There are a few things to play with in a Margarita: the type of tequila, sweetener, and ratio of ingredients. If you are wondering where the fruit is, we have lime, but that’s it (and please use fresh-squeezed juice). I’m talking about real, classic Margaritas, not the slushy, fruity drinks that are based on the original Margarita.

You have tequila and you have lime juice. The classic sweetener for a Margarita is triple sec. Many times Cointreau (a brand of triple sec) is specified. The orange in the liqueur plays well with the lime juice. Other sweeteners can be used though, most notably just using a syrup instead of a liqueur. Simple syrup is an easy standard bar ingredient that you should always have on hand. Agave syrup is made from the same plant as tequila, so the flavors marry beautifully in tequila cocktails. One thing to note is that when you use a syrup instead of a liqueur, you won’t need as much of it because the syrup will be sweeter. So, if you use syrup with a recipe that has liqueur, just start small and taste it or you could end up with an overly sweet drink.

Recipe

Aside from the basic ingredients, there is also the question of ratio. My preferred ratio is 3:2:1 when using a pure sweetener (simple syrup or agave) and 2:1:1 when using triple sec. That gives me:

Served up or on the rocks, 3 oz.

  • 1.5 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • .5 oz. simple or agave syrup
  • garnish: lime and salted rim

or

  • 1.5 oz. tequila
  • .75 oz. lime juice
  • .75 oz. triple sec
  • garnish: lime and salted rim

Shake it up in a mixer with ice, strain, and serve it up. You can of course serve it on the rocks if you prefer that the drink dilute a bit over time. The salt on the rim is also very optional. I go about 50/50 on that, depending on my mood and if I’m craving salty. Generally, at home I don’t bother. One thing to note is that salt in a drink with fruit juice can enhance the sour aspect. That can be really great, depending on what you want.