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May 2, 2005 05:07 PM

Margarita Recipes

  • a

Now that the weather is starting to get nice (Boston), I'd like to make some refreshing margaritas. Every time someone makes me one however, they use the mix and it just tastes awful.

I'd like to here some favorite recipes for a cool, refreshing margarita. I'm also not much for the frozen pureed style either...just strained or maybe severed over ice.


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  1. 1 1/2 oz. Tequila
    3/4 oz. Triple Sec (or a 1/2 oz if you prefer)
    1 oz. lemon or lime juice (fresh)
    Shake with ice, serve on the rocks or straight up in a salt-rimmed glass.

    Simple, delicious. I love margaritas too and I never get them at bars because it's so often mix. Ick.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Adrian

      That's the recipe I use as well, though w/ 1/2 oz Triple Sec. You might also want to try other orange flavored liqueurs, to see if you prefer them. I've had a trusted bar tender tell me that using Cointreau or Grand Marnier is preferable. Also, a good tequila (Herradura Reposada sp? is my preferred) is not wasted on such a Margarita. Also, I like to use key limes. And, lastly, I've had friends say that this recipe is not sweet enough, so I try to have some simple syrup on hand for them.


      1. re: MMRuth

        I do the same pretty much the same . In fact, just this afternoon, I was at Bed, Bath and Beyond and spotted the giant Bucket O' Margarita Mix (blech!) while waiting on line, which set me right in to craving mode. So, I made my first margarita of the season when I got home with 1 oz tequila, 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice and 2/3 oz of triple sec (cointreau would be nice, but I worked with what I had and it was juuuust fine). I, too, prefer margaritas on the rocks and never from mix.

        1. re: MMRuth

          You've nailed it IMO, MMRuth. I always use key limes instead of persians; I think it's the "key" to an authentic 'rita. Also, I prefer Sauza Hornitos and Cointreau (better yet, the Mexican orange liquer Controy) but I never add any sugar or syrup. Shake 'em and serve them striaght up in a salt rimmed glass.

          1. re: Greg Spence

            Controy! Yes! It's nearly as good as Cointreau, more authentic, and -- happily -- generally pretty cheap.

            FWIW, Tommy's uses Mexican limes from Veracruz, which are a little sweeter than ordinary limes, and usually available (though a bit more expensive) through all four seasons, in the right produce stores.

          2. re: MMRuth

            Your bartender is definitely right, Cointreau and Grand Marnier are far better than Triple Sec. More expensive, worth it.

            Same deal with your tequila. When Rochelle and I were first studying tequila, I couldn't drink it straight. She would order hers neat, and I would get the same in a margarita. Obviously the flavor of the tequila is more distinct when neat, but we were surprised to find that you definitely could taste all those same flavors in the mixed drink.

            In a quality drink, you can definitely taste the difference between tequilas. So using a quality tequila is not a waste. Herradura is an outstanding option, one of my favorites!

            1. re: Alderete

              The first time I ever drank tequila was in Mexico City. Every where we went, including in people's homes, one would be served a small glass of tequila and a small glass of sangrita, the recipe for which would vary from establishment to establishment. Usually some combination of orange juice, tomato juice, a little chicken stock, some lime juice, maybe a little tabasco or some kind of chile pepper. Lovely to sip a little bit of each.

            2. re: MMRuth

              Cointreau *is* triple sec, just a high-end brand of it.

              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                Incorrect. Triple sec is a low-end version of Cointreau, at best. you are backwards. There is no subbing Cointreau in a marg, or any other drink calling for Cointreau. Ever.

                1. re: larspeart

                  Would you provide a citation for the claim that Cointreau is not a triple sec?

            3. re: Adrian

              This is how I make margaritas as well. A bartender I know calls it a "flat" margarita, has anyone else ever heard that?

              1. re: Adrian

                A 'hound after my own heart. My recipe is similar as well, 1 part each lemon/lime juice and resposado tequila, 1/2 part Triple Sec and just enough simple syrup to give it a hint of sweetness. Always on the rocks.

       you've got my thinking...

                How long until happy hour?

                1. re: Adrian

                  My recipe is
                  4 parts fresh squeezed lime juice
                  3 parts tequila
                  1 part triple sec or grand marnier

                  shaken with ice until very cold & strained.

                  Usually 1 part = 1 oz. and this makes a hearty double
                  for The Bride & myself.

                  Sometimes (deep winter) the limes may be a little too tart, and I up the amount of triple sec to add more sweetness.


                2. One site you may want to check out is -- some recipes are winners, some are losers, but there are so many variations you can't help but find one that you like...

                  1. The best margarita I've ever had was at Tonto Bar & Grill in Carefree, AZ. The bartender shared the recipe with me. I haven't used the recipe yet, but here it is.

                    2 jiggers Sweet n Sour Mix
                    1 jigger orange juice
                    1 splash Rose's Lime Juice
                    1 splash Sprite
                    1/2 oz. Triple Sec
                    1 to 1-1/2 oz. tequila

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Deenso

                      That sounds really sweet to me -- four of the six ingredients have some kind of sugar/sweetener in them.

