Perfect Margarita

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Photo: Leigh Loftus

When I was in college, there was a bar near my school that had half-priced happy hour from 4-6pm. Predictably, Fridays (and the occasional Wednesday or Thursday) could find a group of my friends and classmates gathered around the bar for 22-ounce draft beers or three dollar frozen margaritas.

As much fun as it was to gossip and laugh over cheap tequila, I can’t say that I miss those margaritas at all. Not one bit. In fact, now that I live in a city where authentic margaritas are as readily available as lattes from Starbucks, the last thing I would ever crave is a syrupy sweet frozen beverage made from a shelf-stable mix.


Photo: Leigh Loftus

Unless I was on a beach in some tropical destination getting said beverages from a swim-up bar. I would make an exception for that. Until I find myself on that beach in paradise, simple is the way to go when it comes to a margarita. Margaritas are way easier to make at home than most beverages, as aside from the alcohol all you need is lime juice and agave nectar (which you can always find at Whole Foods, if not your local grocery store).

Though a lot of people like margaritas frozen or on the rocks, serving them straight up – martini style – is a great way to enjoy the flavor of the cocktail from start to finish – no melting ice to water it down.


Photo: Leigh Loftus

Perfect Margarita
Recipe type: Things to Drink
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 1½ oz. lime juice (juice from one lime)
  • ΒΎ oz. pure, organic agave nectar
  • ΒΎ oz. cold water
  • 1½ oz. Tequila Blanco [aka white tequila - you want a clear one instead of the caramel colored]
  • Salt (for the rim)
  1. Place a handful of ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and add all four ingredients. Shake vigorously and serve up,Β  chilled in a glass rimmed with salt.

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  • Reply
    How to Stock Your Basic Bar Cart for Entertaining
    March 21, 2017 at 10:20 am

    […] Perfect Margarita […]

  • Reply
    Hillary Garland
    February 21, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    No doubt about it! You would have been Archie’s favorite!

  • Reply
    February 21, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I think this is the original Skinny Girl Margarita recipe !

  • Reply
    May 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    But one important consideration, at least in my long experience of margaritas: only put the salt on the outside of the glass, not on the inside where it will spoil the drink. I chill the glass in the freezer, then take it out so that a little moisture condenses on it. I then invert it in a dish of salt (which, incidentally, I grind to a fine powder with a mortar and pestle) and wipe away whatever sticks to the inside of the glass with a towel.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    This does sound like the perfect margarita! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

  • Reply
    5 Star foodie
    May 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Happy Cinco de Mayo, that Margarita cocktail looks perfect indeed!

  • Reply
    May 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    A good margarita is the perfect way to start the summer, even if Spring has only just arrived:D Here comes the weekend!

  • Reply
    May 5, 2011 at 9:38 am

    it does look perfect!

  • Reply
    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat)
    May 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I want one of those pronto. Is it acceptable to drink one before 11am? πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    This is making me very anxious for Cinco de Mayo! I definitely agree with your comment re serving margaritas martini style; much more flavorful since they’re not watered down.

  • Reply
    Ali Grace
    May 4, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Margaritas are my absolute fave! Thanks for this super simple recipe. I’ll definitely be giving it a try. Although it may be a complete sacrilege… my friends and I like to add a little sprite zero for some fizzy action. Give it a try one day. It’s pretty fun. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

  • Reply
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet
    May 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    This sounds so much better than the generic overly sweet margaritas! Perfect for tomorrow!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I lived in AZ for many years, and you’d be surprised at how many bad margaritas I had. Way too sweet! But a good margarita…there’s nothing like it. And yours looks fab.

  • Reply
    emily (a nutritionist eats)
    May 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I don’t really “like” margaritas but I feel like that may be because I’ve never had a really good one…I need some good tequila! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Samantha @ Bikini Birthday
    May 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I usually do triple sec, gold tequila, and limeade. Yours sounds classier though. Why no triple sec? I thought that was standard

    • Reply
      Maris Callahan
      May 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      I skip the triple sec because the lime juice adds plenty of citrus flavor – and has less calories. If you wanted to add the orange flavor to this recipe, you could definitely add 1/2 – 1 ounce of triple sec or cointreau in the cocktail shaker and I’m sure it would be great.

  • Reply
    Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday
    May 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I usually do triple sec, gold tequila, and limeade. Yours sounds classier though. Why no triple sec? I thought that was standard.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Yum. When I hear stories like this it makes it clear to me how atypical my college experience was from most other people’s. For whatever reason, bars in Boston never seemed to have happy hours & drink specials. Drinking as a college student was always so expensive!

    This makes me think though that after the blogger bake sale is over we may need to meet up again for another cocktail…

  • Reply
    Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet
    May 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I have never made Margaritas with agave nectar and now that I think of it, I don’t know why not. This is one of my all time favorite drinks to make and I can’t remember the last one I truly enjoyed in a restaurant. Straight up or on the rocks with a splash of Grand Marnier and a sunny deck (or pool!). Perfect.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    These look delicious! One more day!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    now this sounds perfect. I love margaritas, but only homemade! I hate how sweet and syrupy mixes are – they aren’t anywhere near as good as a fresh, simply, homemade one.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    These are so refreshing and I prefer them straight up and straight down the hatch πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Yum! This marg definitely looks perfect! I think I will be whiping up a batch of these for tomorrow!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    hmnn, no orange liqueor? as I’m a big margarita fan, will definitely be revisiting this page!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    What an absolutely incredible yummy and refreshing drink! I like frozen over the rocks but with this I would take it any way when or how

  • Reply
    Sophia @ Raven Waves
    May 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Absolutely love margaritas!! Woo Cinco de Mayo is almost here!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I’ve never been able to get into margaritas…but maybe its because the only kind I’ve ever tried are the syrupy/fake kinds from college πŸ™‚ Looks like a great recipe. Perfect for Cinco πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I’ve known people who would bulk buy just before happy hour ends, so the happiness continues well beyond:)

    I have given your blog an award. I am not sure if this excites you or not!:) Anyway, to receive the award, please visit

  • Reply
    alyssa - fashion fitness foodie
    May 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

    We’re having a cinco de mayo party tomorrow! If we run out of skinny girl margaritas we’ll be making these πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I love maragritas frozen with fruit! A rare treat due to the calorie count!

  • Reply
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    May 4, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Hi Maris! Yum! I’d love to try your “perfect” margarita. Sounds great! Keeping the recipe in my folder. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I miss those days when booze was cheap too, well at least on certain days πŸ˜› I like margaritas served martini-style too.

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