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The Best Margarita Recipe

4.95 from 37 votes

posted: 04/23/24

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This is hands down the best margarita recipe. With it’s easy to find ingredients and perfect flavor, you will leave all the other recipes behind. We have instructions to make one cocktail or a whole pitcher!

Margarita garnished with lime wedge and salted rim

This classic margarita recipe has been one of my most popular cocktail recipes for years, and for good reason. This is a recipe that was passed to me by a dear friend who got it from her mom, who got it from an aunt. There is a reason it is a family treasure – it is truly the best. If you want a quality homemade margarita, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. Read the reviews on this one and then make it for yourself!

Reader Review

Made a pitcher (or two!) of these margaritas for a party and they were a huge hit. Love the homemade sweet and sour mix. Thank you…this is my new go-to margarita recipe.

clear mason jar full of homemade sweet and sour mix with limes and lemons around it on marble counter top

Margarita Ingredients

These margaritas come together with a few simple ingredients.

  • Tequila: You will want to use a gold tequila that is made from 100% agave. Read more on this below.
  • Orange liqueur: I would recommend using Cointreau for this recipe. It makes for the best margaritas. If your budget only allows for triple sec, you will still love this. Read more on this below.
  • Homemade Sweet and Sour Mix: This is the secret ingredient that makes for the best margaritas; it makes for the perfect balance of sweetness. While some recipes call simple syrup and lime juice, I find that this homemade recipe (which is sugar, fresh lime juice and fresh lemon juice) leads to true perfection. It is worth the time it takes to make, and freezes great so you can make margaritas all the time.

Sweet and Sour Mix

This Sweet and Sour Mix is easy to make with only three ingredients and it is the key to making the BEST margaritas! It keeps in the refrigerator for about a week and makes two pitchers of margaritas. Or you can keep it in the freezer for a month!
Side view of cocktail shaker of Margarita being poured into tumbler with salted rim, lime wedges beside.

How to Make a Margarita

This is a brief overview of how to make this perfect cocktail. For the full recipe with all of the measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Make the sweet and sour mix. You will want to make this at least four hours before you want to serve your margaritas. You need to give it time to properly cool.
  2. Rim your glasses with salt. Cut a slit in the wedge of a lime. Then rub it around the rim of the glass. Roll the edge of the glass in kosher salt. Then add ice to the glasses. I think a salted rim pairs with the recipe perfectly.
  3. Fill a metal cocktail shaker with fresh ice. Add the cooled sweet and sour mix, tequila, and orange liqueur to the shaker. Shake until the metal shaker feels cold to the touch.
  4. Strain the margaritas into the prepared glasses. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy!
Margaritas with lime wedges

Best Tequila for Margaritas

When looking for tequila, there are a few things you want to keep in mind:

  • Use 100% agave tequila. You want to look for one that is made from 100% agave (the plant that tequila is made from). Alternatives combine agave and sugar, making a hang over more likely.
  • Grab a bottle of gold (Añejo or reposado) tequila. Gold tequila is that color because it has been aged longer. As a result it has a richer flavor than silver tequila, which leads to a better margarita.
  • Pick a good brand. Keep in mind that there are good tequilas at each price point. Patrón is a great higher end option, Milagro is perfect for a mid-range budget, and Epsolón or El Jimador are great choices for a lower range budget.

Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo Tequila

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the choices of tequila before you, it may be helpful to sort the differences between blanco, reposado, and Añejo tequila. The main factor that distinguishes the three are how long they are aged. Blanco tequila typically ages only for two months. Reposado must age for at least two months, and Añejo must age for at least one year. Of course, I will recommend Añejo, as the longer it ages the deeper the taste.

Side view of Margarita with salted rim and lime wedges

Orange Liqueur

Every good margarita needs orange liqueur. There are primarily three different options for this:

  • Triple Sec comes in many different brands and is generally the cheapest option.
  • Cointreau is a specific brand and does the same job as triple sec with a higher alcohol content and better flavor.
  • Grand Marnier is also delicious and makes an elevated homemade margarita, but also contains cognac. It’s alcohol content is similar to Cointreau.

Pitcher of Margaritas

If you want to make a pitcher of margaritas, and honestly, you do, you will want to follow these measurements. This will give you six margaritas. But you could easily double this recipe. Note that the measurements for sweet and sour mix in the recipe card will yield a little more than you need for a double pitcher.

Margarita Variations

Once you have the perfect traditional margarita recipe, it’s really easy to make delicious variations . . . which of course I have.

