Classic Margarita Recipe

Our favorite version of the classic tequila cocktail. [Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Tequila, orange liqueur, lime: The perfect margarita is all about fresh, crisp flavors. After testing all the ratios, this is the one we reach for.

Why this recipe works:

  • A good quality tequila needs no sugar to balance the acidity of lime juice beyond triple sec.
  • Cointreau makes for a balanced, smooth margarita without taking away from the tequila.

Note: This recipe works best with a high quality tequila. If you’re using a budget brand that’s a little harsh, swap the proportions for the Cointreau and lime juice and add 1/4 ounce simple syrup to each drink.

  • Yield:Makes 2 drinks
  • Active time:5 minutes
  • Total time:5 minutes
  • Ingredients

    • Lime wedge, plus 2 lime wheels for garnish
    • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, for glass rims
    • 4 ounces high quality blanco tequila (see note)
    • 2 ounces Cointreau
    • 1 1/2 ounces fresh juice from 2 limes


    1. 1.

      Run lime wedge around the outer rims of two rocks glasses and dip rims in salt. Set aside.

    2. 2.

      In cocktail shaker, combine tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Fill with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 15 seconds (the bottom of a metal shaker should frost over).

    3. 3.

      Fill glasses with fresh ice and strain margarita into both glasses. Garnish with lime wheels and serve.

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