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Since it’s Cinco de Mayo and everything, I figured I’d post the margarita we use at the bar. I worked on my margarita recipe for a long time until I found that perfect balance between sweet, sour and strong. It’s been very good to us over the years.

I learned early on the famous 2:1:1 formula for all things sour. That’s two parts strong, one part sweet, one part sour. But it doesn’t always work when you’re using a liqueur as a sweetener (and nevermind the fact that if you simply deduce that as two ounces, one ounce, one ounce, the drink is positively huge)

So I found that rejiggering (pun intended) those proportions into 1½:¾:¾ and hitting it with a teaspoon of simple syrup (whether it’s sugar or agave or maple, etc) was the trick to a well-balanced cocktail. Try it sometime with your favorite “International Sour”, as Gary Regan calls them.

And if you’d like to make enough of these to fuel a party, then I strongly advise you check out my How to Make a Gallon of Margaritas post.

Margarita Print Me

  • 1½ oz tequila
  • ¾ oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker
  2. Shake with ice until cold
  3. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with ice (salted rim optional)
  4. Garnish with a lime and enjoy!

Recipe printed courtesy of

19 Replies to “Margarita”

  • Dave says:

    I’ve been using this recipe for years, and it always makes a great margarita. But it’s always struck me as funny that you “rejigger” the traditional 2:1:1 recipe with a recipe that is… still 2:1:1. I mean, 1-1/2 is double 3/4, yes? Anyway, you are always my go-to when I need a great recipe for any cocktail –thanks!

    • Why does that strike you as funny? Four ounces of Margarita, shaken, doesn’t fit into most standard Old Fashioned glasses. This three-ounce build is much more modest and contains a much more reasonable amount of 80 proof liquor.

  • Sarah says:

    So curious about when triple sec/ Cointreau was deemed unsavory? I think people are confused and the part of the shitty margarita that they don’t like is the commercial sweet and sour mix and not the Orange liqueur

  • Serge says:

    I think you could substitute 2 teaspoons of agave nectar for the whole Cointreau and syrup.

  • Rahul Bhagwat says:

    Could we substitute agave nectar for the simple syrup, and if so will a teaspoon be too much?

  • Mike says:

    Thank you very much!

  • Mike says:

    Thanks for this! Does Grand Marnier work in place of Cointreau or will that throw the flavor off too much? I’d like to make both anejo and blanco tequila based margaritas and wanted something that would play well with either

    • Mike – Grand Marnier is fantastic in a Margarita but keep in mind that the base is Cognac, not a neutral base like Cointreau. So you’ll be bringing additional flavors to the party. I love a Margarita served Cadillac style, with a little float of Grand Marnier on top or on the side.

  • Amelia says:

    Would this work with Mezcal?

  • David Allen says:

    I am also curious about the Lemon and Lime combo vs the recipe in your book.

  • Gerd says:


    in your (awesome, btw) book you published a simpler Margarita recipe:

    1 1/2 oz tequila
    3/4 oz Cointreau
    3/4 oz lime juice
    1 tsp 2:1 syrup

    – so you now prefer this version over the Margarita with lemon and lime?

  • James says:

    I’ve been struggling to get a good margarita mix down. I think this nails it. Thanks!

  • Piotr says:

    This is the best Margarita I have ever drunk. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  • Josh says:

    I present the Monkey-butt Margarita:

    Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  • karama says:

    I usually have a Richmond Gimlet but last night you made a margarita for me and it was one of the best I have had.
    I can always count on you to satisfy!


  • I know they’re a pain to juice, but I find I can almost entirely skip the sugar if I use Mexican limes (aka key limes). They used to be impossible to get, but at a few markets they’re actually cheaper than regular limes.

    I picked up the tip from a cookbook from a woman who spent a lot of time in various regions of Mexico, who pointed out that the smaller Mexican limes tend to be a bit sweeter. The aroma is a bit more interesting, too. Her ratios were otherwise pretty similar to yours, which are plenty potent, and I like the balance of acid.

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