No one really knows exactly who made the first margarita or how it got its name. It’s little matter, though, as today there are dozens of variations on the classic cocktail enjoyed around the world. These vary from the premade and powered mixes to frozen concoctions with a wide range of flavors. The easiest way to make a margarita is to keep it simple and work with good quality ingredients.


About the only constant in today’s margarita is tequila. Just about any kind can be used. However, when making a simple, easy margarita, a high quality tequila is essential. Aged tequila, called “reposado” if aged less than a year or “aƱejo” if aged more than a year, is usually the finest. If a high quality tequila cannot be procured, it should be masked in a frozen or highly flavored cocktail. But, if you have good liquor, a simple, basic margarita is anywhere from 33 to 60 percent tequila depending on your taste.

Lime (or Lemon)

In Mexico, where tequila originates, tequila is traditionally drank with a lemon or lime. In some margarita recipes, frozen or powdered lime juice concentrate is used. The easiest, and best tasting way, however, is to simply squeeze the juice fresh. The choice of fruit will have a big impact on the final taste. Lemons, especially the sweet Meyer variety, have a milder taste. Among limes, the Persian is the most common used in America, though smaller, more tart key limes are the common variety in Mexico. Any of these fruits can be used, and the juice should be added to taste–comprising anywhere from 20 to 33 percent of the cocktail.

Citrus Liqueur

The final ingredient of an easy margarita is any of a variety of orange-flavored liqueurs. Triple Sec is a common brand, but Cointreau or Grand Marnier can also be used. The liqueur is usually added in equal measure to the lime or lemon juice. Alternatively, other fruit juices can be substituted for the orange-flavored liqueur. To modify the flavor a little more subtly, liqueurs with other flavors, like Chambord, can be added in addition to an orange-flavored liqueur. Shake and serve cold over ice in a salt-rimmed glass, with an optional fruit garnish.