I have two basic recipes, with one variation.
The first is a margarita made for my tastes, served on the rocks, no salt.
3 parts El Tesoro Silver
2 parts Cointreau
1 part fresh-squeezed lime juice
dash of orange bitters
The second is for parties (it's a slight variation on the Jeffrey Morgenthaler recipe from above). I put the liquor in the freezer the night before, squeeze the citrus the morning of, and mix it all in a big Thermos jug to keep it cold. The Cuervo is one of the cheapest decent 100% agave tequilas I've found; the Citronge is relatively inexpensive and I like it better than generic triple sec.
2 750ml bottles Cuervo Tradicional Silver
1 750ml bottle Patron Citronge
3 cups fresh-squeezed lime juice
3 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup agave syrup
And my variation on the second recipe.
Raspberry Lime Rickey Margaritas
2 750ml raspberry-infused Cuervo Tradicional Silver (1 pint berries/bottle, infused for 2 weeks)
1 750 ml bottle Patron Citronge
6 cups fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 cup agave syrup
For both of these I've found that people survive a little better if they mix it with a bit of seltzer, especially if they are drinking them throughout the day.
Our "house" margarita is now Tommy's Margarita (PDT Cocktail Book) with a few variations:
2 oz tequila (recipe calls for blanco, I use reposado)
1 oz fresh lime
1 oz agave syrup (50/50 agave nectar and water)
plus I add 2 dashes of our AZBL Mas Mole bitters.
shaken w/ice, strain into iced rocks glass.
I really prefer this over any Cointreau or curacao sweetened margarita that I've had.
Okay, okay...the best...well, is the most simple, Duh!
The "perfect margarita" is 3 ingredients:
High quality tequila(a reposado or anejo only!)
Like Cazadores Anejo, or Herradura anejo.
Mixed with tripple sec/or better-Grand Marnier
And fresh squeezed OJ.
Shaken super cold...you'll thank me ; )
Hmmm... I really prefer cointreau over Grand Marnier. I DO NOT like OJ in a margarita. And lime juice is a must. I don't really see how issues of sweetness and peppery-ness can even be generalized. Some blancos have a good deal sweetness and some repos are peppery (see Don Julio Blanco and Cazadores Repo, respectively, as example).
I know it may be nit picky, but at some point, when is it still a margarita? The traditional recipe uses triple sec, lime juice, and tequila. If you sub out the lime and triple sec, is it even a margarita anymore?
2 suggestions beyond the generic 3-2-1 formula (tequila - cointreau - lime)
Margarita with Cadillac Foam and Sea Salt
(requires whipping canister. Have not tried hand whipping)
shake the following with ice then strain into glass:
2 oz tequila
1 oz triple sec
1 oz lime juice
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
add the following to a whipper, charge with nitrous cartridge and top the cocktail:
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 oz Grand Marnier (may substitute 1/2 oz brandy + 1 1/2 oz cointreau)
4 oz orange juice, finely strained
4 dashes peach bitters
garnish with salt or zest or nothing. but enjoy!
6 cups tequila (you’ll need to buy two fifths for this
) 2½ cups triple sec (just buy one fifth, please)
2½ cups fresh lime juice
2½ cups fresh lemon juice
2 cups simple syrup
Mix ingredients together in gallon container. Don’t forget to refrigerate! When ready to serve, pour mixture into a 16-ounce glass filled with ice. Salted rim is optional
For the budget conscious, for margaritas I highly recommend using El Jimador Blanco (tequila) & Patron Citron (orange liqueur)
re: William Rucker
Most people prefer sweet over tart. Unless your party consisted of a bunch of cocktail geeks, I wouldn't put much into their assessment.
That recipe has almost a 1:1 ratio of tequila to citrus, which is about 3 times the ratio I use (with no additional sugar). The enormous amount of simple is going to water it down and add sweetness, both offsetting the citrus a bit, but it would still be too sweet to me, and I'm guessing too sour for most.
In the interest of science I will make this for lunch.
One of the best Marguerita recipes I have found is very simple! In a blender : 1 can of frozen limeade, fill can with a good Tequila and add to blender, add 1/2 can of Grand Marnier (or triple sec), and top off with 1 can lime seltzer. Delicious and easy for parties!
