Snackshot of the Day: Classic Margarita

Photos of all things food and drink from The Daily Meal

A margarita at Cesar in Oakland, Calif.

The Daily Meal's editors, contributors, and readers dig into some pretty great restaurants, festivals, and meals. There's not always enough time to give a full review of a restaurant or describe in depth why a place, its food, and the people who prepare it are noteworthy, so Snackshot of the Day does what photographs do best, rely on the image to do most of the talking.

Today's Snackshot is of a classic margarita. Happy Margarita Day y'all! Ignore the fact that it's February and you probably have a puffy coat on, or within 10 feet of, you. So what it's windy as hell and probably less than freezing? Don't let the weather man get you down. Grab your tequila and Triple Sec and lime and salt and kitchy margarita glasses, turn the heat way up, and look at pictures of the beach. Close enough, right?

Read more about The Daily Meal's Snackshot feature. To submit a photo, email jbruce[at]thedailymeal.com, subject: "Snackshots."

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Snackshot of the Day: Classic Margarita - Recipes

National Margarita Day is February 22nd. Coincidentally, it’s the birthday of George Washington, who never had a tequila drink since Colonials didn’t know about tequila.

The Margarita has become America’s favorite cocktail. Here’s the history of the Margarita.

According to The Nielsen CGA On-Premise Consumer Survey, a snapshot of America’s eating and drinking habits in restaurants and bars.

That makes the Margarita the preference of 60% of Americans: the most popular cocktail in the U.S.

Runners up are the Daiquiri, Piña Colada, Long Island Iced Tea and Mojito.


Is everything with tequila a Margarita? Of course not—although it might seem so, given the number of recipes sent to us called Margarita, but are other tequila cocktails.

It’s a [bad] marketing play: Mixologists know that something called Margarita will sell better. Here’s how to identify a Margarita vs. another tequila drink.

But there are acceptable variations on the Margarita. With only three ingredients (tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice) plus a salt rim, bartenders around the world have the creative license to add fruit purées, chiles and herbs to make Margarita variations.



We’ve just given you a treasure trove of Margarita recipes. So how about planning a Margarita Party?

Any day is good for the party, although February 22nd (National Margarita Day), May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) and July 24th (National Tequila Day) are good candidates.

Here’s how to throw a Margarita party the easy way:

[1] A classic Margarita with a twist: a smoked salt rim (photo courtesy Casa Noble Tequila).

[2] Add some heat here, a Thai Margarita with hibiscus, a Thai chile and black lava salt rim (photo courtesy Miro Kitchen).

[3] A black grape frozen Margarita. Here’s the recipe from the California Table Grape Commission.


For those who prefer a little more sweetness in their margaritas, my favorite Mexican restaurant adds a splash of orange juice. It's not quite as tart and smooths out the drink.

Perfect. But the real Margarita uses lemon, not lime juice

When you say salt for the rim.. which salt? There is sea salt which can be kind of over the top salty, there is manufactured salt that can look like dandruff on the edge of the glass, and imported sea salts from England, Asia and Europe. And then is my favorite, Murray River Salt, a light delicate pink salt flake from Australia that is not too salty.

This recipe is the true margarita recipe. It is truly perfection.

2:1:1 is the golden ratio that I used for years! But it is very strong. I will say that I have mellowed it out a bit with age and now use 1.5:1:1 as my ratio. This results in a slightly less alcoholic taste on the first sip and fewer people who aren't able to put their own PJs on after 1 glass. The key is the simplicity of the ingredients and to not add things that don't belong. Once you master this, restaurant margaritas will all be too sweet and too dilute. A few tips: Cointreau is very expensive, and I've had pretty good success with almost any decent orange liqueur. I like 03 a lot. Just stay away from Triple Sec. The only thing I will sometimes add is some grapefruit bitters. Another fair warning, this is NOT sweet. This is strong and tart. The bitterness cut just enough by the orange liqueur and the salt. If you go in expecting sweetness I think you'll be disappointed. But my mom only likes the cheapest, sweetest wines and she loves this. different expectations.

This is pretty much how I’ve been making my Margaritas. I use only top shelf tequila, pure lime juice and NEVER use triple sec (too sugary). With lime around and kosher salt on the rim it off sets the slight tang. I used to love sweet mixed drinks and sweet wine and then my taste buds matured. If you prefer pure taste over sugary additives then this recipe is perfect.

