Margaritas (or Sidecars or Sours) Recipe (for a Crowd)

Margaritas (or Sidecars or Sours) Recipe (for a Crowd)

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

This is a versatile recipe, based on classic proportions for a traditional sour. A sour is a mix of spirits, triple sec (you can also use Cointreau or Grand Marnier), and citrus juice. Be sure to make this drink the day of the party—any earlier, and the citrus juice will spoil.

For a margarita, the liquor is tequila, and the citrus is lime. For a sidecar, use cognac and lemon. For a sour, you can use the liquor of your choice (whiskey is classic, but you could go with gin, vodka, or what have you) and lemon juice.

If you want, you can dash in some bitters to add complexity. If so, I'd use lemon or orange in a margarita; I'd leave them entirely out of a sidecar; and I'd use aromatic (Angostura) or orange bitters in a sour. About 10 dashes should suffice.

Each bottle serves 8 four-ounce cocktails or just over 10 three-ounce cocktails.

To garnish, use lime pinwheels for the margarita, and lemon twists for the sidecar and sour.

  • Yield:serves 8 to 10; makes 32 ounces


  • 13 ounces liquor (tequila, cognac, rum, vodka, bourbon, etc.)
  • 8 ounces triple sec
  • 5 ounces citrus juice (lime or lemon)
  • 6 ounces bottled or filtered water (something neutral, not mineral water)


  1. 1.

    Using a funnel, pour all ingredients into bottle. Shake well to combine all ingredients. Close bottle and chill until service. Shake well again before serving.