The Margarita is a perfect, festive balance of sweet and sour—the authentic preparation of which remains a subject of spirited debate among bartenders and connoisseurs (pun definitely intended).
History of the Margarita
Carlos “Danny” Herrera, owner of restaurant Rancho La Gloria in 1938, makes the most popular claim to inventing the Margarita. Herrera reportedly created the cocktail for Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who claimed she was allergic to every other liquor but tequila. To make the spirit more palatable for King (who apparently wasn’t a “shot” kind of girl), Herrera combined the traditional components of a tequila shot (tequila, salt, and lime) with sweet orange liqueur, and the Margarita was born.
Presumably, shortly afterward people immediately argued over how to make one correctly.
Margarita Tasting Notes
The Margarita is a fresh and bright harmony of flavors. A touch of salt accentuates the juicy, citrusy sweetness and smooth, earthy tequila.
2 ounces tequila: We love crisp Don Julio Blanco for our margaritas!
1 ounce lime juice: We love fresh citrus! Pro tip: when choosing lemons or limes, heavier fruits with thinner skins that give a little when squeezed will yield more juice.
½ ounce orange liqueur: We use Cointreau, a high-quality triple sec.
½ ounce agave: a sweet syrup or nectar available at most grocery stores.
Lime wheel: As a garnish.
How to Make a Margarita
Fill a mixing glass with ice
Pour 2 oz Tequila
Pour 1 oz Lime juice
Pour ½ oz Orange liqueur
Pour ½ Agave
Shake for 10 to 15 seconds
Strain into a salt-rimmed margarita glass filled with ice (kosher salt works best!)
Garnish with the lime wheel
Like all classic party cocktails, the Margarita inspires countless creative variations.
Frozen Margaritas involve blending the main ingredients with ice until a slushy consistency.
Fruit juices and purees provide an endless number of fresh variations, such as strawberry, orange, raspberry, mango, watermelon, or peach.
For the salt rim, consider using salts flavored with lime, pepper, or even chili peppers. If you’re feeling really ambitious, try making your own!
Rim the glass with sugar instead of salt for additional sweetness.
Replacing tequila with mezcal adds a rich, slightly smoky flavor.
No need to panic if some ingredients are unavailable. Tasty Margaritas are still within reach!
Though we prefer Cointreau, other orange liqueurs such as orange curaçao, Gran Gala, or Grand Marnier. Using blue curaçao (a blue-colored orange curaçao) adds a striking electric blue color.
Kosher salt is best, but any coarse or flaky salt works well, such as sea salt, or even pink Himalayan salt a pop of pink color. Or if salt isn’t your thing, feel free to omit the salt entirely.
If squeezing limes is impractical for your purposes, consider using high-quality mixes from Cocktail Artist. If doing so, think about reducing or omitting the agave syrup, as they include all-natural pure cane sugar.
When to Serve Margaritas
The Margarita is great for fun, festive events, especially if you don’t want the party to hit the gas with straight shots of tequila.
Cinco de Mayo:The date of Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla,Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration of Mexican heritage.
Warm weather/outdoor activities: Whether golfing, boating, grilling, or just sitting on the porch.
Hosting parties: The Margarita brings the fun, relaxing spirit of being on vacation to any event. Save time by making a large batch beforehand, shaking with ice before.
What to Serve with Margaritas
The Margarita balances sweet, salty, and sour, perfectly complementing a wide variety of foods.
Margaritas go hand in hand with Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes.
Medium bodied seafoods like shrimp, calamari, and grilled fish.