Finally No preservatives nothing you can't pronounce simple and easy

This is a great Magarita, it's NOT meant to be sweet. If you want sweet try a daquari. No body puts syrup in a Matini. Get over yourself if you don't like it.

I wouldn't change a thing, except I serve it in a traditional champagne coupe not the bathtub used in the picture.

This recipe brings Strong alcohol on the buds. This can be fine at times but I tempered with a generous pinch of brown sugar a tbsp of maple syrup and an ounce of water. Over ice the buds rallied happy for more

Just the way I like it! If you are looking for a sickly sweet, punchy margarita, this is not your recipe. This is the recipe my friend, a bartender in nice New Orleans bars, uses. He says no triple sec in margaritas and no pre made syrups. I find the citrus flavors bright and sophisticated like this and find no need for extra sweetness, but I think if you do, this is a good base recipe to sweeten to your taste. My friend swears you'll never get a hangover from this! )

This is a ɼlassic margarita'. Just like they make it from scratch down I'm Mex. I alter the recipe to 1-1.5 part Tequila, 1 part triple sec/cointreau , 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice. Seems to have a better balance of flavors and tastes more authentic to me. Cheers!

I think this recipe was horrible. Never will make it again. To much tequilla and not enough sweet. No one at party liked it. Was a huge waste of money and good tequila.

I like a little sweetness, too, such as 1 tablespoon of agave syrup. Can substitute Grand Marnier for the Cointreau, but DON'T use triple sec!

Tessaarlen's recipe is perfect. Strong, but perfect :). This recipe, as written, does not work. It needs some sweetness.

This is the real deal. The alcohol isn't hidden behind a bunch of frou-frou flavors and sweetness. That said, I do like it just a wee bit sweeter than this, so I add a little sugar. With that, it's my go-to recipe. The 2-1-1 proportions make it easy to remember and scale up as needed, too.

The perfect classic margarita that tastes like the real thing. I cant stand the nasty margarita mix with tons of gross ingredients. I made no substitutions and this is now the recipe that we use all the time. Quality tequila is a must.

This is the definitive margarita recipe. If you are an aficionado of this drink, this is the only recipe you will ever need. If you want to buy a $12 bottle of tequila, a $6 bottle of triple sec and think this recipe is for frozen margaritas, then you need to keep searching for a different recipe.

I've tried this and it's too astringent. Try this: juice 6 limes & 6 lemons & add to pitcher make 1 cup simple syrup (1 cup sugar & 1 cup water, bring to boil then cool) add to pitcher add 1/2 cup triple sec, add 1/4 cup orange juice. This is enough mix for 1 bottle of Sauza Gold Tequila (mix equal parts).

Why ruin a margarita with limeade?and Triple Sec is just a hangover waiting to happen. Try this: 1/8 cup of gave nectar diluted with 1/8 cup water. Why agave nectar? because it is a pure sugar - no hangover. 3/4 cup of 100% agave tequila (agave tequila is pure so nohangovers. 1/4 cup of cointreau (never use triple sec) 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed limes - not botled juice no limeade - just fresh limes. Mix together pour over ice, salt the rim of your favorite tequila glass and there you go. Enough for two.

Yikes, being a native Texas, I've had a few good margaritas. This is not one of them. Too much "doctoring" to make this worth drinking.

Can't make one Margarita. Must make pitcher and freeze over night. doesn't really freeze. One bottle tequila, (your choice brand) One can frozen Limeade plus one can of water or more. 2 cups Triple Sec or 2 cups Cointreau. Stir, of course, and freeze over night. Buy some Tequilla salt or course salt for rim. Serve in Margarita-salt rimmed glass moistened with fresh sliced limes.None better.

Perfect. This is a classic margarita. Delicious.

An excellent balance of sweet and tart. This is the perfect margarita recipe.

I liked this as a substitue for disgusting margarita mix! It was just the right amount of sweet. I used slightly less tequila though because the first two I made were too strong. I used triple sec because that was all I had on hand.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 pinch coarse sea salt to taste
  • 1 large ice cube
  • ice
  • 2 fluid ounces white tequila
  • 1 ½ fluid ounces triple sec
  • 1 fluid ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 slice lime

Moisten the rim of a glass with a lime wedge. Sprinkle salt onto a plate. Lightly dip the moistened rim into the salt. Place a large ice cube in the glass and freeze the prepared glass until ready to serve.