                      I use a recipe similar to the one Adrian gave. IMHO Margaritas should be refreshing, with the elements of tartness/acidity from the lime and the bitterness of the tequila. It just needs a hint of sweetness to balance them out.

                      1. re: Deenso

                        I'm not a fan of triple sec or sweet and sour mix in a margarita. And Sprite? That just seems wrong. If you're using good tequila, this recipe will totally mask the flavor of the spirit (which is not inexpensive).

                        That said, I can't make a margarita from scratch to save my life. I always screw it up. Instead I like simple mixes, that are readily available, and still taste great.

                        Tommy's Heavenly Margarita Mix is fairly available in the Bay Area. It's fresh lime juice, water, and a tiny bit of natural sweetener. You mix it one-to-one with tequila, for perfect margaritas every time.

                        Even easier to find is Odwalla's Limeade, which is pretty similar, but half the cost of Tommy's Mix. It's a little sweet, and not quite as limey, so I find I need to squeeze in half a lime to each drink to make up the difference. Still mixes one-to-one with good tequila, for very good margaritas.

                        Recently we discovered that Trader Joe's has a great new juice, Strawberry Limeade, which makes incredible strawberry margaritas. Again one-to-one with tequila, again a little sweet, again a bit of fresh lime fixes it.

                        You can sense a theme here, I'm sure. Finding something I can mix one-to-one makes it so much easier to make consistent drinks over the course of an matter how many of them I've had.

                        BTW, all three of these mixes are found in the refrigerated section of the store.

                        1. re: Deenso

                          Wow, that goes against everything a good Margarita is all about! Sprite? Sour mix? Ewwwwwww.

                        2. If you don't mind putting a bit more time and effort into it, I think the Cook's Illustrated margarita recipe is fantastic. Here are the ingredients and paraphrased instructions:

                          4 teaspoons grated lime zest
                          1/2 cup lime juice from 2 to 3 medium limes
                          4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
                          1/2 cup lemon juice from 2 to 3 medium lemons
                          1/4 cup superfine sugar
                          pinch table salt
                          crushed ice
                          1 cup 100 percent agave tequila preferably Reposado
                          1 cup Triple Sec or Cointreau or Grand Marnier

                          Combine zests, juices, sugar, and salt in large glass bowl or measuring cup; cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, 24 is best.

                          Strain the juice mixture. Combine juice with equal parts tequila and triple sec (so 1 part juice to 1 part tequila to 1 part triple sec), shake with crushed ice and pour over more crushed ice to serve.

                          If serving to guests, make sure they realize that these are much stronger than those horrid margarita mix drinks. This amount should make 4 - 6 drinks. If I'm making them for myself, I freeze leftover juice mix for later. Or you could probably keep it in the fridge for a week (or two?).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sprout

                            We made these. They were good to me but my friends wanted more sugar added. Seems like they are so used to the commercial sweet sh*t that the traditional margarita is going by the wayside. squeezing so many lemons and limes is way to much work for me only to get a couple cups of juice ( I doubled the recipe) I wish there was an easier solution.

                            1. re: sprout

                              This is the closest recipe to what I would make at home (with the lime and lemon zest), though I would use less orange liqueur and more tequila. Key is the ICE. Use small ice cubes, or crushed ice. Lots of it.

                            2. Try this simple recipe. These are considered the classic proportions: equal parts tequila, triple sec and fresh squeezed lime juice. Pour into a ice-filled shaker and strain into martini or margarita glasses rimmed with coarse salt.

                              I usually add about a teaspoon of powdered sugar to cut the tartness of the limes (this is for a recipe using 2 oz of each ingredient).

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: poppytrail

                                Better late than never, eh? My understanding of the classic proportions for a margarita is 3-2-1 parts of blanco tequila, orange liqueur (Cointreau or Clement Shrubb for me or Citronge for a more budget-friendly choice), and lime juice, respectively. It's not my favorite recipe but has been touted as classic in several publications....

                                1. re: rlh

                                  I'm not sure there is really a "classic" proportion. These fellas suggest the following, 100% agave/Cointreau/fresh lime juice, and they've done some historical research on the subject (not to mention lots of field testing, I'm sure):

                                  Dale degroff

                                  ted haigh

                                  Robert Hess
                                  1 1/3

                                  The one thing is common is to use 100% agave tequila, Cointreau (or at least a premium triple sec), and fresh lime juice. The rest depends on taste, and of course on how sweet/tart the limes are.

                                  1. re: tommy

                                    Good illustration of the wide variance in margarita preferences - personally, my completely non-classic favorite is (note it fills a contemporary margarita glass vs. a smaller classic cocktail saucer - that's another thing I like about it...):

                                    2 oz. blanco tequila (Milagro, Cazadores, etc.)
                                    2 oz homemade sour mix (2 parts lime juice, 1 part lemon, 1 part agave simple syrup, and sometimes a tiny splash of fresh OJ...) *(I credit this mix to Keith of Il Casale, Belmont, MA)
                                    1 oz. Cointreau, Citronge, or Clement Creole Shrubb

                                    Shake with ice cubes and serve in glass rimmed with fresh lime juice and kosher or other coarse (not sea) salt - garnish with lime wheel.

                                    1. re: rlh

                                      I'm strictly a 3-1-1 guy. No extra sweetener.