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Classic Margaritas

Classic Margaritas

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Servings: 2

There are as many tales about who first concocted that most popular tequila drink, the margarita, as there are variations on making one. Since the drinking of mezcal and tequila with citrus juice has been around for centuries, and a lick of salt is a traditional accompaniment, only a slight modification was necessary to change this most Mexican of flavors into one of today's favorite cocktails.

To add your signature to the classic margarita, begin with this basic recipe and then try one or more of the following:

  • Substitute another fruit liqueur for the Cointreau (orange liqueur).
  • Substitute orange juice or another fruit juice for the lime juice (match it to the fruit liqueur you choose).
  • Add freshly ground pepper or finely grated lime zest to the margarita salt.
  • Add a dash of Tabasco sauce to the finished margarita.


  • 3 oz. tequila blanco
  • 1 oz. Cointreau or triple sec
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup coarsely cracked ice
  • Coarse sea salt for coating rims of glasses
  • Several lime wedges


In a cocktail shaker or a jar with a lid, combine the tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and ice. Shake 12 to 15 times. Remember, the more you shake, the more the ice will diffuse into the drink.

Spread salt on a small, flat plate. Moisten the rims of two 6-oz. glasses, preferably long-stemmed, with the lime wedges and invert onto the plate of salt, then shake off any excess. Strain the margarita mixture into the glasses and serve immediately. Serves 2.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Mexico, by Marilyn Tausend (Time-Life Books, 2000).