How To Make a Killer Margarita

This recipe is comin’ atcha just in time for the 4th of July and what I hope is a long summer of parties that involve margaritas!

Anel is a man who, when he sets his mind to something, always makes it happen. That might be in business, as a father, or in any area of life… Including his cocktail skills apparently!

He has been saying for months that by the summer he wants to make a killer margarita that we can serve for guests and on the nights we BBQ on the weekends.

Well the man didn’t disappoint! He’s been tweaking his recipe and last weekend, in my opinion, he finally nailed it.

Margaritas are all about proportions. The ingredients are simple: Tequila, Triple Cec or Conitreau, lime juice, and agave. But it’s about how much you mix of each ingredient that takes a margarita from ok to great. Let’s talk about each ingreient…

A lot of people say to use the 3-2-1 ratio (three parts tequila, two parts Triple Sec/Cointreau, one part lime juice) but I personally think that’s too strong and also just not good… Maybe I’m crazy, but I like what I like!

We use a silver tequila for margaritas and save our nicer reposados for sipping over ice. My personal favorite is an organic brand called 123 Blanco Tequila, but you could really use whatever you have on hand.

Triple Sec/Cointreau:
There is an age-old debate about whether to use Triple Sec or Cointreau, two different orange liqueurs, in margaritas. We prefer Cointreau because it’s not as sweet, and has a slight bitter edge that I love. Our favorite local Mexican restaurant juices oranges and lemons instead of using either of these options. It’s delish, but who has time for that?!

Lime Juice:
When we buy lime juice pre-juiced, it doesn’t end up tasting the same for some reason. I realize that’s probably psychosomatic, but squeezing fresh limes taste fresher and brighter to me.

Whenever we’ve tried to make our favorite cocktail without agave, it is either way too sour or way too strong so, in my opinion, at least a little of this liquid sweetener is necessary for the perfect balance.

Salt Rim: When people order their margs with no salt I’m always baffled. To me the salt makes the drink! To salt the rim, take a lime wedge and run it along the edge of the glass and then dip the glass into a plate of salt. Anel takes his a step further by mixing salt with smoked black pepper. I prefer salt alone but the smokey salt is kind of his thing.

Ice Cube: We recently bought these giant silicone ice cube trays and they really do make a big difference for drinks that you don’t want to get watered down. Plus they look so cool!

Anel’s Killer Margarita:
Warning, it’s strong!

– 2 oz silver tequila
– 2 oz Cointreau
– 1.5 oz lime juice
– 1 tspn agave nectar
– Salt for the rim (and smokey black pepper if you’re into that)

1. Shake all ingredients with ice (not the big cube!) in a shaker until cold.
2. Prepare glass with salt rim and giant ice cube.
3. Pour mixed drink over the ice.
4. Enjoy!
5. Don’t drink and drive!

What’s your secret for a classic margarita?

Photos by Julia Dags.

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  1. Laura said:

    Love this! Thanks for sharing – I am a huge fresh marg fan. I recently had an amazing marg in VT. Recipe was almost identical to yours but the bartender used a little real maple syrup in place of Agave and topped it off with a splash of soda water to give it a little pop. It was amazing!

    6.29.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Ok well that is genius. I’m going to try it next time and report back!

      6.29.18 · Reply
  2. Franny said:

    Yum! These look delicious! Where did you get your cocktail glasses? Love their simplicity!

    6.29.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      They’re from West Elm! I saw the glasses at a restaurant and had to ask someone where they were from because I loved them so much. They’re just juice glasses but I use them for everything.

      6.29.18 · Reply
  3. Debra said:

    Julia, just wondering…if you DID squeeze fresh real orange juice, how much would you (Anel) use in place of the Cointreau?

    6.29.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Hmmm not sure. I’d probably try a little more to start and then keep adding more to test it out! Let me know if you find the perfect ratio though.

      7.2.18 · Reply
  4. Allie said:

    Margheritas are my favorite summer cocktail – I can’t wait to try out this recipe, it sounds delicious! xAllie

    6.29.18 · Reply
  5. Liz said:

    Love that you added step 5! πŸ™‚

    6.29.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      You never know! Better safe than sorry πŸ™‚

      7.2.18 · Reply
  6. Ashley said:

    We recently purchased this Breville Citrus Press: and it is a game changer. It’s super easy to use and clean. We make fresh juice almost every day. Definitely takes your cocktails to the next level!

    6.29.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      You’re tempting me now!!!

      7.2.18 · Reply
  7. Katherine said:

    Honestly, I do not how people drink margs using the mix! They are 1000 times better with simple and real ingredients and it’s so easy! Can’t wait to try this

    6.30.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Totally agree. Mixes are gross!

      7.2.18 · Reply
  8. Winifred said:

    Drinking one right now, and it is delicious!! Thank you for sharing!

    7.1.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I hope you enjoyed it fully! xo

      7.2.18 · Reply
  9. Thank you for the recipe! I tried it and it was amazing.

    Jihyun Unni | Korean Lifestyle Blog

    7.1.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      So happy you loved it!

      7.2.18 · Reply
  10. Sara Vosler said:

    I use almost the exact same recipe only I use triple sec and Cointreau. Yummy!! Now I want a margarita.

    7.3.18 · Reply
  11. Aimee said:

    Had friends over for dinner last night and we made these margs. One of my friends “hates” margaritas but she had two of these! So good! Thanks, Julia! (And Anel!).

    8.2.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      This is the best comment EVER! Glad we made a convert out of your friend πŸ™‚

      8.2.18 · Reply