Day to day it's the classic 3-2-1
3 parts 100% Agave silver tequila (I'm a Herradura man)
2 parts Cointreau
1 part fresh lime juice
Shaken very well and fine strained into a chilled glass, half rimmed with fine salt.
For something more complex, but more costly.
3 parts Anejo Tequila (again, Herradura)
1 part Cointreau
1 part Grand Marnier
1 part fresh lime juice
1 dash Fee Bros Lemon Bitters.
Shake and bla bla bla, though sometimes using smoked sea salt on the rim.
my go-to (minor variation) recipe puts the marg (golden) ratio at:
teq (blanco or repo)
cointreau or grand marnier
*fresh squeezed* lime juice (this takes a while but is WAY worth it)
agave nectar or home made (raw sugar) simple surup
shake with ice and strain into (salted or non) glasses.
Perfect every time. I call it the "Purist".
To make a "Tourist" I add 1 part of bottled marg mix and 1 more part of teq.
(ends up tasting very much like a cadillac at most chain mex joints)
You can add a part of freshly juiced anything to the "Purist", i.e Mango, Strawberry, etc.
If you are rolling with juices, something else to play with is lightly pressed (not muddled) fresh herbs, like Mint.
which teq for margs?
sauza commemorativo (not 100% blue agave) but @ $28 for a 1.75 (from a cost to flavor perspective) is hard to beat. for a better quality others have named the most obvious, casadoras, milargo, etc. cabowabo is actually a good option. don't lock yourself into blancos, try repesados too. http://www.tequila.net/tequila-reviews/
I'm always tinkering, but here's my current recipe. I abhor Margaritas in which I can't taste the tequila. I always serve these straight up in a chilled cocktail glass.
1 part fresh-squeezed OJ
2 parts simple syrup (cane sugar dissolved in water 1-to-1)
3 parts fresh-squeezed lime juice
4 parts Marie Brizzard Triple Sec
8 parts 100% blue agave tequila
El Tesoro Platinum is my favorite pure-agave tequila for the money right now. The Reposado works well, too, if you like a little fuller flavor. Añejos I like to save for sipping.
The Marie Brizzard is a recent modification: it's expensive by Triple Sec standards, but I actually prefer it to the even more-expensive Cointreau, my former standby. Last summer I went from 4 parts lime to 3 lime and 1 OJ, a trick I stole watching excellent Margaritas made at a neighborhood bar (Boston's Tremont 647). Fresh squeezed juices are indispensable; if I don't have the fruit on hand, I make something else.
Shake over a lot of ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a twist of lime (not a lime wheel or wedge), plus a twist of orange if you want to be extra-fancy. If you rim the glass first with salt, be sure to moisten only the outer rim of the glass and sprinkle coarse salt on; salt inside the rim is a no-no.
My vintage Rival Juice-o-Mat is a huge asset when I'm making bunches of these: much more efficient than electric citrus juicers.
An almost-related tip: if your local bar has a lousy Margarita mix, or the bartender always clobbers the tequila with cordial and juice, ask for a Tequila Gimlet (tequila and a little Rose's Lime Cordial) straight up. That's a better drink than mix-heavy or bad-mix Margarita.
I can't believe no one's mentioned 100% agave nectar. It's a great margarita sweetener. It has a fresh, very slightly grassy flavor and is less cloying than sugar. When I've snuck it into margaritas, my friends have said things like "Dang, this is a great margarita!" but no one's been able to identify why. It can be found at Whole Foods.
Nellie and Joe's can be found at Bevmo.
My recipe, for 3/4 pitcher
one tray of ice
juice of 6 large limes (2/3 cup?)
agave nectar and 100% agave blanco tequila to taste
Easy, not many ingredients, no need to make sour mix, but I add a little Grand Marnier if I'm feeling fancy.
Favorite bargain white tequila: Pura Sangre on sale for $16
Favorite $$$ white tequila: Lapis, in the triangular glass bottle. Can't even remember what the price is, I've selectively blocked that wallet drain.
