This classic margarita recipe is equal parts fresh lime juice and tequila. A smaller amount of Grand Marnier and simple syrup offer sweet and citrusy notes. A sea salt rim + lots of ice are essential. I first made this recipe many years ago, and I’ve never looked back. The secret? Fresh-squeezed lime juice — nothing compares.

Classic margarita with tequila and lime.

I learned how to make a margarita from How Sweet Eats, whose author, Jessica Merchant, has posted over 10 margarita recipes on her blog over the years. She’s really a pro.

For years I made her classic margarita recipe as written. But when a dear friend’s mother, Anne, emailed me telling me she made the recipe to rave reviews with double the amount of tequila, I decided to give it a go.

After several experiments, I discovered Anne was onto something. The results of my tinkering are reflected below, but in essence the recipe is equal parts fresh lime juice and tequila and a smaller amount of equal parts Grand Marnier and simple syrup.

The key? Fresh squeezed lime juice. Yes, juicing limes takes time, but it is so worth the effort. Nothing compares to freshly squeezed lime juice. Put on your favorite podcast, and get juicing.

How to Make a Margarita

  1. Make a simple syrup: combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan, and heat until sugar dissolves. Let cool. If you are pressed for time, simply stir together the sugar and water till the sugar is mostly dissolved.
  2. Juice enough limes to yield 1 cup of freshly squeezed juice.
  3. Combine: Pour the 1 cup of lime juice into a 4-cup liquid measure. Add 1 cup tequila. Add 3/4 cup each Grand Marnier and simple syrup. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour salt onto a shallow plate. Rim the edge of 4 glasses with a lime wedge; then dip each into the salt. Fill each glass with ice. Pour margarita mixture into each glass. Squeeze in a wedge of lime.

PS: ALL the Cinco de Mayo recipes right → HERE.

Overhead shot of juicer with limes.
A cup of fresh-squeezed lime juice in a liquid measure.
Margarita ingredients: fresh lime juice, grand marnier, tequila.
Overhead shot of margarita ingredients.
Salted margarita glasses on a table.
Margaritas in salted-rim glasses.
Classic margarita with tequila and lime.
Classic margarita with tequila and lime.
Print
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A glass of margarita with a salted rim.

Classic Margarita with Tequila & Grand Marnier


  • Author: Alexandra Stafford
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 drinks, generously

Description

To make simple syrup: combine equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan, and heat until sugar dissolves. Let cool. For this recipe, I’ve been doing about 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. There will be a little bit leftover, which you can save for future margaritas or add to your mixture to taste.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces  (1 cup) Tequila, see notes above
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) Grand Marnier
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) lime juice, plus more to taste
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) simple syrup, see notes above
  • salt for the rim, I’ve been using Maldon sea salt
  • lime wedges for salt rim and garnish

Instructions

  1. In 4-cup liquid measure, stir together the the grand marnier, tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Pour salt onto a shallow plate. Rim the ridge of each glass with a lime wedge, and dip in salt. Fill the glass with ice. Pour margarita mixture into each glass. Squeeze in a wedge of lime.
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Stir
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: margarita, tequila, lime, grand marnier