Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (2024)

Home Recipes Diet Gluten-Free Classic Margarita

by Lisa Bryan


Dec 01, 2023

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Jump to RecipeJump to Video

Margarita! The classicmargaritais a delicious party staple that everyone should know how to whip up. My recipe is easy to make (and easy to remember the ratios), and doesn’t have any added sugar. Enjoy this classic margarita on the rocks or frozen.

Want some healthy munchies while you’re sipping your margarita? I highly recommend my guacamole, ceviche, and pico de gallo recipes. So yum!

Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (2)

Margaritas are the ultimate party co*cktail. But they’re especially popular when Cinco de Mayo hits. The beautiful spring weather in May is a good reminder that it’s time to sit outside, drink a margarita, and relax.

Then when summer arrives, it’s time to grill up some carne asada (or make a large batch of carnitas) and whip up a pitcher of margaritas for the family. That’s how we roll in Southern California in the summer.

Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (3)

Margarita Ingredients

To make this classic margarita you’ll need tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur (also known as triple sec). While a classic margarita is quite easy on its own, I wanted to simplify the recipe even further with an easy to remember 2-1-1 ratio.

  • 2 oz of tequila
  • 1 oz of lime juice
  • 1 oz of orange liqueur

How to Make a Classic Margarita

Salt the rim of your margarita (if you’d like). You can purchase a coarser saltonline or at the grocery or liquor store. Generously spread the salt on a plate large enough for the rim of the glass. Run a slice of lime around the rim of your glass. Then place the rim in the plate of salt.

Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (4)

Mix the ingredients together. Shake or stir the tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur together. Alternatively, you can triple or quadruple the recipe in a blender along with ice to make a slushy, frozen margarita.

Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (5)

Pour and enjoy! Pour your classic margarita into your glass over some ice (on the rocks), and you’re all set!

Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (6)

Common Questions

What type of tequila to use?

I use a reposado tequila which is aged in a barrel two months to just under a year. Reposado is often considered the perfect tequila for margaritas. Two other types of tequila are joven and añejo. Joven is lighter, aged less than reposado, and cheaper. Whileañejo is darker, aged over a year, and is more expensive.

Which orange liqueur is best?

Orange liqueur is essentially vodka sweetened with sugar and orange peels. There are many brands of this liqueur on the market, but the most common brands are Cointreau, Curaçao and Grand Marnier.

For this margarita recipe I used Cointreau. It’s the most commonly used, and best orange liqueur for margaritas.

The other two brands are a little different despite their orange liqueur label. Cointreau is considered a triple sec liqueur due to its French origins and mix of sweet and bitter oranges. Curaçao comes from the Dutch Caribbean island of the same name and is considered both a brand and type of orange liqueur. Due to its tropical origins, the oranges for this liqueur are sweeter which is why its not considered a triple sec. Also, from France, Grand Marnier is considered a triple sec and Curaçao hybrid. Unlike the previous brands mentioned, its orange flavor is mixed with cognac.

Delicious Recipes to Enjoy with Margaritas

  • Shrimp Tacos– Pan seared shrimp is topped with the tastiest cilantro lime bacon slaw.
  • Barbacoa – This slow cooker recipe delivers tender shreds of juicy, spicy beef.
  • Carne Asada Tacos – Diced carne asada is topped with guacamole, cilantro, onions, and cotija cheese.
  • Steak Fajitas – Sizzling steak and veggies is always a one pan winner.
  • Grilled Fish Tacos – Grilled white fish is topped with a light and fresh citrus carrot slaw.
Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (7)

More Margarita Flavors

Looking to switch up your margarita recipe? Give these flavor variations a try. They’re perfect for every season!

  • Strawberry Margarita – One of the most popular blended margaritas.
  • Mango Margarita – The fresh mango takes this over the top!
  • Pomegranate Margarita – A festive holiday margarita.

I hope you enjoyed this margarita recipe! If you give it a try, let us know in the comment bow below how it turned out. Your review will help other readers!

Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (8)

Classic Margarita Recipe

4.88 from 24 votes

Prep: 5 minutes mins

Total: 5 minutes mins

Servings: 1 serving

Author: Lisa Bryan



The classicmargarita is easy to make with tequila, triple sec and lime juice. It's also easy to remember with a 2:1:1 ratio. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!





  • Salt the glass. If you'd like a salt-rimmed glass, slice a lime into quarters and rub one of the quarters along the rim of a glass. Spread margarita salt onto a small plate and turn the glass upside down into the salt. The salt should stick to the rim.

    Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (9)

  • Mix it together. To make the margarita, add the tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice to a co*cktail shaker with ice. Give it a few shakes.Alternatively, you can stir all of the ingredients together in a glass.

    Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (10)

  • Serve. Add ice to your glass, then pour the margarita into the glass. Garnish with lime wedges.

    Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (11)

Lisa’s Tips

  • Make sure to use fresh limes for the lime juice and not bottled lime juice. The flavor difference is huge.
  • If you’re making a large batch and serving margaritas outdoors, I recommend this break resistant pitcher(and it’s big!).


Calories: 245kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Course: co*cktails

Cuisine: Mexican

Keyword: How to Make a Margarita, Margarita, Margarita Recipe

©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted May 2019, but updated to include new photos and information for your benefit!

You May Also Like

Matcha Pistachio Energy Balls

Limoncello Spritz

Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes

Ultimate Vegetarian Chili

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

Read More About Me

Classic Margarita Recipe | Downshiftology (2024)


What is a classic margarita made of? ›

1 1/2 ounces silver tequila. 1 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec) 3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice. optional sweetener: agave nectar or simple syrup, to taste.

