How to Make a Margarita

Ever wanted to learn how to make a margarita? Today is the day! This 4-ingredient classic margarita recipe is easy to mix at home. Makes 1 drink but can easily be doubled or tripled.

A margarita sits on a marble counter in front of ingredients

It’s official, y’all: We’re making MARGARITAS for 2021!

After doing a lot of thinking and soul searching when considering what to make after our Year of Moscow Mules, it was pointed out to me that the drink of 2020 was most definitely a margarita. And you know what? I’m down for that.

While I’ll admit that I’ve had some bad experiences with margaritas and tequila in the past, those days are behind me, and I am all-in for this year of 12 new margarita recipes! And today, we’re starting off with the classic!

Why I love this recipe:

This classic margarita recipe calls for FOUR ingredients, and you might have ‘em at home already.

It’s a solid, basic margarita recipe to start off 2021. (If you’re looking for a fancier margarita, let me direct you to my Cadillac Margarita.)

Also, it tastes really delicious. It’s well-balanced, so you’re not getting a punch in the face from the tequila like you do in some margaritas. It’s nice and smooth, so you can sip it easy all night long. (Or you can drink it a little faster and have a second one!)

It’s a little different than some basic margaritas in the sense that it calls for Cointreau—a higher-end orange liqueur. You can use triple sec if that’s what you have on hand since that’s an orange liqueur, but your end result will taste different. Why? Most triple sec brands have an alcohol content between 15%-30% while Cointreau’s is 40%. (This means it’s got more alcohol in it.) 

Intrigued? I thought you might be!

Other tequila drinks you might want to test out: Apple Cider Margaritas | Mexican Mule | Strawberry Margarita (and a Frozen Strawberry Margarita and a Strawberry Mockarita (Strawberry Virgin Margarita))| Cherry Lemonade Margaritas | Cantaloupe Mint Margarita | Pineapple Margarita

A bottle of tequila sits next to lime juice, simple syrup and a bottle of Countreau on a marble counter

What you’ll need to make a Classic Cointreau Margarita

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In addition to these tools, you’ll need just two simple ingredients that you’ve probably got on hand already:

  • Silver tequila—a decent tasting one, mmmkay?
  • Cointreau—or another orange liqueur (triple sec is an orange liqueur, FYI)
  • Limes or freshly squeezed lime juice—I purchase the squeezed kind from the refrigerated section at the grocery store. It’s with the pre-chopped fruit and is worth the splurge. However, you can purchase limes and squeeze ‘em yourself
  • Simple syrup—you can make it at home or you can purchase it from the store or online

How to make margaritas at home

First and foremost, juice your limes. I typically do this over a liquid measuring cup with a fine mesh strainer on top of it to keep pulp and seeds out of the final juice.

Pro tip: You’ll get more juice from your limes if they’re room temperature. If you keep ‘em in the fridge, pop them into the microwave for 20-30 seconds to get those juices flowing!

Also, you’ll want to rim your margarita glass (or regular ‘ol cup) with salt if you’re into that at this point. You can also add ice to the glass, as well, if you want your margarita on the rocks to be extra cold.

Once your limes are juiced and other ingredients are acquired, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Measure in the silver tequila, Cointreau (or other orange liqueuer), simple syrup and lime juice.

Give it a good shake until the metal of the cocktail shaker is extremely cold, then strain and pour into your prepared margarita glasses.

Enjoy immediately with a lime garnish!

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

Hi, hello. Who hasn’t made or drank a margarita at a happy hour, a homemade Mexican dinner night or even a Cinco de Mayo gathering?

Margaritas at home are so simple because they require few ingredients and even less time to put ‘em together! And this Cointreau Margarita is absolutely worth sharing.

Here are a few tips and tricks to make it as easy as possible:

  • Make your simple syrup 1-2 days in advance. Let it hang out in the fridge, and make a lot of it, depending on how many friends are joining you.
  • Squeeze the limes an hour or so before guests arrive—or take the store-bought shortcut. Just be sure to get the fresh-squeezed lime juice instead of the shelf-stable kind. It makes all the difference, promise.
  • Turn it into a pitcher! After all, if you’re hosting several friends, you might as well make a pitcher so you’re not mixing up margaritas by request throughout the evening.
Close up of a lime twist on the salted rim of a cocktail

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of tequila should I use in this classic margarita recipe?

Since this homemade margarita recipe highlights tequila paired with Cointreau, lime juice and simple syrup, the tequila needs to be good enough to stand up to these other flavors.

Silver or joven tequila is what we want for this margarita recipe. Just make sure that it’s marked 100% blue agave because if it is not, that means it’s a blend of different types of tequila.

I made our initial margaritas with reposado tequila, which had a stronger flavor than I enjoy.  (Fun fact: Reposado tequila is aged for longer than silver or joven tequila.)

Is there a specific brand of tequila that I should purchase for this margarita?

Nope. You can use whatever brand you’ve got on hand, assuming it’s silver/joven tequila that you enjoy the taste of.

Can I make this Cointreau margarita into a pitcher drink?

You absolutely can. Here are the measurements to make a 6-drink pitcher.

9 oz. silver tequila
9 oz. lime juice
6 oz. Cointreau or another orange liqueur
6 oz. simple syrup

Simply pour the ingredients into your pitcher, stir, chill and serve!
Bonus points: This margarita pitcher can hang out in the fridge for a while because there are no carbonated parts of it, so make this in advance and don’t sweat it!

How do you rim a glass with salt?

Take a lime wedge and run it around the edge of the glass. You want there to be enough liquid to where the salt will stick, but that the juice doesn’t run down the side of your glass. (If it does, no big deal—that’ll just add a little extra lime juice to your margarita.) Pour salt onto a small, and gently press the glass into the salt, until salt coats the rim.

A salt-rimmed glass holding a classic margarita recipe sits on marble, in front of a marble tray holding two more

Quick tips and tricks for making this classic margarita recipe at home

  • Prep your ingredients before mixing your drink.
  • Turn it into a pitcher drink! Quadruple the recipe (or multiply it by six) to turn this festive mule into a Cointreau Margarita Pitcher.
  • Purchase good lime juice. Truly, the combination of the freshly squeezed lime juice paired with the tequila, Cointreau and simple syrup is wonderfully balanced.
  • Shake it up! If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, pour the ingredients into a to-go coffee cup or a mason jar, cap and then shake.   
A margarita sits on a marble counter in front of ingredients
Yield: 1 drink

Cointreau Margarita

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Ever wanted to learn how to make a margarita? Today is the day! This 4-ingredient classic margarita recipe is easy to mix at home.


  • 1 ½ oz. silver tequila
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 ½ oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • Salt, to rim the glass(es) with
  • Lime rounds, for garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, filled with ice.
  2. Shake the ingredients until ice cold, then pour into a margarita glass, rimmed with salt.
  3. Enjoy immediately with additional ice, if needed.


Please note that the margarita glasses in these photos hold a double margarita instead of a single.

This recipe makes a single margarita, but it can easily be doubled or tripled if you’re pouring margaritas for a crowd.

How to make a Margarita

To make a 6-drink pitcher, pour the following ingredients into a pitcher. Stir, chill and then serve!

  • 9 oz. silver tequila
  • 9 oz. lime juice
  • 6 oz. Cointreau or another orange liqueur
  • 6 oz. simple syrup

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Nutrition Information:


1 drink

Serving Size:

1 drink

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 246Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 585mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 22gProtein: 1g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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One Comment

  1. This margarita recipe is SO good! I love to make it for a quick cocktail on the weekend since I typically have all of these ingredients already on hand! We scaled it to make 2 last time and it worked perfectly!

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