How Important is Tequila for Margarita Recipe?

To those who are familiar with drinks, margarita is definitely not a strange or new name. It is an alcoholic cocktail based on tequila. It is included in the number of official cocktails of the International Barmen Association (IBA) under the category of Contemporary Classics. Classified as an all-day cocktail, margarita is one of the most consumed cocktails in the world, and the most famous and popular of tequila-based cocktails, and perhaps one of the very first mixed alcoholic drinks ever made. But how important is the presence of tequila in the margarita mix? Can it be replaced with other spirits?

The Story

A cocktail of Hispanic origin, margarita made its first appearance approximately between the period of 1936-1948. There are many versions of this mixed drink, and almost all feature a woman named Margarita. One of the most popular versions says that the creator of the cocktail is named Margarita Simes, who mixed a cocktail of tequila, French Cointreau orange liquor and lime juice in Acapulco in 1948 at a reception where Tommy Hilton, the owner of the Hilton hotel chain, liked the cocktail; Hilton then distributed this recipe to the bars and restaurants of his hotels.

In some areas of Mexico, this cocktail is considered traditional, which does not include Cointreau liqueur, but the herbal Damiana liqueur. It is made from Turner, an aphrodisiac that was often used by Mayan Indians. This is said to be the root of the contemporary margarita we can find everywhere today.

The Classic Recipe of Margarita

Margarita’s secret is in its simplicity. Margarita has only 3 ingredients: silver tequila, lime juice and Cointreau liqueur. This cocktail can be easily mixed at home; it does not require additional equipment or skills. The tequila variety and limes used can affect the taste of the drink, so the classic proportion can be considered a starting point, but not a strict law. The cocktail can be prepared in both classic and frozen form.


  • Shaker
  • Strainer (Hawthorne)
  • Fine Strainer
  • Jigger
  • Citrus Squeezer


  • 45 ml tequila
  • 20 ml lime juice
  • 30 ml Cointreau liquor
  • Salt for the rim
  • 1 slice of lime

How to make:

  • Prepare the glass for Margarita (a cocktail glass is also suitable). First, cool it with ice cubes or put it in the fridge. Next, make a salty rim.
  • Add all the liquid ingredients to the shaker and mix them until completely incorporated.
  • Filter the content of the shaker into the glass using two strainers (a havernor and a file strainer).
  • Decorate the glasss with a slice of lime. Make sure that extra juice from lime does not get into the cocktail, as this can change the taste.

Tequila is the Key

The choice of quality tequila is the main rule of a successful Margarita. It is advised you to use tequila in the medium to expensive price group. Classic recipes indicate Blanco tequila (silver without aging) as the base of the drink, but you can also try making a cocktail at Reposado (golden with aging for up to 1 year). From premium brands, you can look in the direction of Don Julio, Herradura, or El Tesoro. For a more budget allowance, but also a great option, will be the Lunazul Bianco tequila.

Of the liquors, Cointreau would be the best choice , but any other triple sec would do. Cocktail limes should be fresh and soft. Be sure to taste the lime juice before using it, as too sour juice can greatly spoil Margarita’s taste. If you want to make the cocktail sweeter, you can add one dash of simple syrup to it.

To prepare the right Margarita at home, according to a specialist, first of all, you need to take care of quality ingredients: do not save on Tequila and replace fresh limes with concentrated juice. Secondly, the bartender recommends strict proportions, so as not to make the cocktail too sugary or go too far with alcohol.

Alternative Recipes

  1. Frozen Margarita; Add 60 ml of tequila, 30 ml of Cointreau, 30 ml of lime juice and 30 ml of simple syrup to the ice blender. Mix and filter into a prepared glass with a salt rim using two strainers.
  2. Strawberry Margarita. Add to the basic ingredients of the cocktail specified in the recipe, 3 chopped strawberries and half a bar spoon of simple syrup. Next, follow the basic recipe.
  3. Bloody Margarita. Reduce the base amount of lime juice in the original recipe to 15 ml and add 30 ml of bloody orange juice (it is a kinglet – grapefruit is also suitable). Next, follow the basic recipe.

Other Tequila-based Cocktails to Match Margarita


Almost forgotten English classics of the 30s -40s. Dedicated to bullfights in Spain, which, in fact, is clear from its name. The cocktail consists of tequila, apricot liqueur and lime, sometimes agave nectar is added to it in small quantities. Before the start of World War II, his popularity was on a par with Margarita, but after the end of hostilities the bullfighter sank into oblivion, which is a pity.


This cocktail was born in the hot expanses of Mexico, where the need for a long drink, which refreshed and quenched thirst, was satisfied with just a drink: tequila, a little lime, grapefruit juice and a rim of salt. Paloma is translated as “pigeon”, this drink is usually consumed during the day, when the heat reaches its climax, and while people dine.


Another refreshing long drink based on tequila, with neutral beer, tomato juice, sauces and spices to your taste. The cocktail is very gastronomic and is an analogue of Bloody Mary, which means it will help to recover from a hangover.

From all that we have read above, it is clear that tequila plays a very important part in the construction of margarita recipe. Anything else will change the taste which can’t be called margarita after.

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