What is the formula for a margarita? ›

Sometimes, achieving balance requires a bit of surrender. For years, I swore by the countdown margarita: Shake three parts tequila, two parts orange liqueur and one part fresh lime juice, then serve on the rocks with salt.

What is the secret ingredient in margaritas? ›

We'll just tell you upfront: The secret to a tasty margarita is freshly squeezed lime juice (not the bottled stuff) and—here's the real secret—a splash of fresh OJ. That's right. Fresh-squeezed juice from an actual orange (not an orange-flavored liqueur) will produce a cleaner-tasting, more refreshing margarita.

Is Cointreau or triple sec better in margarita? ›

Triple sec is the more approachable version when it comes to price point, so it's good to use if you want to keep costs low,” he said. “But Cointreau is worth the investment as it has a roundness that helps in building co*cktails and stands up to more flavors for great Margaritas and more.”

Do you need triple sec for margaritas? ›

Triple sec is an orange-flavored liqueur that is commonly used in margaritas. If you don't have triple sec handy, you can substitute with another good-quality orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

What is a classic margarita? ›

Part of the 'sour' co*cktail family, the Margarita traditionally consists of three ingredients; tequila, triple sec orange liqueur and lime juice, often served in a glass with salt on the rim.

What is the ratio of tequila to margarita mix? ›

The traditional margarita recipe is made with a ratio of 2:1:1, which means: 2 parts tequila or 2 oz. 1 part triple sec or 1 oz. 1 part lime juice or 1 oz.

What is a substitute for triple sec in a margarita? ›

Easy triple sec substitutions to try
  • Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier is our top triple sec substitution. ...
  • Cointreau. Cointreau liqueur also makes a great substitute for triple sec. ...
  • Curaçao. ...
  • Combier Liqueur d'Orange. ...
  • Maraschino Liqueur. ...
  • Orange extract. ...
  • Grenadine. ...
  • St-Germain.
May 11, 2023

What is a substitute for Cointreau in a margarita? ›

Our Top 9 Best Cointreau Alternatives
  • Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier is our top substitute for Cointreau. ...
  • Triple Sec. Triple sec is a clear, orange-flavored liqueur commonly used as a substitution for Cointreau in co*cktails and baking. ...
  • Curaçao. ...
  • Aperol. ...
  • Campari. ...
  • Combier Liqueur d'Orange. ...
  • Luxardo Triplum. ...
  • Bols Dry Orange.
Mar 8, 2023

Why is it called a dirty margarita? ›

The dirty margarita takes its inspiration from the dirty martini, a classic libation made with strong liquor and a splash of a little something not-so-clear. We swap olive juice for jalapeno brine, making this a drink that packs the heat–and a punch.

Why do people add triple sec to margaritas? ›

Triple sec, a term used interchangeably with curaçao, is a type of orange liqueur that provides fruity flavors as well as sweet and bitter notes — all of which are essential for a well-made Margarita. Popular labels include Cointreau, Combier, Pierre Ferrand Curaçao, and Grand Marnier.

What is in a skinny girl margarita? ›

Made from premium Blue Agave Silver Tequila (yes, please) and lightly sweetened with agave nectar, the original Skinnygirl® Margarita is STILL delicious and low-calorie (really?). Yes, really. Serve this refreshingly light low-calorie Margarita in a fun glass rimmed with salt, and you and your girls are good to go!

Can I use Grand Marnier instead of Cointreau in a margarita? ›

Can You Substitute One Orange Liqueur for Another? In general, the answer is yes, you can substitute Grand Marnier for Cointreau or other types of triple sec, and vice versa.

What is the best orange liqueur to put in a margarita? ›

Triple sec is the unsung hero in many classic co*cktails, including the Margarita. It's a sweet, orange-flavored, clear liqueur that brings a citrus punch to the mix, offsetting notes of spice, earthiness, or smoke that the other spirits provide.

Do you need agave syrup for margaritas? ›

For A Single Margarita:

1 1/2 ounces silver tequila. 1 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec) 3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice. optional sweetener: agave nectar or simple syrup, to taste.

What is the main alcohol in a margarita? ›

Image of What is the main alcohol in a margarita?
Tequila is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila 65 km northwest of Guadalajara, and in the Jaliscan Highlands of the central western Mexican state of Jalisco.

Are triple sec and Cointreau the same? ›

While Grand Marnier and Cointreau are brand names of specific products, Triple Sec is actually a category in and of itself. Many brands make Triple Sec — in fact, Cointreau itself is a triple sec. The alcohol content in different types of Triple Sec vary quite a bit – from about 15 percent to as much as 40 percent.

What is triple sec in a margarita? ›

Here's what to know: Triple Sec is the name for a category of dry orange liqueurs: it translates to “triple dry” in French. The other family of orange liqueurs is Curacao, which are sweeter (and sometimes blue, in the case of the Blue Margarita!).

What is the difference between skinny and classic margarita? ›

A regular Margarita is higher in sugar from sweetened lime juice and orange liqueur. A Skinny Margarita uses natural sweeteners, fresh juice, and little to now orange liqueur to reduce the calorie count. Taste: A Skinny Margarita will taste less sweet, but may have a fresher taste from the fruit juices.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Duncan Muller

Last Updated:

Views: 5940

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Duncan Muller

Birthday: 1997-01-13

Address: Apt. 505 914 Phillip Crossroad, O'Konborough, NV 62411

Phone: +8555305800947

Job: Construction Agent

Hobby: Shopping, Table tennis, Snowboarding, Rafting, Motor sports, Homebrewing, Taxidermy

Introduction: My name is Duncan Muller, I am a enchanting, good, gentle, modern, tasty, nice, elegant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.