The Best Margarita Recipes You Need In Your Life Right Now

If there was ever a time the world needed a decadent, ice-cold margarita, it’s now. 2020 has been a bit of a colossal mess so far. And her immediate future isn’t looking so hot, either.

But chin up. Sometimes, you just need to take a deep breath, focus on what you can control, and pour yourself a cocktail. I’m here for you, friend.

See, I fancy myself an amateur mixologist. (I’ve spent the better part of the last decade attempting to perfect the classic Manhattan. More on that another day…)

Today, I’m sharing my best margarita recipe — plus a few other favorite summer cocktails — perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon or a socially-distanced garden hang with friends.

This post covers the basics of what makes the best margarita, pro tips to get the perfect salt rim, and a few delicious twists on this classic summer cocktail. All ingredients are available at your local booze superstore and, most importantly, easy to whip up on a whim. So settle in and check out my go-to recipes for the best margaritas below.

A note on how to salt the rim of a margarita glass

First, I have some thoughts about that salt rim. Some people love it, some people don’t. But there’s a reason why margaritas are served with salt. In short, it brings balance to the other ingredients: the tart lime juice, sweet juices or liqueurs, and the heat of the tequila. The trick is in the application.

For the perfectly prepared margarita glass:

  • Only rim half of the glass. This gives you control over the salt/margarita ratio as you sip. It also prevents a sloppy pour when serving. Just pour into the unsalted side of the glass and wipe up any drips easily, leaving your salt rim intact.
  • Pour a thin layer of salt on a small plate. Ideally, this plate is just slightly larger than the glass rim.
  • Use the right salt! It matters what type of salt you use for margaritas. The larger flakes of kosher salt make a perfect salt rim. Sea salt works, too, in a pinch. But never use regular table salt — it’s way too salty and the texture isn’t quite right.
  • Use a lime wedge. Rub a lime wedge around half of the rim, on the outside only. This gives you much more control than dipping into lime juice.
  • Roll with it, baby! Dip the edge of your glass in the salt and roll from side to side for an even coating.

Now that you know how to create the perfect salt rim for your margarita, fill the glass with ice to cool it down as you prep one of these delicious summer cocktails.

The Best Skinny Margarita Recipe

I prefer my margaritas clean and simple. Not too sweet and easy to sip. The key to a perfect margarita is fresh, high-quality ingredients. This means freshly-squeezed citrus juice and 100% agave tequila. No well liquor allowed, friends.

This skinny marg is my go-to for hot days when you just need a little refresher in the shade.

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 oz top shelf Silver/Blanco Tequila (I like Don Julio or Espoló )
  • 1 ½ oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon light agave nectar
  • Splash of club soda
  • Lime slice for garnish

Instructions:

  • Prepare your glass with a salted rim and ice as directed above.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in tequila, freshly squeezed juices and agave nectar. Lid and shake for about 30 seconds.
  • Strain into prepared glass and garnish with lime slice.

Feeling Spicy? Enter: The Smoky Jalapeño Paloma

Ok, so it’s not technically a margarita. But this fiery twist on a classic paloma is one of my favorites, so I had to share it with you. Made with smoky mezcal and jalapeño-infused simple syrup, this spicy summer cocktail packs some heat, so tread lightly. Not a mezcal fan? No problem — sub your favorite tequila instead.

Jalapeño simple syrup:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers (depending on desired heat) 
  • ½ tablespoon lime juice 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Deseed and thinly slice jalapeño(s)
  2. Put water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Once sugar is dissolved, stir in salt, sliced jalapeño, and lime juice.
  4. Remove from heat and let steep for about 20 mins. 
  5. Once liquid has cooled to room temp, pour through a mesh strainer into storage container. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. Stored in an airtight container and refrigerated, syrup will last about 1 month.

Paloma Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • Tajin seasoning
  • 2 oz mezcal (I prefer Quiéreme Mucho)
  • 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz jalapeño simple syrup
  • Splash of grapefruit sparkling water 
  • Grapefruit slice & jalapeño slice for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Prepare your glass as directed above but use 50/50 mix of salt and Tajin for rim 
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in tequila, freshly-squeezed juices, and simple syrup. Lid and shake for about 30 seconds. 
  3. Strain into prepared glass and garnish with grapefruit and jalapeño slices.

A Guilty Pleasure Twist on the Classic Margarita: The Cadillac

This indulgent margarita is very similar to the skinny but with a few key upgrades. Warning: it’s full-calorie, but well worth the splurge alongside a meal of homemade tacos or chicken mole.

Ingredients: 

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 oz well-aged Reposado Tequila (I prefer Don Abraham or Casamigos) 
  • 1 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1 ½  fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon light agave nectar
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Prepare your glass with a salted rim and ice as directed above.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in tequila, liqueur, freshly squeezed juices and agave nectar. Lid and shake for about 30 seconds. 
  3. Strain into prepared glass and garnish with lime slice.

Your New Favorite Frozen Margarita: The Frozen Cantaloupe

Now I’m not traditionally a frozen margarita guy, but this summer cocktail is the exception. A dear family friend shared the base recipe with me years ago and it’s one that I cherish, both because of the personal connection and because it’s a big crowd-pleaser. I’ve tried and tested various iterations and landed on cantaloupe as the secret ingredient. It gives these frozen margs a creamy texture and balances out the sweetness.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can frozen limeade  
  • 1 cup Reposado Tequila (I use Cazadores)
  • ¼ cup Amaretto (Yup, that’s right, Amaretto!)
  • ½ fresh cantaloupe, cut into large pieces
  • 3-4 cups ice

Instructions:

  1. No need for a salt rim or advance glass-cooling here. *Pro tip: If you’ve got a melon baller handy, toss a few canteloupe orbs in each glass. They create a frosty garnish that’s super delish and unexpected.
  2. Add can of frozen limeade to blender. Pour in liquid ingredients and top with cantaloupe pieces and ice. Blend until smooth (I use puree mode on my Vitamix).
  3. Serves about 6-10, depending on how heavy you pour.

Just because summer feels different this year doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of it. In fact, I think now’s the perfect time to treat yo’ self with a refreshing summer cocktail.

And follow me and My LA Lifestyle & stay connected!

Cheers!!

XO,
PE

P.S. I’d love to know what you think! Follow me on Instagram and let me know your favorite!

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