margarita ingredients

The Original Margarita Recipe

Originally Posted On April 11, 2023 and Last Updated On

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This Simple Margarita Recipe is the Best!

This recipe is for the classic original Margarita that’s fresh and simple, not the sugary frozen kind you see at Tiki bars an restaurant chains everywhere nowadays in a machine.

The original drink is simple and consisted of only three ingredients; a great tasting tequila, Cointreau and freshly squeezed lime juice. That’s it.

This qualifies a margarita as a proper “Sour” cocktail, consisting of a Spirit, a Cordial, and a Juice. And of course served with a salted rim and a garnished with a lime wedge.

Therefore, properly made margaritas should NEVER see the inside of a margarita blender! So those concoctions you drink at chain restaurants are not at all what the drink was originally created to be.

The Best Margarita Recipe

margarita salt rim

Margarita Recipe

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

This classic margarita recipe includes fresh ingredients to create the perfect margarita. This is nothing like store bought margaritas!


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


  • Rocks Glass
  • Cocktail shaker or stirrer


  1. Add some ice to a rocks glass and gather all of the ingredients and tools you'll need in this list.
  2. After the glass is chilled, empty the ice into a cocktail shaker.
  3. Take your rocks glass and using a lime wedge, rub the wedge around the rim of the glass.
  4. If you have a salt rimmer use that. If not, use a cloth place it on the table or bar top. Sprinkle some sea salt onto the cloth and then set the glass upside down on the cloth so the rim can pick up some of the salt.
  5. Add your tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice to the shaker with ice.
  6. Shake for a few seconds.
  7. Pour the contents, including ice, into the rocks glass.
  8. Garnish with the lime wedge you used to rim your glass. (optional)
  9. Drink and enjoy!

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Nutrition Information
Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 110

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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.

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.

margarita ingredients

Margarita Ingredients

To make a perfect margarita on the rocks from scratch, you need the proper ingredients. A margarita is prepared by using tequila, fresh squeezed 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 a high quality tequila brand like Fortaleza Blanco or Tequila Ocho Plata that each goes for around $50 a bottle. Yes, they’re a little expensive, but totally worth it.

If that’s too expensive, the very best “economical” tequila in my opinion is Espolòn Blanco Tequila that goes for less than $25 a bottle. This is the cheapest I’d personally go for a quality tequila.

Orange Liqueur

For orange liqueur, buy a bottle of Cointreau, it’s around $30 a bottle and it’s by far the best orange liqueur you can get for making margaritas. If that’s not possible then try DeKuyper Triple Sec. At $20 for a 1.75 LTR bottle, it’s inexpensive, but it’s also not quite as good as Cointreau.

Lime Juice

For lime juice, always go fresh squeezed whenever possible! If you absolutely can not get fresh limes, then buy a 25-ounce bottle of Roses for under $4. Roses lime juice is what I always had on hand in my bars. It’s also what was always around when I was tending bar as well. So it’s what the “professionals” use, so use it too.

Margarita Questions & Answers


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.

The original recipe is stirred or briefly shaken and not blended or in any other way mixed. Traditionally it is served in a rocks glass with the quintessential salted rim and a lime wedge. Although I think a lime wheel looks a lot better.

Calories in Margarita on the Rocks?

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

How Many Carbs in a Margarita on the Rocks?

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. These 4 carbohydrates are all from trans or saturated fats found in the triple sec.

When is National Margarita Day?

National Margarita Day is February 22nd each year. And for margarita drinkers everywhere, it’s a day to really celebrate this iconic drink in all forms, but the original recipe is still the best.

One thing about Margarita Day is we definitely do know how the day was started. Todd McCalla, the creator of this day, started it to “celebrate Margaritas, plain and simple”.

He simply created the website and set Feb. 22 as the date of the party around 10 years ago on a whim.

How to Order a Margarita?

The way to order a margarita is to differentiate if you want a one on the rocks, frozen or a flavored margarita. So to get the margarita in this recipe, you’d ask for a “top shelf margarita on the rocks.” That means they’re using only the highest quality ingredients.

For a frozen one, just say you want a “frozen margarita”. The same with a flavor like strawberry, etc. Then be sure to specify if you do not want the rim salted, as it’s standard practice to salt the rim if you don’t explicitly say you don’t want the bartender to do so.

And for those of you under 21, you can always buy margarita mix if you’re under 21 and add your own mixers like 7up so you can enjoy one of these drinks legally, well, almost!

How to Make Top Shelf Margarita?

To make a Top Shelf Margarita you need to use “top shelf” ingredients like the ones I listed above. Using a quality tequila like Fortaleza Blanco or Tequila Ocho Plata is a solid start. Then use Cointreau for the orange liqueur, this is important if you really want a top shelf product! Then of course fresh squeezed lime juice. And the best sea salt for a rimmer you can get. That’s an amazing drink experience.

How to Mix a Margarita on the Rocks?

You should mix a margarita on the rocks by stirring the ingredients in the glass with ice after everything has been added. Or you can lightly shake the drink ingredients in a cocktail shaker. But don’t shake too much or you’ll water down the drink. It’s kind of the same dilemma of a martini shaken or stirred.

How Much Simple Syrup in a Margarita?

If you absolutely need to use simple syrup in a margarita, 1 ounce of Simple Syrup is enough. This takes the place of the orange liqueur in only the cheapest drinks.

How Many Limes per Margarita?

You need one lime for each ounce of lime juice, approximately. Since one lime makes around two teaspoons of juice, and two tablespoons of juice equals and ounce, you’ll need two limes for this recipe. One for the ounce of lime juice, and the other for the garnish.

What Is Cointreau in a Margarita?

Cointreau is an orange liqueur and is often used in top shelf margaritas. For cheaper margaritas triple sec is used instead of Cointreau due to the price differences. But Cointreau is definitely a better choice for a great tasting margarita.

What Is a Dirty Margarita?

Any time you hear bar speak like “dirty”, it means there are extra ingredients in the cocktail that aren’t normally there. For the margarita it can be anything from olive juice, like a dirty martini, to Tabasco sauce or bitters. But personally I find a dirty margarita is just plain dirty! Although I do enjoy a spicy margarita!

How Long Do Margaritas Last in the Fridge?

Freshly made margaritas can last up to 2 – 3 days in the refrigerator. It’s best to cover them as tightly as possible, or place them in a glass container with a lid so your drink doesn’t absorb any of the other odors you have lingering in your fridge.

And yes, margarita mix can go bad if not refrigerated!

About the Author

  • Bill Allen

    I'm Bill Allen, the guy behind this site. I've been a bartender, bar owner and sitting on both sides of a bar for almost 35 years, so I have some experience in the whole mixology scene. And now I'm just building out my site with as much helpful content as I can share with you. Allen Bill

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