What’s our go-to tequila for this margarita? Tequila blanco. It has a peppery kick that doesn’t get lost in the mix.
This margarita recipe is a swell base for all kinds of variations (see below).–Adam Rapoport
LC Controversial Cointreau Note
Nothing against Cointreau, but some of us don’t care for it in our margarita. Just don’t need that sweetly tart citrus zing cloying things up. If you like it, that’s fine. We’re not saying one way or the other is right or wrong. Just kindly don’t tell us how to make or shake our margs. This recipe is for those like-minded folks.
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.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:
Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Jul 26, 2013
Not sure what to do when a sweltering heatwave hits early summer in the Northeast? Make margaritas, that’s what! I prefer a simple recipe for my margs, with 3 or 4 ingredients max, a blanco tequila, but no triple sec. The three simple ingredients in this recipe make for a well-balanced—and easily memorized—cocktail. This is not the crazy, sugary mess you might get at your neighborhood family dining establishment. This is a classic and delicious cocktail. I chose to omit the salt simply because it’s not to my taste, but I’m sure it would add a nice layer of flavor to the beverage. I think the agave is key to the balance of flavors here as well, considering both the spirit and sweetener come from the same plant. What I like about this recipe is that you have the proportions (2 tequila: 1 lime: 1 agave), so you can easily downsize the recipe or make an even larger batch. This will be my only recipe for a classic margarita in the future, and I recommend others to convert as well. Cheers!
Jul 26, 2013
This is truly the perfect margarita. It’s pretty much the way I’ve been making mine for years, I just never had an actual recipe. I don’t care for triple sec or Cointreau in my margaritas. This recipe makes a simple, clean-tasting drink with easily adjustable proportions. For two drinks, I used 1/2 cup Espolon Tequila Blanco (very smooth and sporting a nicely designed label to boot), 1/4 cup lime juice, and 1/4 cup agave nectar. You should plan on about 1 lime per drink, but keep in mind that limes vary pretty widely in size and juiciness. Can I just say, however, that I do not plan 4 HOURS in advance for my evening cocktail, so the idea of making the mixture then chilling it and waiting…and waiting…did not appeal to me so much. Luckily, the tequila was already in the freezer, and the limes and agave nectar in the fridge, so the ingredients were pre-chilled. Do chill the mixture on ice right before serving, even if you are serving the drinks on the rocks, as I did. It’s so much nicer in these hot and humid times. I’m glad I sprung for the 750-ml bottle of tequila, because now I can have my chilled Ultimate Margarita whenever I wish. No waiting!
Jul 26, 2013
I found this to be less tart than other margaritas, and much more so than those cheap bar margaritas that use sweet and sour mix. The agave nectar had a pronounced agave flavor, and did an excellent job of smoothing the tequila out. Because the tequila comprises half the volume, it’s probably a good idea to go with a quality tequila. I chose Cuervo’s 1800 Silver. Also, because the tequila makes up half the volume, some caution is necessary, as it tastes fairly harmless, but really packs a punch.
Jul 26, 2013
I agree. This is the ultimate margarita! So, so, so delicious. I made half a recipe. My store only had the amber colored agave nectar; and, while the color of this cocktail wasn’t exactly the prettiest, the taste was divine! Everything came together quickly, and after 4 hours in the refrigerator, it was plenty cold. I served these on the rocks with salt. This margarita is better than what the Mexican restaurants nearby serve, primarily due to the agave. Most margaritas have a tartness from a triple sec or orange liqueur that this margarita doesn’t. This will definitely be served again, and very soon. Love this ultimate margarita!
Jul 26, 2013
I’m typically not a fan of alcoholic drinks besides the occasional glass of wine or beer, so when I came across this recipe for margaritas, initially I didn’t give it much thought. Thankfully, our neighbors are big margarita fans and always on the search for the perfect margarita. Devoted neighbor that I am, I felt compelled to make these for them, and surprisingly, I absolutely loved them, too. Most margaritas that I’ve tried in the past are either way too sweet or so incredibly strong that I have a hard time trudging through them. This cocktail is so refreshing and simple to make. What I love most about it is it doesn’t evoke a powerful taste of tequila. The lime juice and agave syrup balance the flavor of the alcohol so well that I almost forgot there was alcohol even in it…almost. Don’t let the refreshing flavor of this beverage fool you. Just one glass had a pretty good effect on me! I opted for salt on my glass, which further aids in balancing the sweetness of the cocktail. I’m thrilled to have a new offering for our guests!
Jul 26, 2013
We made these for a weekend at the lake with friends and they were a hit. We only needed 7 limes to get the 1 cup of juice needed for the recipe. We couldn’t find variations in colors of agave nectar, so we used the only one available. I don’t think the taste was affected, but the margaritas did take on a brownish color.
Ultimate Margarita Recipe © 2013 Adam Rapoport. Photo © 2013 Peden + Munk. All rights reserved.