I haven't seen the "classic" margarita recipe posted. The recipe I generally begin with (and stray from, depending on tartness of limes) is:
silver tequila:cointreau:lime juice
This is easy to remember, and also falls into the "classic ratio" for cocktails Gary Regan preaches: 3 parts base spirit / 2 parts flavoring agent (usually a liquer that also imparts sweetness) / 1 part citrus juice
Also -- it's incredibly important to shake these cocktails hard for a good 15 seconds, with a lot of ice, and serve in a chilled glass -- straight, or on rocks using *different* ice.
"I haven't seen the "classic" margarita recipe posted"
Your recipe has the same ingredients as the so-called "classic" recipe I mentioned above. Or did you mean that you hadn't seen the 3-1-1 or 2-1-1 ratios before? As I wrote, you can vary these proportions to suite your own personal taste. It isn't the ratio that makes it "Classic" in my view, it's the three key ingredients. You'll find as many different ratios out there as drinkers!
It was actually the ratio I was referring to. The 3:2:1 ratio is something Gary Regan and other cocktail geeks have spent quite a bit of time discussing -- Gary makes many of his cocktails using this basic ratio... eg. sidecars, margaritas, even cosmopolitans (with an extra splash of cranberry for color).
I highly recommend Esquire's recipe. They've done their research, and this is a good version. However, as long as you use good tequila, good triple sec, and real limes you can find the proportions that taste best to you. I actually prefer a little more triple sec and a little less alcohol.
But please, only real limes, fresh squeezed. It's just a waste of good tequila to use anything else.
"Shake well with cracked ice:
2 oz high-quality silver tequila (100% agave)
1 oz Cointreau or triple sec
1 oz lime juice (more or less the juice of 1 lime)
"Strain into chilled cocktail glass that has had its rim rubbed with lime juice and dipped in
"Note on the tequila: It should be 100% agave, the plant from which the stuff is
traditionally made. Save the great golden añejos for sipping.
"Note on the Cointreau: It yields results clearly superior to triple sec, most brands of which are marred by an unpleasant chemical aftertaste"
re: Joseph E
This seems to be the same recipe as several other posters have recommended. I hope you read those also. I disagree about the edict to use only real limes, fresh squeezed. There are some very good pre-squeezed bottles out there. I like Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice (link below). It is made from real Key limes, from the Florida Keys. It has an incredibly cool taste that's different from the standard limes found in US grocery stores (and in my opinion closer to the taste of the small limes actually used in Mexico). Give it a try.
Well, I've never tried Nellie and Joe's juice. Is it sold retail? If it is real juice and not from concentrate it might be worth a try.
But I don't know; we get small mexican limes for $1 per 2 lbs here in San Diego. If you are going to use 100% agave, you might as well squeeze the limes.
I'll have to try some key limes. I've used key limes for a pisco sour before (my cousing wanted me to try and match the ones she had in Peru), but haven't ever tried it in a Margarita. Personally, I think I'd have to use a smaller amount of lime juice - even Persian limes can be a bit too acidic for my taste, and I'll cut the flavor a bit with lemon juice.
re: Joseph E
This sounded so appealing that I just tried it in my quest to make a delicious margarita at home without premade sour mix - I used Cuervo 1800 Silver in one and Sauza Hornitos resposado in the other, both had Luxardo Triplum and freshly-squeezed lime juice.
So much for Esquire - I didn't like either - the addition of .5-.75 oz agave simple helped a little, but I think the Triplum just doesn't taste good in spite of being kind of high end. The Hornitos version was slightly preferable. I also tend to think there probably is the need for a bit of OJ.
Before I resort to more commercial sour mix, I am going to have a chat with my favorite bartenders about their recipe, but I have to keep searching....it doesn't seem it should be so hard for something so simple....
I think that this drink, more than any other that I can think of, can be made to suit the taste of a broad spectrum of people. Because of this, a "good" recipe is hard to define unless you also define what you want in a drink.
I'm looking for a bracing, slow-sipping, sour, dust/funky drink. The tequila should shine through without too much disguise. The orange should be complex and subtle. The lime should be fresh, vibrant, and invigorating. I should want to drink it in tiny sips, enjoying and lingering over it.