Fill a cocktail shaker with fresh ice. Add tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Cover and shake vigorously until outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with a slice of lime.

For the best results, be sure to use fresh ice, fresh limes, and a nice bottle of triple sec, like Cointreau(R). You'll also want to use a decent 100% agave white tequila, like the Don Abraham's Single Estate Blanco Tequila I enjoyed, but having said that, feel free to use one with a shorter name.

Some like to add a dash of agave nectar for a little extra sweetness, but I do not.

Avocado Pineapple Margarita

The combination of avocado and pineapple in a margarita may not be something you'd think to do, but once you give it a try, we're sure this will be a new staple. This cocktail brings together so many Mexican flavors, even beyond the avocado and pineapple. We're talking chili powder, lime, and, of course, tequila.

Get our recipe for Avocado Pineapple Margarita.

The Classic 3-2-1 Margarita

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An easy way to remember how to mix a classic margarita is to memorize the ratio 3-2-1: three parts tequila, two parts good triple sec (like Luxardo Triplum, Cointreau, or Combier), and one part lime juice. Serve it on the rocks with salt, as pictured, or serve it up in a chilled glass. If you like your margaritas on the sour side, try our Perfect Margarita. Mixing for a party? Check out our Pitcher-Perfect Margarita for how to please a crowd. And for those times when you crave a good old frozen margarita, mix up a batch of Strawberry Margaritas.

What to buy: Make sure to use a good-tasting triple sec (we like Luxardo Triplum—for a primer, see Jordan Mackay’s “Something Orange”).

Make it easier on yourself by using one of these five easy drink delivery apps.

What to buy

Zulay Metal Citrus Press/Juicer

A manual citrus press is all you need for small amounts of juice this one is sturdy metal that doesn't take up much space or require much force to get every last drop from your fruit.

National Margarita Day- Classic Margarita Recipe

¡Hola amigos, feliz día nacional margarita! This is one made up holiday I can get behind (and I can put to use my almost-forgotten high school Spanish.) I have always been confused why Margarita Day is not on Cinco de Mayo- obviously when the most margs are consumed. All well, I guess we just have an extra excuse to make these salty, tart tipples and feast on some guac (I don’t think you can have margaritas with out guacamole, it’s sacrilegious).

The Margarita is often miss understood. And by misunderstood I mean made very, very wrong. Hotel pool bars monopolize on this familiar drink and turn it into an unrecognizable, sugar-saturated mess. Spurted out from icy machines that are pumped with sour mix and who knows what else, they do not resemble the carefully crafted cocktail they are named for. Not that frozen drinks can’t be well made (I actually just had a frozen daiquiri #3 from Alamo Drafthouse the other day that was out of this world), but they usually just are not properly balanced. Besides, when did Margaritas becoming frozen drinks? What about the perfectly good Margarita on the rocks, the classic way to enjoy this summery drink?

I prefer my Margaritas with ice. You can enjoy the merger of flavors better this way. Earthy tequila, tart lime, subtle sweetness from the agave, and the occasional salty notes as you sip- perfection! I actually like to add pinches of salt to the shaker to distribute the saltiness in each sip vs. putting it on the glass, but the salt rim is iconic and makes for a pretty presentation so use what ever method you wish.

Will you be celebrating this boozy holiday with the classic or a twist on the tequila tipple? Stat tuned for more variations on this classic cocktail today!

For more cocktails, you can find me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat (@ashroseconway)

A Word About Tequila

One of the reasons margaritas are so good is that this cocktail is built on simplicity, good ingredients, and balance. To authentically enjoy a margarita, one must appreciate tequila – a distilled spirit made from the blue agave plant in the Mexican city of and near Tequila (yes, it’s a place).

There are 200 types of agaves found in Mexico, and they are classified much like fine wines. Tequila that is labeled 100% de Agave can only be bottled in Mexico. It refers to being made from the blue agave plant and does not have added sugars. Mix to refers to tequila that is made with blue agave plus non-agave sugars such as sugar cane. These are usually simply labeled Tequila.

Pick a Tequila

Rule numero uno? Always, always choose a bottle marked “100 percent agave.” This means you’re getting pure tequila, without additives like cane sugar or even other types of liquor. Plus, it tastes better and may lessen your hangover (sign us up!).

