Classic Margarita Recipe

Fresh lime juice, triple sec, and good tequila are all you need to make the best margarita possible.

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

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

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.

Recipe Facts



Active: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins
Makes: 2 drinks

Rate & Comment


  • 1 lime wedge, plus 2 lime wheels for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, for glass rims

  • 4 ounces (120ml) high-quality blanco tequila (see note)

  • 2 ounces (60ml) Cointreau

  • 1 1/2 ounces (45ml) fresh juice from 2 limes


  1. Run lime wedge around the outer rims of 2 rocks glasses and dip rims in salt. Set aside.

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

Special equipment

Cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer


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.