry orange liqueur alternative.

You could also substitute orange juice for orange liqueur. While orange juice can impart a citrusy sweetness, it won’t replicate the complexity or the alcohol content that Cointreau adds to the cocktail.

As a general guideline, you can start with a 1:1 substitution ratio. For example, if your recipe calls for 1/2 ounce of orange liqueur, try using 1/2 ounce of orange juice. Adjust according to taste, remembering that orange juice is less concentrated in flavor.

Can I use this recipe to make Frozen Margaritas?

Yes! There are instructions in the recipe card for Frozen Margaritas.


The Very Best Margarita Recipe

A fresh and crisp Margarita...just sweet enough but not too sweet. This recipe is easily multiplied for larger batches. See notes for making a pitcher of Margaritas.
4.53 from 116 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Beverage Recipes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 1 serving
Calories 439 kcal


  • 3 ounces Tequila Chilled
  • 2 ounces Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice Chilled, (or bottled lime juice)
  • 1 ounce Simple Syrup Chilled, 1 part sugar and 1 part water
  • 1/2 ounce Triple Sec or Cointreau
  • Ice


  • If you like your rim salted, run a wedge of lime around the edge of your glass and then dip the rim in a plate that has a layer of salt in it.

On the Rocks

  • Fill your shaker halfway full with ice.
  • Add tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, and Triple Sec or Cointreau to the shaker and shake for 15 seconds.
  • Add fresh ice to the serving glass and strain the shaken margarita in the glass.
  • Garnish with a slice of lime.

Chilled, But Not Over Ice

  • Fill your shaker halfway full with ice.
  • Add tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, and Triple Sec or Cointreau to the shaker and shake for 15 seconds.
  • Strain the shaken margarita into the serving glass.
  • Garnish with a slice of lime.

For a Frozen Margarita

  • Combine the tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, and Triple Sec (or Cointreau) in a blender.
  • Add Ice. Depending on how thick you like your frozen Margaritas, start with about 1 to 1.5 cups of ice per serving. Adjust to your preference.
  • Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, you can add a little more lime juice or simple syrup to thin it. If it's too thin, add more ice and blend again.
  • Pour the blended Margarita into the prepared glasses.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge


To make a pitcher of Margaritas

This recipe will typically serves about 8 people.


  • 24 ounces (3 cups) Tequila
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) Simple Syrup
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) Triple Sec or Cointreau


  • Into a large (60-ounce)  pitcher, combine the tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and Triple Sec or Cointreau.
  • Stir well to blend all the ingredients.
  • Taste and adjust the sweetness or lime if necessary.
  • Once mixed, you can refrigerate the pitcher until ready to serve. This allows the flavors to meld together.
  • Right before serving, if you prefer your Margaritas on the rocks, fill glasses with ice.
  • Pour the Margarita mixture over the ice and garnish each glass with a lime wedge.
  • If you enjoy a salted rim, remember to prepare the glasses ahead of pouring by running a lime wedge around the rim and dipping it in salt.
A pitcher of Margaritas can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before serving. It's best to add the ice directly to the glasses rather than the pitcher to prevent dilution over time.


Serving: 1gCalories: 439kcalCarbohydrates: 37gSodium: 12mgSugar: 32g
Keyword alcohol, beverage, cocktail, drinks, margarita, recipe, tequila, triple sec
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Feliz Cinco de Mayo¡

Save this Margarita recipe to your bookmarks or pin it for your Cinco de Mayo planning! Or…just because you feel the need for a yummy cocktail tonight!

I sure hope you have time to enjoy this Margarita Recipe! For Cinco de Mayo or anytime, I think you’ll agree this recipe is better than a restaurant margarita.

Thanks so much for spending a few minutes of your busy day with me!

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Until next time…

Signature of Lynn

Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!

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  1. Hi Lynn,
    OK…now I think I have a problem. It is 8:30 in the morning and I am suddenly craving a margarita! Perhaps I should wait till later. 🙂 I love a good margarita and can’t wait to give this recipe a try. Thank you for the great roundup of recipes and for sharing my rice recipe!

    1. Amazing recipe! We made this recipe for ourselves and loved it so much that we made it for a party, and our guests loved it! The only issue is that one of our guests liked it a little too much and may have thrown up all over one of our area rugs…but no big deal! Already found a cleaner to do an area rug cleaning and it looks good as new! Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Wow, what a line up you have here Lynn (thanks for including my carnitas recipe) and those margaritas are calling my name! They are begging for hot summer evenings on the patio with good friends and lots of laughter! Andale!

    1. Hey Jane, you are so welcome…thanks for a great looking recipe. We are ready for those patio dinners as well…seems winter decided to make one last visit here in Southeastern NC.

      I’m looking forward to making those carnitas…they have been on my to-do list for some time.

      Have a great day.

      Hugs, Lynn

  3. Oh those Bruschetta look sooooo good! I make them all them time. We love them! I can’t wait to try that Margarita recipe too. It’s too early to be this hungry lol

    1. Hi Cynthia and so sorry that I am just seeing this. Hope your Cinco de Mayo was delicious and that you enjoyed Dad’s Margaritas! It’s 7 am in the morning and just thinking about those margaritas is making my mouth water…not a good way to start the day!

      Thanks again for swinging by and leaving your kind comment.

      Hugs, Lynn

  4. Just made this….so good!!! What you said “sweet enough but not too sweet” describes them perfectly!! Keeping this recipe! Thank you!!

    1. Oh Christi, I am so very glad you enjoyed it as much as we do! My dad loves to hear that his recipe is so loved.

      Have a great day my friend.



  5. Hi there,
    I made your dad’s margarita’s and I have to say you are right! This was the best recipe I have found so far. Now I’m trying to figure out the ratio for a pitcher to have with tacos. Thanks so much for this recipe.

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