For those of us with a sweet tooth, this slightly sweet margarita on the rocks is the perfect spin on a classic margarita. A sugared rim and a bit of agave syrup help to balance the tequila's bite and the lime juice's tartness for a margarita that's a little more mellow and sweet. This simple cocktail recipe serves one but can be easily multiplied for a crowd (margarita pitchers, anyone?)!
A classic margarita is a simple cocktail that's easy to make at home, no fancy bartending skills necessary! It requires just three ingredients: tequila, orange liqueur (like Triple Sec), and lime juice - and you can jazz it up with a salted (or sugared) rim, a bit of agave, and a slice of fresh lime.
Some people may claim certain ratios of ingredients to be the "right" way to make a margarita, but I say do what you like! This version uses more lime juice and less Triple Sec than average, making for a slightly more citrusy and less boozy cocktail. A sugared rim and a bit of agave make this drink subtly (not overly) sweet.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Silver Tequila - Silver tequila (also called blanco tequila) is a clear, un-aged (or minimally aged) tequila. Use a quality tequila for the best flavor.
Triple Sec - This orange liqueur balances the tartness of the lime juice. You can substitute other orange liquors like Cointreau or Grand Marnier. You can also replace with orange juice, especially if you prefer to go a little lighter on the alcohol.
Lime Juice - Lime juice is central to the flavor of a margarita, and fresh-squeezed lime juice will taste the best!
Agave Syrup - Agave syrup is a liquid sweetener that - like tequila - comes from the agave plant. Agave can typically be found with other sweeteners in the baking aisle of your local grocery store. You can substitute simple syrup or honey (note that honey will be more difficult to mix into the drink since it is thicker).
Turbinado Sugar - This coarse, less-refined sugar looks great on the rim of a glass. Check out the FAQs below for some other options.
Ice Cubes - You'll need some ice cubes for shaking the cocktail and more for filling the glass. Be sure that you're using fresh ice cubes, as ice can absorb odors from foods in the freezer over time.
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for full ingredient list and measurements.
In addition to essential kitchen equipment (like liquid measuring cups or a cutting board), I recommend some special tools for making this recipe.
- A cocktail shaker, for mixing the drink. If you don't have one you can use a small whisk or a spoon to mix the drink well instead, though shaking the ingredients together with ice will yield the best result.
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: Rub a lime wedge around the rim or side of a glass and then dip the glass onto a plate covered with sugar to coat. Fill glass with ice cubes.
Step 2: Add the lime juice, tequila, triple sec, and agave syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well blended.
Step 3: Strain cocktail into glass with ice.
Step 2: Garnish with a lime wedge, and enjoy!
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for detailed recipe instructions.
With just a few straightforward ingredients, every ingredient counts. Find a good quality tequila that you like (Espolòn is my favorite), and be sure to use freshly squeezed lime juice (lime juice concentrate just doesn't have the same great taste). And don't be afraid to play around with the ratios of ingredients to create a drink that's just right for you.
The ice in the cocktail serves two purposes: it chills the drink and it helps to mix the ingredients together while the cocktail is being shaken, so be sure to add plenty of ice to the shaker. This is why shaking the drink in a cocktail shaker is preferable to simply stirring the drink.
You'll need a bit of liquid on the glass for the sugar to stick to. Lime juice is an obvious choice since we're already working with limes to make the cocktail, but you could also use a bit of agave syrup, simple syrup, or honey. Be sure to use just enough liquid to wet the rim or side of the glass; if the liquid is running down the side of the glass, the sugar will too.
Turbinado sugar is a great choice for adding to the rim of a cocktail glass because its large crystals are eye-catching and it's lightly caramel-y flavor is delicious. Granulated sugar, brown sugar, or superfine (not powdered) sugar are also good options.
Make Ahead & Storage Instructions
If you want to scale up this recipe and prepare a pitcher of margaritas ahead of time, combine lime juice, tequila, triple sec, and agave syrup in a pitcher and stir well to blend. Chill the cocktail in the fridge until you're ready to serve (or up to 12 hours). When you're ready to serve, garnish the glasses and fill them with ice. Give the cocktail in the pitcher a good stir to re-mix the ingredients and pour the cocktail into the prepared glasses over ice.
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Classic and Sweet Margarita
- Cocktail shaker
- 1 lime wedge, for coating rim of glass with sugar and for garnish
- turbinado sugar, for coating rim of glass
- 1 ½ ounces fresh lime juice
- 1 ½ ounces silver tequila
- ¾ ounce triple sec
- ½ ounce agave syrup
- ice cubes
- Rub a lime wedge around the rim or side of a glass and then dip the glass onto a plate covered with sugar to coat. Fill glass with ice cubes.
- Add the lime juice, tequila, triple sec, and agave syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well blended.
- Strain cocktail into glass with ice.
- Garnish with a lime wedge, and enjoy!