The BEST Margarita Recipe EVER for The Perfect Drink!

Last Updated on February 12, 2021 by Bill Allen

My Margarita Recipe for a Perfect Drink Every Time!

An authentic Margarita recipe is made from three ingredients. Tequila, Cointreau (a Triple Sec), and fresh squeezed Lime Juice. This qualifies a margarita as a proper “Sour” cocktail, consisting of a Spirit, a Cordial, and a Juice. Therefore, properly made margaritas should NEVER see the inside of a blender or even the very best margarita machine. So those concoctions you drink at retail restaurants are not at all what the drink was meant to be. A Margarita should not be unsavory, it should be an indulgence which is why it makes our list of the top Upscale Drinks and after reading this article, you’ll understand why.

In our fast paced world where quick fixes, and marketing ploys by corporate conglomerates dictate our lives, the Margarita has suffered terribly. Whether its commercially made mix, or better yet it the use of inferior, or incorrect ingredients by the unknowing; the Margarita these days tastes more like a limeade experiment with a splash of orange juice then it does the delectable cocktail that it was meant to be.

The hardest part of mixing any cocktail is finding the right balance of taste, a skill that seasoned bartenders have perfected for in their craft. In order to ensure the integrity of the drink, the right balance of the flavors must be used, Essentially, you must measure the exact ratio of ingredients. It seems like recipe books contradict each other, and they just confuse you more.

A common mistake is that most recipe books indicate “equal parts” of the three ingredients should be used. The problem is that this does not make a well balanced drink when the ingredients.

For one thing, the ingredients are different in potency, composition, and taste. Any bartender, or mixologist as we like to say, will tell you that the best ratio for a Margarita based on these factors is 3:2:1.

The Perfect Margarita Ratio

Three parts Tequila, 2 parts Cointreau, and 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice. This is the secret on how to make the best margarita ever.


As in all cocktails, using true quality ingredients make an exceptional drink. Unfortunately, most bars utilize barmix or some margarita mix as a cheap substitute for lime juice. It doesn’t hurt to ask a bartender if they have fresh squeezed lime juice, and up sell for them is more tip from you (they might just do it). I’m sure in Margaritaville, they wouldn’t mind (they have an image to maintain).

Also, ask for a tequila like Patron. This is a highly suitable brand to mix a quality Margarita, be careful when choosing the type of tequila; there are many varieties. For example, a silver (or blanco) tequila that is not aged, and offers the best results in a Margarita – due to its crisp full flavor. A tequila with “gold” in its name simply means that it has been artificially flavored and colored to make it look and taste like and aged (or Anejo) tequila.

For the Triple Sec component of the drink, Cointreau is a sure bet. It is considered the highest quality in the Triple Sec family, and most potent (80 proof). Triple Sec is an orange flavored liqueur, other varieties are available, just make sure you compare it’s ingredients against Cointreau as reference. Another example of a quality orange liqueur is Grand Marnier.

And of course the juice should always be fresh squeezed.

Also, don’t forget to use salt on the rim of your margarita glass!

I’m going to teach you how to quickly and easily make a perfect margarita drink. Even if you’ve never made a margarita before, you’ll be able to prepare one flawlessly after reading this tutorial. Whether you plan to entertain a large group of friends or simply relax with your spouse on the back porch, your margaritas will be the perfect drink to pass the time.

The Best Margarita Recipe

classic margarita recipe

Margarita Recipe

This classic margarita recipe includes fresh ingredients to create the perfect margarita. This is nothing like store bought margaritas.
Prep Time 3 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1


  • Rocks Glass
  • Stirrer


  • 3 Parts Tequila
  • 2 Parts Cointreau
  • 1 Part Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Salt Optional
  • 1 Wedge Lime Garnish


Step 1: Preparing The Margarita Glass:

  • Take a lime and rub it along the outside rim of the glass. This will moisten the rim and provide a surface for the salt. Lay a small cloth on a table and liberally pour salt on the cloth. Turn the glass over and dip the outside rim of the glass into the salt.
    margarita salt rim

Step 2: Using The Right Margarita Ingredients

  • To make a perfect margarita, you need the proper ingredients. A margarita is prepared by using tequila, lime juice and an orange liqueur. You can add a few other ingredients like salt and a lime for garnish. But, frankly, using those things isn't necessary. The critical ingredients are tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur.Try to buy the highest-quality ingredients that you can afford. If you buy cheap ingredients, you'll definitely taste the difference in your drink. For tequila, buy Sauza Conmemorativo. A 1.75 LTR bottle will cost between $25 and $39, depending upon where you purchase it. Or Patron if that's unavailable. For orange liqueur, buy DeKuyper Triple Sec. At $20 for a 1.75 LTR bottle, it's inexpensive. For lime juice, buy a 25-ounce bottle of Roses for under $4. Finally, buy 4 fresh key limes, a lemon and a can of Sprite. You'll understand why in Step 2. Now that you have the proper margarita ingredients, you're ready for the next step.
    margarita ingredients

Step 3: Mix The Right Amounts Of Margarita Ingredients

  • Realize that everyone has their own way of making a margarita. But, I'm going to teach you a perfect margarita. I'm confident that my recipe will impress you because everyone I know says they've never tasted a better margarita than the ones I make. In part, that's because of the ingredients in Step 1 above. But, it's also because of how I use those ingredients.
    classic margarita recipe

Where Did The Margarita Originate From?

There are several stories about who invented the margarita and why. Although no one really knows the true origin of the margarita I am going to share with you perhaps the most commonly repeated tales of the creator of the margarita cocktail.