Beyond that, it’s really about preference: Blanco and silver tequilas are completely unaged so they’ll add a bright-and-fresh flavor to your drink. (They also score extra points as Bayless’ personal margarita faves.) For a smooth, mellow cocktail, opt for a reposado tequila. If you go for super-rich flavors, you can try an aged añejo. (This variety is the most pricey, though, so you might want to save it to sip on the rocks.)

Celebrate National Margarita Day with this classic recipe

Although margaritas are often relegated to breezy spring happy hours and sipping near the beach, the drink’s official day of recognition is on February 22. The chilly weather and freshly fallen snow might have you daydreaming about hot cocoa and Irish coffee, but sometimes the only way to beat the cold is to transport your mind to summer and no drink does that better than a margarita.

If you don’t want to venture out to your favorite Mexican restaurant to get a marg, you can easily make one just as high quality from the comfort of your home. All you need for the foundation of any good margarita is four ingredients: tequila, triple sec, lime juice and ice.

Just add the ingredients to a cocktail tin, give it a good shake back and forth until the metal is cold, then strain the mixture into a glass with fresh ice. This will give you a classic, fresh lime margarita suitable for any tequila lover. But if you want to sprinkle a little extra magic into your marg try some of these additions that will make the cocktail really shine.

Pureed Fruit

If you’re not a huge fan of tequila, an easy way to mask the somewhat pungent alcohol is to sweeten it up with pureed fruit, like mango, pineapple or strawberry. The sugary sweetness from the fruit complements the tart citrus flavors of the lime and orange liqueur. Add your chosen fruit into a blender with simple syrup and lime juice. Blend until smooth, then taste the puree and adjust the simple syrup and lime juice accordingly. Once the fruit is pureed just scoop about two tablespoons into a cocktail shaker with the rest of the ingredients, shake until well combined and strain over a glass with fresh ice.


If you like sweet drinks but you don’t want to use fruit (which can sometimes mask the sought after flavor of a margarita), try using agave instead. Agave nectar comes from the agave plant and is sometimes used as a substitute for honey or maple syrup. Because tequila is distilled from the blue agave plant, it’s sort of a no brainer that agave nectar would work well as a natural sweetener in a margarita. Just add one tablespoon of agave to a cocktail shaker with tequila, triple sec and lime juice, shake, strain and enjoy!


Who doesn’t need a little spice in their life from time to time? If you’re not down with cocktails of the fruity variety, you can still get creative with your margarita. For all of you hot sauce loving, hot pepper eating, want to burn a little bit of your taste buds off people — you can bring that same energy to your marg with one simple ingredient: jalapenos. Just slice, deseed and muddle a few slices of the pepper into a cocktail shaker. Fill the tin with the rest of your ingredients, shake, and strain over a glass with fresh ice. The heat from the pepper will pair perfectly with some tacos or chips and guacamole.

Grand Marnier

Orange liqueur (orange flavored and sweetened alcohol) is a staple ingredient in any margarita. But each version of it has a different level of sweetness that can change the flavor profile of your margarita. Triple sec is possibly the most well-known type of orange liqueur, so much so that it’s become a generic way of referring to the alcohol. Triple sec is made with sweet and bitter oranges, which gives it a very poignant orange, citrusy flavor that can make your margarita light and fragrant. But if you want something a bit heavier with hints of oakiness, try using Grand Marnier, which is made with cognac and bitter oranges. Grand Marnier can be enjoyed in a rocks glass neat, but when added to your margarita it will make the cocktail heavier and sweeter.


Margaritas are already a refreshing cocktail, but one way to make the beverage shine even brighter is to add cucumber to the ingredients list. Not only is the water based fruit absolutely revitalizing but its cool flavor will add a nice touch to your marg without loading it with extra sugar. You can even try adding coconut water with the cucumber, like this recipe does, to guarantee you won’t get a National Margarita Day hangover. But if the idea of having a margarita on a Monday is a little too agressive for you, check out some of these low-alcohol cocktails that are equally as delicious.

Classic Margarita



Step 1: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces silver tequila, 1 ounce triple sec and 1 ounce lime juice. Shake vigorously.

Step 2: Rub a lime wedge around your cocktail glass and dip the glass in salt for a salt rim (optional). Then fill the glass with fresh ice and strain the margarita mixture into the glass.

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