If there’s one drink recipe that is hotly contested, it’s the margarita. Everyone has their own “way” to make one and insists that it’s the best. I’ve been making margaritas since I was a kid. No, not because I was drinking them, but I was helping my grandmother with her party hosting. My brother and I used to run around their dinner parties with white towels over our arms and take drink orders in little spiral-bound notebooks. And yes, because we thought it was fun. Over the years, my tastes have changed but I have always loved a good margarita. I bring you three of my perfect margarita recipes. You can decide which one is best.
Does the Perfect Margarita Exist?
There is a generally accepted “perfect margarita” recipe. It features tequila, lime juice, sweetener, and an orange liqueur. If you order a margarita in a restaurant, you are bound to get something close to that. However, with a drink that is as common in a Mexican restaurant as it is in any other bar, it gets switched up a lot. Many bars will serve it flavored with fruits, or spicy with jalapeño peppers, or even smokey with mezcal. I’m a fan of all margaritas that aren’t too sweet. Plus, once you master the basic perfect margarita, it’s easy to create plenty of custom versions.
The Perfect Margarita Recipe (Frozen)
Although I’m not a big frozen margarita fan, I had to try out my new blender. (You can check it out in my latest gift guide.) And I have to say, its smooth texture was a far cry from my former almost 20 year old blender. Getting the ice to ingredient ratio can be a little tricky, so feel free to tweak as needed. This perfect margarita recipe is the closest to a universally accepted recipe. All the fan favorites are present in this one including cointreau, which seems to be what the purists like. That hint of orange flavor is lovely. I like using El Tesoro Blanco for this recipe.
Perfect Frozen Margarita
- 2.5 oz tequila
- 1.5 oz lime juice
- 1 oz cointreau (or dry curaçao)
- 0.5 oz simple syrup
- 1 cup ice
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a glass and serve.
- (Optional) Skip adding the cointreau to the blender and pour over the frozen margarita when you're done blending. Yum!
2 Other Ways to Make a Perfect Margarita
My Granny’s Perfect Margarita Recipe
This was the first margarita recipe I ever learned. One of the best things about it is that you can easily keep the ingredients on hand and it’s fairly inexpensive. I started making it in my early 20s and hadn’t made it for years, until now. It was actually one of my go-to cocktails until I bottled a batch and took it out on a friend’s sailboat. Let’s just say the day ended with a broken boat trailer, gasoline spilled in a car (which led to a vehicle sale shortly afterwards), and a dead car battery from too much radio listening. The margarita recipe was blamed for all the chaos. Anyway, I digress. The important part is that this margarita is delicious but a little bit sneaky if you’re not careful. I would suggest using an affordable tequila for this, like Olmeca Altos Tequila Plata.
Granny’s Perfect Margarita
- 1 can frozen limeade
- 1 can/bottle lager (I suggest Rolling Rock or Heineken)
- 1 can water (using the frozen limeade can)
- 1 can tequila
- Add frozen limeade to a pitcher.
- Using the empty limeade can, fill it once with water and add to the pitcher and once with tequila and add to the pitcher.
- Add the can or bottle of beer to the pitcher and stir until limeade is melted.
- Serve over a generous amount of ice.
Tommy’s Margarita Recipe (My Favorite)
I saved the best for last. When I first tried a Tommy’s margarita at one of my favorite local cocktail bars, I was blown away. It’s so incredibly simple but delicious. (Also, if you want to know who Tommy is, here you go.) I’ve even been compelled to talk complete strangers out of buying that lime-green tequila mixer in grocery aisles with this recipe. While it is simple, the tequila choice really matters. With no artificial sweeteners or flavors to mask it, the tequila really shines. I highly recommend Tequila Ocho Plata or Fortaleza Blanco. And, unlike the other two perfect margaritas, I like this served up (with no ice). I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Cheers!
- 2 oz tequila
- 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
- 0.5 oz blue agave syrup
- Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
- Shake well for 20-30 seconds, strain and serve up in a chilled coupe glass.