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How to Make a Margarita: Classic Margarita Cocktail Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Mar 31, 2020 • 1 min read

The Margarita, despite its ubiquita as a Cinco de Mayo standby, has firm roots as a classic cocktail: Margarita translates to “daisy,” a vintage name for a sour that uses a liqueur as a sweetener.



Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach MixologyLynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach Mixology

World-class bartenders Lynnette and Ryan (aka Mr Lyan) teach you how to make perfect cocktails at home for any mood or occasion.

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4 Essential Margarita Ingredients

Margaritas are extremely forgiving when it comes to adaptation; the grassy, herbaceous notes of agave spirits pair particularly well with herbs, citrus, and spicy peppers. Feel free to muddle in fresh ingredients or modifiers to your liking, keeping in mind that the fundamental key to a great sour is an interplay between sweet and sour that harmonizes with the base spirit. The essential ingredients for a perfect Margarita are:

  1. Lime: Skip the Margarita mix. Freshly squeezed lime juice is the key to making the best Margarita. Keep extra limes on hand for garnish.
  2. Tequila: Reposado tequila is a great choice for a classic Margarita, but tequila blanco (aka silver tequila), tequila anejo, and even smoky mezcal can all make a good Margarita.
  3. Orange liqueur: An orange-flavored triple-sec like Cointreau provides sweetness to balance the lime juice. If you don’t have Cointreau, try using Grand Marnier (an orange-flavored Cognac), agave syrup, or simple syrup for sweetener.
  4. Salt: To make a salt rim, rub a lime wedge along the rim of the glass, then dip in a shallow bowl filled with sea or kosher salt.

Classic Margarita Cocktail Recipe

1 cocktail
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min


  • Sea salt, for garnish
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
  • 2 ounces reposado tequila
  • Lime, for garnish
  1. Prepare a rocks glass with fresh ice and a salt rim.
  2. Add lime juice, orange liqueur, and tequila to a cocktail shaker. Add 4–5 ice cubes and shake vigorously.
  3. Using a Hawthorne strainer and a fine-mesh strainer, pour the contents into the rocks glass.
  4. Garnish with a lime wheel.

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