tequila margarita

How Much Alcohol Is in a Margarita? (Shots or ABV)

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How Much Alcohol Is in a Margarita Calculated Using ABV and Ounces!

You might have a few different reasons for wanting to know how much alcohol is in a margarita, maybe you don’t want to get pulled over or you just like to know what you’re consuming. But whatever the reason, just be sure you’re asking the right question first, because you might really want to know the ABV of the cocktail, not the amount of alcohol.

An original Margarita recipe contains 2 ounces of alcohol according to the IBAs margarita recipe, or 70 ml of alcohol. Those 2 ounces of alcohol are both 40% ABV. The third ingredient in the classic margarita is lime juice which has no alcohol in it whatsoever.

But if we are talking how much Alcohol by Volume is in a margarita, we have totally different calculations to do. And it can get a bit confusing for us non-math people, or maths for you Brits!

The Two Questions?

ABV = Alcohol By Volume which means as an entire volume, or the entire drink volume (the actual margarita that’s made and ready to drink from the glass sitting in front of you).

So asking how much alcohol is in a margarita can either be the amount of alcohol (the tequila and triple sec ingredients only), or more importantly perhaps, how much ABV is in a margarita, meaning how much alcohol is in the entire drink I am about to consume so I know how fast I will get drunk!

Two very different ways to look at the question!

Now I’ve already stated above that an original Margarita recipe contains 2 ounces of alcohol, so that is one question down and answered. Now let’s see how much alcohol there is as far as how many drinks I can have and not be too drunk, or how much I need to spend to get seriously tipsy!

Margarita ABV – How Much Alcohol by Volume Is in a Margarita?

Most tequilas are 40% ABV, especially the blanco tequilas most people use for an original margarita recipe. So assuming you are using a standard blanco tequila for this question, we can safely assume that there is 1.5 ounces or around 45 milliliters of tequila in your drink.

For the second ingredient we have a half ounce of Triple Sec, a strongly-flavored orange liqueur that is usually where the confusion comes from when we talk about how much alcohol is actually in a margarita.

The problem is all the big brands have different ABVs, ranging from 15% to sometimes around 30% ABV with most leaning to the lower 15%.

For example, Mr. Boston Triple Sec has one of the lowest ABVs coming in at only 15%. DeKuyper Triple Sec Liqueur has 24% ABV. Juarez Triple Sec out of Mexico has one of the highest for a ‘true’ Triple Sec at 30% ABV.

This makes it difficult to know exactly unless you watch your bartender pour from each bottle. So even though I’ll give you the most accurate answer I can, it still can be off depending on which Triple Sec brand you use.

And as a side note, if you’re using Cointreau or Grand Marnier, they are both 40 ABV, so the calculation is far easier!

So let’s figure all this out using a 40% blanco an a 15% Triple Sec to make things easy as many of the brands of Triple Sec you see in bars like Mr. Boston are 15% ABV.

And to make things clear, we will stick to the IBAs definition of a classic margarita recipe which is around

  • 1.5 ounces tequila
  • .75 ounces of Triple Sec
  • .5 ounce of lime juice

This also loosely follows the 3, 2, 1 rule for making great margaritas. 3 parts tequila, 2 parts triple sec and 1 part lime juice.

Altogether we have a drink that contains 2.75 ounces of liquid excluding the ice. So now we need to determine how much alcohol is in the 2.75 ounces to know the true ABV content of a margarita.


To calculate the ABV (alcohol by volume) of a margarita containing 1.5 ounces of tequila with 40% ABV, 0.75 ounces of Triple Sec with 15% ABV, and 0.5 ounces of lime juice with 0% ABV, we can use the formula:

ABV = (total alcohol content / total volume of drink) x 100

First, we need to calculate the total alcohol content. We can do this by multiplying the volume of each ingredient by its ABV and adding the results:

Total alcohol content = (1.5 oz x 0.4) + (0.75 oz x 0.15) + (0.5 oz x 0) = 0.6 + 0.1125 + 0 = 0.7125 oz

Next, we need to calculate the total volume of the drink. We can do this by adding the volumes of each ingredient:

Total volume of drink = 1.5 oz + 0.75 oz + 0.5 oz = 2.75 oz

Now we can plug these values into the formula to get the ABV:

ABV = (0.7125 oz / 2.75 oz) x 100 = 25.91%

Therefore, the ABV of the margarita is approximately 25.91%.

Margarita Alcohol Content Percent?

There is 25.91% alcohol content in a margarita assuming that the tequila is 40%ABV and the Triple Sec is 15% ABV. If either of these variable change, the answer to the question changes as well.

How Many Shots of Alcohol in a Margarita?

There are 2.25 shots of alcohol in a margarita if the shot glass is one ounce. If it is a ‘standard’ shot glass that equals 1.5 ounces, then there are 1.75 shots in your drink. It really depends on the size of the shot glass.

  • 1 ounce shot glass = 2.25 shots of alcohol
  • 1.5 ounce shot glass = 1.75 shots of alcohol
  • 2 ounce shot glass = 1.15 shots of alcohol

What Kind of Alcohol Is In a Margarita?

Typically, there are 2 kinds of alcohol in a margarita: Tequila and Triple Sec. But this can be expanded to switch out Triple Sec for Cointreau or Grand Marnier which are indeed ‘technically’ Triple Secs, they’re just usually better quality.

But it is always 2 kinds or types of alcohol. The only other liquid ingredient is lime juice which of course doesn’t contain any alcohol. And of course if you’re using a mix, margarita mix doesn’t contain alcohol either.

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