An alternative title to this post should be, “The best damn margarita you’ve ever had in your life.” Because what I’m about to share with you is the simplest, easiest, fool proofiest margarita recipe you’ve ever encountered. Herewith, my tips for how to make a margarita! A really damn good one.
To preface this tequila spiked conversation, I need to disclose that until five or six years ago I pretty much thought margaritas were vile.
Once upon a time I was mislead into drinking those unnaturally neon green frozen concoctions that some people love but that I really can’t stomach. I find them to be overly sweet, overly sour and just not ok in any way. (But if you like them, by all means, keep slurping away!)
Then, my mother made me a “real” margarita and, well, the rest is history. So with Cinco de Mayo knocking on the door, gather up an armful of limes and let’s hop to it, shall we?
Much like last week when we toasted over St. Germain gin and tonics, I’m going to preach about ingredients here. Get the best tequila you can and skip the cheap triple sec in favor of Cointreau, which is my favorite orange liqueur.
For tequila I prefer Patron, but I’m not a tequila expert here (in fact I won’t touch the stuff if it’s not in a margarita), I’m just a pretty fanatical about my margaritas. And I can you tell (cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye), that good quality tequila makes all the difference.
Oh! And the Cointreau. (Or Grand Marnier or something similar vmvf if you prefer, just promise me you’ll say no to triple sec.)
There’s a lot of talk sometimes about certain cocktails and shaken versus stirred. I don’t pretend to be a professional mixologist, but I do think a margarita is one of those instances where you want to shake it with ice.
You want your drink to be frothy and super cold before you pour it over the rocks. Any kind of mixing is just not getting that done. When the shaker is basically too cold to hold, that’s when you’re ready to pour.
This is totally a matter of personal preference, but I’m not much for salt on the rim of my glass. If you do prefer salt, just run a lime wedge around the edge, roll it in salt and then add your ice to your glass before pouring your margarita mixture over top.
- 2 oz of fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 oz of Patron (or equivalent tequila)
- 3/4 oz of Cointreau
- 1/4 oz of agave or simple syrup (more or less to taste)
- Combine lime juice, Patron, Cointreau and agave syrup (or simple syrup) in a chilled cocktail shaker with ice.
- Adjust the agave/simple syrup to your taste. My suggestion is to start with less and build up the sweetness until you find your own personal sweet spot. Personally I prefer my margaritas crisp and tart so I don't use much syrup at all
- If you like salt with your margarita (I prefer to skip it), wet the rim of your glass with lime juice and then coat it by flipping the glass upside down on a plate holding the salt of your choice.
- Shake well and vigorously, then pour over ice.
- Bottoms up!
[Styling + recipe by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion. | Photos by Alice G. Patterson.]