Barman “Willie” from Mexico City, 1934 in the employ of the Melguizo Family
Marguerite Hemery lived in the Rio Grande Valley since the 1930s and went to a restaurant in Matamoros called Las Dos Republicas. She was friends with the owner and, as the story goes, his bartender composed a special drink for her.

Danny Negrete, 1936
According to Salvador Negrete, the son of Daniel Negrete, the family story goes that Daniel opened a bar at the Garci Crispo hotel with his brother, David. The day before David’s marriage, Daniel presented the margarita as a wedding present to Margarita, his sister-in-law.
It was a combination of 1/3 triple sec, 1/3 tequila, and 1/3 squeezed Mexican lime juice. The drink was not blended and was served with hand crushed ice.

Enrique Bastate Gutierrez, early 1940s
Gutierrez, who lived in Tijuana, Mexico, boasted to have created the Margarita as homage to actress Rita Hayworth, whose real name was Margarita Cansino.
Other versions of the story claim the Margarita was indeed named after the actress, but in the 1930s, before she adopted her screen name. As a teenager, Margarita Cansino worked as a dancer at the Foreign Club, in Tijuana, where she supposedly inspired a bartender.

Francisco “Pancho” Morales, 4th of July, 1942
A bartender, Pancho Morales invented the margarita on July 4, 1942, at a Ciudad Juarez bar named Tommy’s Place. Supposedly, a woman requested a Magnolia (brandy, Cointreau, and an egg yolk topped with Champagne). Morales was a little fuzzy on the recipe, he improvised and his ersatz creation was a big hit

Santos Cruz, 1948
According to promotional flyer for the legendary Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas, head bartender Santos Cruz created the Margarita for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee in 1948.
The Balinese Room was opened in 1941 as was Texas’s finest nightclub with A/C, casino gambling, superb food and drinks, and stellar entertainment until the Texas Rangers finally shut it down in 1957

Margaret Sames, December 1948
Sames, who created the drink at her Acapulco bar, gave the reason of being “close with a lot of famous hotel and restaurant people” in introducing the margarita.
Sames used one part Cointreau, two parts tequila and one part lime juice of her margarita. Knowing that most people drank tequila preceded by a lick of salt, she chose to garnish her cocktail with a rim of coarse salt. Sames moved to El Paso, TX in 1958 where she was well known for her lavish parties. In 1982 she appeared on NBC’s Today show demonstrating the proper way to make margarita.


What Oh What Is A Margarita?

The Margarita is the most common of tequila based cocktails. There are three main ingredients in the margarita: Tequila, Triple Sec, and Lime Juice. The traditional recipe is three parts Tequila, two parts Triple Sec and one part lime juice, often served with salt on the rim of the glass.

This drink is usually served shaken with ice, on the rocks, or blended with ice (the frozen margarita). All three methods are frequently served with salt on the rim of the glass.

While the most common margaritas contain tequila, orange liqueur, lime or lemon juice, and sometimes an additional sweetener, such as simple syrup, many variations are becoming more and more common. Bottled lime juice (which contains sugar) is another method used to add sweetness.

Want to try something different? How about a margarita jello shot!

The Margarita An Official Cocktail

The Margarita is an IBA Official Cocktail which is one of several cocktails selected by the International Bartenders Association (IBA) for use in the annual World Cocktail Competition in bartending.

A cocktail is defined as a mixed drink typically made with a distilled beverage such as gin, vodka, whiskey, tequila, or rum that is mixed with other ingredients. Cocktails may vary in their ingredients from bartender to bartender, and from region to region. Two creations may have the same ingredients, but taste very different because of the difference in how the drinks are prepared.

Calories In Margaritas

1 standard 3 ounce Margarita has approximately 170 calories. Most homemade Margaritas are 6 ounces so the calories content would be approximately 340 calories per Margarita.

4 grams Carbs (all sugar carbs)
0 Fat ( no trans or saturated fat)
0 Cholesterol
0 Fiber

If you are dieting, you will need to walk 47 minutes to burn off the calories from each Margarita or cycle for 27 minutes.

I know that only 4 cabs appears to be too low, but tequila does not contain any carbs, so the carbs are from your mix.

Margarita Salt

Some people say that it’s the salt that can make or break a Margarita. Using plain table salt is a definite no-no and it will actually give your margarita a taste which is too salty.

Always choose a coarse grind salt such as kosher salt or salt
made specifically for margaritas. The coarseness also adds texture and creates a stunning looking rim.

Experiment with your margaritas by mixing and matching colored salt for unique “signature” Margaritas for each of your guests.

Do you find that you make a bit of a mess when your rimming your glasses. You can either purchase a Margarita rimmer set or purchase you salt in a tin, so that you can use the tin for mess proof salting.

To Rim or Not To Rim?

Whether or not to rim your margarita glasses is a personal choice. Some people do not believe that a drink is a true margarita unless they get the salty flavor from the rim. For some people however, the salt is too harsh.

A little trick if you do not like really salty flavors is to add a little sugar in with the salt.

It is important to realize that when we talk about salting the rims we are not talking about using table salt. It is very important that a natural salt is used. There are a number of flavored and colored salts on the market that are specifically designed for rimming glasses.

There are so many different flavors of margaritas on the market, that sometimes sugar should be substituted for the salt on some drinks. A chocolate margarita for example is really NOT suited to a salt rim!

The classic way to salt a Margarita is to rub a lime around the rim of the glass and then to dip the glass into a saucer/plate of salt.

Now however you can buy rimmers which are designed to make the job easier.