Every budding cantina owner needs a good margarita recipe. Whether you’re the bartender in residence or a cocktail waitress wannabe, you need to be able to whip one of these up in a jiffy. And don’t worry, you can easily make them non-alcoholic, too!
You only need to remember one thing: it’s all about the proportions. Whether you’re shaking up one serving or mixing a pitcher for a crowd, if you get that right you’ll be a success.
This recipe lends itself well to adaptations. To make virgin margaritas, just leave out the tequila and double the rest of the ingredients. You can also add almost any fruit you can think of. I experimented with a pomegranate variation you’ll find below.
If you like it tart you can leave out the sugar syrup. You can find it at some liquor stores or even in the bar section of many grocery stores. It might be called “rock candy syrup.” I make my own and keep it in a bottle in the refrigerator. If you’d like to try that, just bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in 2 cups of sugar, and let cool. It will be thick.
Use a good tequila here, preferably a reposado. They’re reasonably priced. You can splurge for an añejo if you like. These designations just refer to the time spent aging. Please skip the cheaper brands notorious for making you sick later. These ingredients will complement a nice tequila, not mask the taste of alcohol.
Cointreau makes the best margarita, in my opinion, but Grand Marnier is a very close second. Failing that, you can use triple sec. According to Barnivore, Cointreau and Grand Marnier are both vegan, and my favorite tequila, Patrón, is as well.
If you’re working with those fantastic oversized margarita glasses that you find at places like Crate and Barrel then double the recipe for each one. Serve these with chips, salsa, and guacamole and let the party begin!
Makes 1 serving
3 oz tequila
1 1/2 oz Cointreau
2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 oz simple syrup
Chill the glass in the freezer while you mix. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add all the ingredients and shake about 30 seconds.
Remove the glass from the freezer. If you want salt, rub the rim with one of the squeezed lime halves and dip in coarse sea salt. Fill with ice.
Shake the cocktail again and strain into the glass.
Pomegranate margarita variation: Add 1/3 cup pomegranate juice to the shaker.