Margarita garnished with lime wedge

What to Serve with Margaritas

If you are having a party where you are making a pitcher of my margaritas, then make some of these great dishes too!

If you make this great margarita recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Margarita garnished with lime wedge and salted rim
4.95 from 37 votes

The Best Margarita Recipe

Serves: 6 margaritas
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 4 hours 15 minutes
This is hands down the best margarita recipe. With it's easy to find ingredients and perfect flavor, you will leave all the other recipes behind. We have instructions to make one cocktail or a whole pitcher!


One Margarita

Sweet and Sour Mix (makes 3 1/2 cups, enough for 12 margaritas)

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice about 5 – 7 small limes
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice about 2 medium lemons



  • Cut a slit in a lime wedge. Rub the lime on the edge of the glass. Roll the glass in kosher salt. Fill the glass with ice and set aside. (Read how to make a pitcher here.)
  • Fill a metal shaker with ice. Add in the tequila, sweet and sour mix, and orange liqueur. Shake until the metal shaker feels cold to the touch.
    1 1/2 ounce Añejo tequila, 1 1/2 ounce sweet and sour, 3/4 ounce orange liqueur
  • Strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a fresh lime wedge and enjoy!

Homemade Sweet and Sour Mix

  • Make this at one hour before you plan on serving the margaritas.
  • Simmer 2 cups of water and 1 cup of granulated sugar over medium heat until it is fully dissolved. Pour it into a jar and let it come to room temperature. To speed up this process, fill a large bowl with ice, and carefully place the mason jar in the middle. Place the whole bowl in the refrigerator.
    2 cups water, 1 cup sugar
  • Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup lime juice to the cooled sugar mixture.
    1/2 cup fresh lime juice, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Store it in a sealed container for a week in the refrigerator or for up to a month in the freezer.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: cocktails
Cuisine: Mexican
Margarita garnished with lime wedge and salted rim

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The Best Margarita Recipe

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


    Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you & seeing what you made!

    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Matt Robinson says

    It’s summer, so I’m always on the hunt for a good margarita recipe. Looks like I need to try this one!

  2. Crystal says

    5 stars
    These truly were THE BEST margaritas! Thanks for sharing the recipe! Also, where are your glasses from, love them!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy you like them! Oh man, we have like three million glasses. I think these ones were from Pier 1. I love them too!

  3. Ali Lapp says

    What would you do to make a ‘virgin’ margarita?

    • Lisa Longley says

      That is a tough question because triple sec and tequila both have alcohol and both are pretty key ingredients here to get the flavor you’d want. You could use this recipe for the Sweet and Sour Mix, and then combine that with a brand of non alcoholic tequila and a squirt of orange juice. That is probably what I would do.

  4. Lynn Holland says

    5 stars
    Just made your margaritas. Sooo good. Thanks!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy you liked them, Lynn! Thank you for taking the time to come back and let me know!

  5. Marie Mancini says

    5 stars
    I love the Margarita recipe. I will make some this weekend. It’s my favorite drink! Thanks.

    • Lisa Longley says

      You are very welcome!

  6. Susan says

    5 stars
    This was great and will make it again!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  7. Michele says

    5 stars
    Made a pitcher (or two!) of these margaritas for a party and they were a huge hit. Love the homemade sweet and sour mix. Thank you…this is my new go-to margarita recipe.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad that you liked it!

  8. Sarah W says

    5 stars
    Your website, recipes, cocktails, and write ups enhance my life in ways I can’t communicate with five stars. I have been a faithful follower for several years now. You are my go-to gal for everything food and drink! Thank you.

  9. Elise says

    5 stars
    thank you for this recipe. just in time for my cinco de mayo party. i was looking for the right ratio and finally found it! my margs had been tasting just wrong and this cleared up everything. I was using a 3:2:1 of tequila, triple sec and lime juice/simple syrup, but this is so much better. it was simply too much triple sec. To this basic recipe I added 3 TBSP of pureed frozen strawberries/mangoes/cherries (with enough orange-peach-mango juice to blend) and rimmed the glass with Tajin and FINALLY knew I had something I could serve to a group. Thank you so much not only for the recipe but for the juice hack to nuke the citrus 10 seconds and roll. Is it possible to nuke all the lemons and limes together? and if so, for how long? thank you again!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Yup! I nuke them together all the time and do about 30 seconds for like 4 lemons/limes. And you might love this recipe too: Strawberry Mango Margaritas.

  10. Marie Mancini says

    YUMMY !!!!!!!!!!

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