Best Margarita Recipe Yet

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I tried 74 different Margarita recipes, and most of them were overwhelmed with the combined harshness of lime juice and tequila, or the sickly sweetness of triple sec. The secret I discovered was that a mere teaspoon of lemon juice brightens up the tequila and lime, and balances the sweetness of the orange liqueur.

  • 1½ ounces of 100% blue agave silver or blanco tequila
  • ¼ ounce Cointreau or other triple sec
  • ½ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 measuring teaspoon or barspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce agave nectar (undiluted)

— Hold a tumbler glass upside down, and rub a cut lime on one half of the rim.  Dip, but don’t twist, the outside of the wet rim into a dish of Morton Sea Salt (the kind without iodine).  Pour tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice into a mixing glass with ice.  Shake 36 times and strain onto ice cubes in the salted glass.

Lunazul Blanco Tequila is an inexpensive tequila that is excellent for Margaritas.

Recommended tequilas are Milagro, Herradura, Avion, Siembra Azul, Dos Lunas, Tapatio, Patron, and Corazon.  A few reposado (gold) tequilas mix well in margaritas, such as Dos Lunas and Izkali. Expensive tequilas like El Tesoro or Pura Vida are better left for sipping.

The Cointreau can be replaced with DeKuyper O3 Premium Orange Liqueur, Marie Brizard Triple Sec, or Combier, but they’re harder to find. Grand Marnier is made with cognac, so it adds that taste, as does Ferrand Dry Curacao.

Frozen Margaritas

Premium shaken margaritas are great for tiny gatherings, but if you have lots of people, they take too much time to prepare. Replace them with these tasty Cheap Margaritas.  Guests will be pleased, and so will you.  If you want strawberry frozen margaritas, just add two fresh or frozen strawberries per drink before blending it.

Best Cheap Margaritas for a Party

margariter

This Margarita has been improved on April 14, 2020

It was never easy to make good cheap Margaritas, because the ingredients weren’t very good–cheap tequila was harsh, lime juice is always harsh, and orange triple sec isn’t something you would drink on its own.

Nowadays there is excellent and cheap 100% blue agave blanco tequila available, and we have a secret ingredient to brighten the taste of lime juice.  A touch of lemon juice makes all the difference.

No need to use expensive tequila.  Cointreau is also expensive, but any triple sec will do.  You can make these Margaritas a little better with premium tequila, but that’s up to you.

Margarita

  • 1½ ounces Lunazul 100% Agave Blanco Tequila or other 100% agave blanco tequila
  • ¼ ounce DeKuyper O3 Orange Liqueur or other triple sec
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 measuring teaspoon (or 1 barspoon) fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce blue agave nectar (do not dilute with water)
  • 1 cup of ice

— Add the tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, lemon juice, and agave nectar to a shaker with ice.  Shake until chilled, and serve in a glass with ½ of the rim salted. Garnish with a lime wheel on the rim of the glass.

This drink can be made without the lemon juice, replacing it with 1 measuring spoon of lime juice in addition to the ½ ounce lime juice, and it will still be good.

For pitchers of frozen margaritas, pour 12 ounces of tequila, 2 ounces of triple sec, 4 ounces fresh lime juice, 1 ounce plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice , and 2 ounces of agave nectar into a blender with 3 or 4 handfuls of ice, and blend on high speed.

Lunazul costs about $20 and deserves all of its prestigious awards.  Olmeca Altos is also a good bargain.  Agavales mixes very well and costs under $15. DeKuyper O3 Orange is half the price of Cointreau and works better than Cointreau with these Margaritas.

Other tequilas in the $20 range we’ve tested are Campo Azul Reposado (the gold one).  Espolon makes a smooth, sweeter margarita with a milder taste. Other highly-rated tequilas in this price range include El Padrino and Pueblo Viejo. Sauza Hornitos Reposado (gold) is popular in Mexico, and will give you an enjoyable burn.

If you want a Premium Margarita, use a more expensive blanco Tequila like Milagro.

For Strawberry Margaritas, add 2 fresh or frozen strawberries per drink, before mixing.

Cheap award-winning tequila makes cheap great margaritas
Cheap, award-winning tequila makes cheap great margaritas
Fancy margarita glasses or garnishes are not always necessary.
Fancy glasses or garnishes not required.

Best Tequila for Margaritas

2 tequilas

You can make expensive margaritas or cheap ones, and the taste shouldn’t be all that different, if you use the right ingredients.

1)  Premium Margaritas require Cointreau and medium-priced 100% blue agave blanco tequila. (click here for recipe)

2) Cheap “House” Margaritas are best made with strong-tasting low-priced 100% blue agave tequila, and triple sec. (click here for recipe)

Premium Margaritas

Highly recommended Margarita mixing tequilas are Siembra Azul (Blue Harvest) and Pura Vida, which by no coincidence are produced by the same company, Feliciano Vivianco Y Asociados.  You also can’t go wrong with Milagro, Avion, Dos Lunas, and Patrón. Other solid recommendations are Cazadores and Herradura.

Izkali makes a reposado tequila that is award-winning in margaritas.  And Sauza Hornitos Reposada gives a flavorful burn.  Sauza Hornitos is the choice of many many bartenders in Mexico.

If you have premium El Tesoro or Don Julio, by all means, sip it, but don’t expect it to make a significantly better cocktail.  Tapatio, a lower-priced blanco by the producer of El Tesoro (in a wonderfully cheap-looking bottle) is a better value.

Better yet, go to Neal McDonald’s website Proof 66 and decide for yourself.

Cheap Margaritas

I have not found anything that comes close to Lunazul or Agavales.  A lot of Texas restaurants are now using one of these in their house margaritas, for good reason, and it’s ridiculously cheap.

El Jimador is a cheap favorite in Mexico,  and Espolon has a mild taste. Milagro on sale isn’t expensive, and gets universal raves. I did not like the Sauza Blue in the picture above, but I’ll highly recommend Sauza Hornitos Reposado. Pueblo Viejo is a superb value.

I realize there are some other excellent tequilas out there, but these choices are just the bottles that are widely available in liquor stores in the U.S.A.