This ultimate margarita recipe is made with just tequila, agave, and lime juice. No cloying Cointreau. It isn’t the classic margarita. It’s far better.
This ultimate margarita requires just three easy-to-memorize ingredients—tequila, lime, and agave nectar. You read that correctly. It exchanges cloying Cointreau for a splash of sweet agave nectar. What results is exceptionally smooth and dangerously sippable. This recipe has been updated. Originally published July 26, 2013.–Adam Rapoport
What About Cointreau? Note
Nothing against Cointreau, but some of us simply don’t care for it in our margarita. We don’t want that sweetly tart citrus zing cloying things up and obscuring the taste of a proper silver tequila. If you like Cointreau, that’s fine, we’re not knocking your taste and we’re not saying one way or the other is right or wrong. Just kindly don’t tell us how to make our margs.
Ultimate Margarita Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 10 M
- Makes 8
- 2 cups tequila blanco
- 1 cup fresh lime juice (from about 10 limes, plus 1 more lime, cut into 8 wedges, for garnish)
- 1 cup agave nectar (the paler one, not the dark amber one) or Simple Syrup
- Kosher salt (optional)
- 1. Combine the tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar or Simple Syrup in a pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled through, about 4 hours.
- 2. If using salt to coat the rims of the glasses, pour some into a small dish. Rub 1 lime slice or wedge over half the rim of a coupe glass (if you prefer your margarita straight up) or an old-fashioned glass (if you prefer it on the rocks) or a margarita glass or even a plain old pint glass. Dip the rim of the glass into the salt. Repeat with the remaining glasses.
- 3. Fill the pitcher with ice and stir well. Pour the margarita into the prepared glasses, straining out the ice if desired, and garnish each with a lime wedge. (Hosts and hostesses, be certain to toss that lime wedge that you used to rim the glasses in your own cocktail.)
- Fruity Margaritas
- Muddle 24 blackberries with the agave nectar in a pitcher until the berries are lightly crushed and the juices are released. Continue with the recipe.
- Spicy Margaritas
- Muddle 16 thin jalapeno slices with the agave nectar in a pitcher until the peppers begin to fall apart. (For a less spicy version, remove the seeds first.) Continue with the recipe.
- Bright Margaritas
- Steep 2 hibiscus tea bags or 1 teaspoon dried hibiscus flowers with 8 ounces (1 cup) hot water for 10 minutes. Discard the tea bags or strain the flowers and let the tea cool. Gently spoon some of the tea over the margarita, creating a brilliant red hue on top.
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