I have friends who actually prefer Jose Cuervo mix. They are looking for something sweet, mild, with the tequila taste hidden deep within the fruity mixed-citrus flavor.
I don't think you need to add OJ, unless of course you really like it that way. I started off with the proportions very similar to the Esquire recipe. But I've modified it a bit. I've also added just a bit of simple syrup. I also blend (when available) silver and reposado. Or, use Grand Marnier instead of your high quality triple sec (Cointreau, Triplum, Marie Brizzard are the only three I know of).
Whatever you do: Don't move to the dark side! (sour mix)
My favorite Margarita recipe is very non-authentic, but it helped me learn to like tequila. I use a half-and-half mixture of lemonade and limeade (actually, the frozen concentrate with a splash of water), because I'm too lazy to make my own sweet & sour mix.
1-1/2 oz good tequila (I use Sauza Hornitos reposado)
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Grand Marnier (French liqueur in a margarita?!?!?!)
1-1/2 oz good sweet & sour mix
Juice of 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
Shake with lots and lots of ice, then serve over ice.
Triple Sec and Grand Marnier taste very different to me.
Triple Sec - at least the brand I use - has a very simple orange/citrus flavor. Grand Marnier is brandy-based, with a deeper, more complex flavor that includes the taste and aroma of bitter oranges.
I've tried my Margarita with just Grand Marnier, and there's too much brandy and not enough orange. But I do like that flavor, so I use more than just a "float".
Of course they taste different! That's what I mean when I say Grand Marneir and Cointreau are premium brands of triple sec. Saying "Triple Sec" is like saying "cola" or "televisions". Just as there are different brands of cola and televisions, there are different brands of triple sec, and they have different tastes to them. See the web sites below.
Grand Marnier is NOT simply a premium triple sec. It incorporates brandy.
You may be thinking of Cointreau. (And the difference between Cointreau and basic triple sec is huge.)
I'm generally a traditionalist, but I do throw in some lemon juice in addtion to the lime juice in my margarita.
Hum...I don't think that saying Grand Marnier is a premium brand of triple sec implies that it doesn't incorporate brandy. Yes, it can be BOTH, a premium brand and incorporate brandy. In fact, one might say the reason it is a premium brand is because it incorporates brandy. The logic may be difficult to follow. :) Check out the links I provided above and you will learn more about this than you ever wanted to know, and then we can get back to talking about Chow.
:P What I meant was, I would not call Grand Marnier a triple sec at all, because of how it is made.
Cointreau, however, I do consider a "triple sec", although much superior to the stuff in the well a bartender usually reaches for.
I'm not dissing Grand Marnier; I've had good margaritas and other good drinks with it.
You'll see a lot of different recipes, and specificially proportions of tequila, lime juice, and cointreau/triple sec. These are the three ingredients in a "classic" margarita. One lesson to take home from the varying proportions is that it pays to experiment a little bit to see what taste suites you best. And that includes experiementing to see if you prefer sour mix or straight lime juice (the former apparently being sweeter).
Report back on what you like.
This is an interesting discussion because so many restaurants/bars make terrible margaritas (low quality tequila + super sweet mix). It's nice to see so many people prefer the real thing!
This is close to my recipe -- I use 2 parts tequila instead of 3. For the lime juice, I like Nelli's Key Lime Juice.
I can't stand margarita mixes and most sour mixes. Skip them. As Culinary Kate wrote, use good tequila. That means using 100% Agave tequila (not Cuervo Gold!). Silver or Reposado tequilas are good choices, no need to use aged (Anejo) tequila. 30-30 is a good, inexpensive brand. Herradura is excellent.
The ingredients aren't cheap, but the drink is worth it.
I like to drink it out of a martini glass.
1 part orange liqueur (Grand Marnier, orange curaçao, or, for a weird effect, blue curaçao)
2 parts quality tequila
6 parts sour mix (made with limes, recipes abound)
Mix or shake the liqueur, tequila and sour mix together with ice. Serve on the rocks in glasses rimmed with salt.