There’s just nothing like an ice-cold margarita. Confession: when I was pregnant with my first child one of the only things I craved was tequila (I know…the shame)—towards the end of my pregnancy, I wanted a margarita so bad I could actually taste it. The thing is, those sugary, food-dye-laden, pre-mixed varieties they sell at most restaurants aren’t my favorite. I prefer a margarita made with fresh fruit juices, so eventually, I taught myself how to make margaritas and made some adjustments to suit my own taste, and OMG, I’ve come up with the best at-home margarita recipe ever.
The margarita is actually a super-simple cocktail that falls into the “sour” family, which means it’s simply a combination of alcohol, citrus juice and sugar (simple syrup), shaken and served over ice. Of course, traditional margaritas are made with lime juice, triple sec (which is orange liqueur and serves as the syrup in the recipe), and tequila. So delish! My version though is a bit simpler and actually quite a bit lighter, and that means you can whip one up in a flash, and might even already have all the ingredients on hand. So whether it’s Taco Tuesday, Cinco de Mayo or you’re just in the mood for a marg, this recipe should be your go-to.
Of course, the first thing you want to do is gather your margarita ingredients. You’ll need:
-2 1/2 oz. of your favorite tequila
-Juice of one lime (or combination of citrus fruits)
-1/2 oz. simple syrup and/or orange liqueur
-splash of sparkling water or club soda (plain or any citrus flavor)
-Kosher salt (optional)
Although you can make a margarita with just a glass and a spoon, they’re better shaken, so we recommend using a cocktail shaker or mason jar with a lid. You’ll also need a shot glass to measure the ingredients, though if you’re comfortable with it, feel free to eyeball it. A handheld citrus juicer is also helpful, though not strictly necessary.
To make the margarita, fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in all the ingredients. shake vigorously. If you like salt on your margarita, use a lime wedge to wet the rim of your glass, then dip it in kosher salt all the way around. Fill the glass with ice and pour in the margarita mixture, top with a hefty splash of sparkling water or club soda for a bit of fizz.
Tips & Notes
This recipe is super-customizable, so have some fun with it! If you want a pineapple margarita or watermelon margarita, just add about two ounces of fresh fruit puree or juice of your choice, but don’t leave out the lime juice. A margarita is just not a margarita without fresh lime juice!
The amount of simple syrup or orange liqueur can be adjusted up or down depending on your taste. Start small, taste, and add as needed. I know people who’ve tried this recipe with no sweetener at all and still loved it, and of course, that makes for a much lighter cocktail.
As is, this recipe is for one serving, but it’s very easy to scale up to serve two or more people, and can even be adapted into a pitcher cocktail. Just multiply the amounts by however many people you are serving.