The true Margarita—a blend of fresh lime juice, tequila and orange liqueur with an optional sweetener—is a potent, well-built entry in the cocktail canon. Plenty claim credit for its invention: a restaurateur based south of Tijuana in the 1930s, a socialite in Acapulco in the 1940s. Others believe it evolved as a south-of-the-border twist on the then-popular Daisy (the Spanish word for “daisy” is “Margarita,” after all), dreamed up during Prohibition when Americans would travel abroad to drink. The Margarita was named Esquire’s cocktail of the month in December 1953, and it has hardly flagged in popularity since, rising in stature alongside tequila, which got a pop-culture boost from the Eagles (“Tequila Sunrise”), Rolling Stones (the Cocaine and Tequila Sunrise Tour of ’72), and of course, Jimmy Buffet (“Margaritaville”).
- 1 1/2 ounces blanco tequlia
- 3/4 ounce orange liqueur (preferably Cointreau)
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
Garnish: salt for rimming (optional), and a lime wedge
- Prepare a coupe, cocktail or rocks glass with a salted rim if desired.
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
- Add ice and shake until chilled.
- Strain into prepared coupe or cocktail glass, or over ice into prepared rocks glass.
- Garnish with a lime wedge.
If using an orange liqueur other than Cointreau, like Combier, adjust the lime juice up or down according to the liqueur’s sweetness. Some of us like salt on a Margarita, some don’t. To make everyone happy, salt just one half of the glass. On the rocks, or up—it’s up to you.