The Best Margarita Recipe? You Decide!


It really is the simple pleasures that make life enjoyable.  A warm summer afternoon, a comfortable chair to lounge in and an adult beverage.  Today it’s a margarita…

There are literally thousands of recipes for margaritas.  Most of them don’t technically even qualify as a margarita.  Variations with beer and soda (7-Up & Sprite) as part of the recipe are not margaritas.  Yes, they are still mixed drinks, but we ask that you don’t offend the civilized world by suggesting your margarita mixed with those ingredients is still a margarita.

Those frozen things whipped up in a blender are also not margaritas!  Period!

And, for the record, Cointreau, Controy, Patron Citronage and Triple Sec are not the same.  You may choose to substitute Controy, Patron Citronage or Triple Sec for Cointreau, but only the latter is a brandy based liqueur.  Despite what people who claim to know may tell you, Cointreau and Triple Sec are NOT exactly interchangeable.  Try them both and see the difference for yourself!

A basic margarita consists of four ingredients.  Tequila, lime juice (fresh squeezed – Rose’s Lime Juice is NOT a substitute) and the aforementioned orange liqueur.  The recipe is actually very easy to remember as a simple ratio depending on your personal preference – more on that later.  But, that’s only three ingredients, what’s the fourth?  Salt of course!

Interestingly there is no real difference between good margarita’s and ‘killer’ margarita’s (if your definition of killer means enough alcohol to kill the pain).  One of the most traditional recipes calls for a ratio of 2:1:1.  Two parts tequila, one part lime juice one part Triple Sec.  And the salt on the rim?  Wipe a lime around the outside of the rim ONLY and then hold the glass upside down and shake the salt on the rim while rotating the glass.  Great in concept, but cheap table salt???  REALLY???  NO!!!  (more on that in a bit)

The above ratio is great if you plan on only drinking one or two, and sipping it like a martini.  But if you are planning on serving those for a party, things are going to get a bit crazy…quickly!  So, we recommend a more refined approach.  The recommend ratio?

Yes, we know, that’s 4 ingredients not three.  So what’s the deal?  Lime juice, tequila, Triple Sec & orange juice, in that order.  It remains true to the flavor profile, produces a very smooth margarita and still produces one that is half booze so drink gently!

The traditional recipe accentuates the tequila flavors while providing the tartness of the lime with just the hint of orange in the orange liqueur of choice and orange juice. (our preference is the Patron Citronage – great price point, and far superior to Triple Sec)  So which tequila do you choose?

There are immutable and unquenchable debates on that topic.  Start with a known winner and go from there.   You can opt for a blanco or a reposado, just make sure it’s 100% blue agave.  If those words are not somewhere on the label, then it’s likely only 60% agave and the rest are sugars or sweeteners of some sort.  (these are known as mixto’s)  It’s like everything else in life.  The fewer substitutes and volume expanders the better. (Sauza Blanco or Sauza Hornitos is a great place to start!)

Some believe that adding salt to the rim was an effort to mask the cheaper tequila being used.  We are convinced that adding the proper salt will actually enhance (like all things salted) the flavor profile of the drink.  Margarita’s are one of those drinks that you can modify depending on your personal preference, though keep these axioms in mind:

  • It’s not a margarita if you add any fruit other than lime & orange to the mix (strawberries, mango, even prickly pear = not a margarita!)
  • Selecting cheaper tequila’s (mixto’s) will produce an inferior margarita.

It’s the combination of sweet, salty and sour along with the floral and/ or oak-y blue agave notes that really make a traditional margarita.  Fresh squeezed lime juice will definitely add to the sourness.

Our approach (though not pictured above because it’s not convenient on the beach – and you’ll notice the typical margarita fish bowl is not necessary) is to rim the glass with a combination of sugar and salt.  Our blends are a combination of lime and/ or orange raw organic cane sugars in addition to the salt.  The gentle sweetness of the sugar helps offset some of the tartness that comes from a more traditional fresh squeezed lime juice margarita.

So what are you waiting for?

Gather up the tequila, limes or fresh squeezed lime juice, Cointreau or Patron Citronage or Controy, orange juice and one of our margarita rimmers.  Get a drink in your hand and your toes in the sand, or at least some place close enough to dip them into some cool water this summer!

Next up – Mojito’s!