How to Make a Classic Margarita on the Rocks

Margaritas are one of my favorite things. I actually love the taste of tequila, so I always say the more the better. But not everyone agrees with me on that. They prefer a more classic margarita.

The key to making a classic margarita is striking a balance between the tequila of choice and the orange-flavored liqueur you pair with it. A strong flavored tequila needs a strong-flavored orange liqueur to stand up to it. You’ll often find margaritas made with Triple Sec, for example, unless you want to get fancier.

So use the following as more of a formula than a true recipe. Use your favorite tequila, whether that’s Jose Cuervo or Patron or whatever, and orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier. Adjust for flavor as needed. (Tell me what your favorite liquors are in the comments section!)

Be sure to also salt your rim before pouring the margarita into the glass. Salt adds to both the flavor and the aroma of the margarita. Try one sometime without the salt and you’ll see what I mean. 

Ingredients for a Classic Margarita

  • 1.5 oz. tequila
  • 1.5 oz. orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1.25 oz. freshly squeeze lime juice

Optional: 1-2 tablespoons simple syrup

(To make, heat 1 part white sugar with 1 part water until sugar is thoroughly dissolved).

How to make a Classic Margarita:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker full of ice and add the tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice.
  2. Shake vigorously to combine and pour into salt-rimmed margarita glasses filled with ice.
  3. Serve with a wedge of lime, if desired.

Note: this is a strong drink when first poured, which for people like me is perfect. The flavors will mellow a bit as the ice melts, but that also may make it a bit more palatable for others. If you prefer a little sweeter drink, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of simple syrup to the cocktail shaker before mixing.


Make sure you have your margarita glasses ready!

Click on any pictures below to get some of the best margarita glasses available. It’s fun to serve up those tasty tequila treats in fun glasses. They are my affiliate links, which means I’ll end up making a few pennies should you make a purchase, but it doesn’t cost you anything else. I love these!


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