HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT MARGARITA

photo of a classic margarita on the rocks with salt

One of my favorite restaurants in Washington, DC is Oyamel Cocina Mexicana. The tacos are small and delicious, the guacamole is made in-house to order, and the ceviches are fresh and zesty. However, it’s their take on a classic margarita that really what keeps us going back time after time. The margaritas are the perfect blend of alcohol, sweet, and sour thanks to their use of premium tequila and fresh-squeezed lime juice – seriously they’re dangerous!

Anyway, if you can’t tell, I love a good marg. I mean, just check out my recipe for Mango-Jalapeño Margaritas. And as if I needed another reason to enjoy a good cocktail, this Friday (February 22) is National Margarita Day! So to make sure everyone is well-prepared to celebrate the holiday, I’m sharing my favorite recipe for the ultimate classic margarita.

photo of a margarita on the rocks with chips, guacamole, and salsa

The most traditional margarita recipes call for 2-1-1, meaning 2 oz of tequila and 1 oz each of triple sec and fresh lime juice. We’re going to switch things up just a bit and add two more ingredients: simple syrup and orange juice. Both act in a similar manner – they cut through the acid of the fresh lime juice. Trust me, there will be a lot of lime juice.

INGREDIENTS

  • Tequila (I made this batch with Espolòn, but our fave brand is 123. In a pinch Milagro is pretty good.)
  • Triple Sec (I’m using Patrón Citrónage, but Cointreau is also good)
  • Limes (Honestly, just buy as many limes as you can carry and keep one to the side for garnish)
  • Orange juice (any kind, any level pulp, you’re the boss)
  • Granulated sugar (for the simple syrup)
  • Kosher or coarse salt (not table salt)
photos of ingredients for a margarita

Now you might be wondering “hey why can’t we just use margarita mix from the store!?” First off, most of those store-bought options are loaded with artificial ingredients, food coloring, and sugar so that’s not great. Second – and this is 100% just a personal thing – I find that most pre-made mixes have a weird chemical or soapy aftertaste, no thank you on that.

So like most kitchen-related endeavors, homemade from scratch is just better! The combination of simple syrup, orange juice, and fresh-squeezed lime juice is the more delicious (and dare I say, healthier!) version of the store-bought stuff anyway.

MY RECIPE

  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1.5 oz fresh lime juice (approx 1.5 limes, depending on how ripe they are…like I said, buy lots of limes)
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • Less than .5 oz orange juice … like a splash
photo of ingredients for a margarita

TIME FOR DRINKS!

  1. Prep salt-rimmed glasses by running a lime wedge around the rim then dipping in salt. Make sure there’s not too much lime juice or the salt won’t stick. Fill the glass 3/4 of the way with ice.
  2. Mix all the margarita ingredients in an extra glass or shaker with ice. If you don’t have a shaker that’s fine, just stir or swirl in the glass. Strain and pour margarita into your prepped, salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with a lime wedge. Enjoy!

TIPS & TRICKS

When mixing your cocktail, don’t prep it in the same glass that will get a salt rim. Pouring and mixing and stirring gets messy and too much liquid means the salt will be running down the glass. It gets sticky.

To make the simple syrup, bring equal parts granulated sugar and water to a light boil. Stir until all the sugar disappears and the liquid is clear. Once cooled, you can store in the fridge and bonus – it’s great for sweetening iced coffees!

Buy a jigger. It’s the best tool for measuring cocktail ingredients, cost only a few bucks on Amazon, and will make preparing your drinks so much easier!

Happy mixing! Cheers!

photo of ingredients for a classic margarita
signature line that reads: love, Mila