A Real Margarita

Rarely do I order a margarita at a restaurant. Unless it’s a Mexican restaurant with top-shelf margaritas shaken to order by a bartender, they tend to be heavy on the sweet-and-sour-mix.

What that means is the following:
1. You don’t taste the tequila.
2. Your mouth puckers from the sweet-sour.
3. You invariably get a headache.

So typically I make margaritas at home, although I limit myself to two drinks. I don’t have any bad college memories of tequila overindulgence, because I didn’t drink back then. But I’ve probably heard too many scary stories from other folks, that help me maintain a healthy respect for tequila’s powers.

Although I don’t really enjoy the taste of booze, even vodka, I do like tequila. I’d never drink it straight, but I also don’t want to ruin it with disgusting margarita mix. I’ve searched long and hard for a good, reliable margarita recipe.

Lo and behold, enter my friends, man and wife, both great bartenders and hosts.

This post is thanks to them, and their margarita recipe that they’re allowing me to share with the world!!! I have no idea if it’s a common recipe or not, but most all margarita recipes include sweet and sour mix, simple syrup, or sugar. So trust me, if you like a good, strong, but also refreshing margarita, this recipe is perfect!

Just remember: tequila can creep up on you!

The recipe is this simple. Equal parts tequila, orange liqueur, and fresh lime juice. That’s it. The lime juice provides the tartness and freshness, the liqueur adds just enough sweetness, and the tequila, well that’s the booze.

Of course, a margarita isn’t a margarita without the lime and salt rim.

Start by squeezing limes. You may think you have a lot, but you may barely have enough. Trust me on this. (My husband squeezed 32 limes on Cinco de Mayo for our pitcher of margaritas for four people!)

I ended up with 4 ounces of lime juice, so to it I added 4 ounces each of tequila and orange liqueur. I recommend either Cointreau or Grand Marnier. For tequila I stick with Patron.

Have your glasses ready with salted rims, then fill with ice cubes.

Pour in the margarita.


Of course these margaritas could also be blended with ice, but I prefer mine on the rocks.

On a hot day, there’s no better drink than a margarita, but not if they’re cloyingly sweet.

If you want a special treat, top the margarita off with a Chambord floater! And thank my same friends for this unique twist on a margarita.

By Published On: June 16th, 201752 Comments on A Real Margarita

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Linda Duffin June 16, 2017 at 7:12 AM - Reply

    Oh my goodness, that sounds delicious. Get squeezing those limes, I’m booking a flight!

  2. Cocoa & Lavender June 16, 2017 at 8:16 AM - Reply

    I am with you, Mimi – even most Mexican restaurants here are now using a sour mix. Awful! Margaritas (I will have to try your version) are to be made at home or ordered in only a handful of restaurants!

    • chef mimi June 16, 2017 at 11:10 AM - Reply

      Exactly. Sometimes they even call them top-shelf but they’re not good.

  3. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso June 16, 2017 at 12:22 PM - Reply

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who can’t find a decent Margarita in most bars. The majority uses cheap Tequila and that awful sour mix. Yuck!
    Love yours – and the Chambord addition is something I will definitely try soon. :)

    • chef mimi June 16, 2017 at 2:47 PM - Reply

      Oh they’re awful. This recipe is perfection. You’ll love it!

  4. chef mimi June 16, 2017 at 2:41 PM - Reply

    This is a REAl margarita!

    • chef mimi June 16, 2017 at 4:49 PM - Reply

      Instead of a fake one?!! Or a really bad one…

  5. Healthy World Cuisine June 16, 2017 at 3:14 PM - Reply

    Now this is one perfect margarita… a preventer of scurvy too with all that fresh lime juice! LOL We love ours on the rocks too. Cheers! Wishing you a super weekend…!

    • chef mimi June 16, 2017 at 3:28 PM - Reply

      It’s Father’s Day weekend! Hope yours is wonderful too!

  6. Freda @ Aromatic essence June 16, 2017 at 3:43 PM - Reply

    Wow! I like the Chambord addition, gotta try it soon :)

  7. Laura June 16, 2017 at 4:02 PM - Reply

    I LOVE a good margarita. I am also very picky on where I order mine from. Those ice cubes are so cute and small! Did you use an ice tray to make them or is that processed in the freezer?

    • chef mimi June 16, 2017 at 4:48 PM - Reply

      The ice is from our ice maker. I inherited with this house, and didn’t think I’d care for it, but now I can’t live without one!!

  8. Kiki June 17, 2017 at 3:53 AM - Reply

    Over here, luckily, we don’t have margarita mixes. It’s all the real thing. I only like strawberry margaritas, and you are right – tequila can creep up on you :-D

    • chef mimi June 17, 2017 at 7:23 AM - Reply

      Oh that is good, because they are terrible!

  9. Laura @ Feast Wisely June 17, 2017 at 5:40 PM - Reply

    I don’t drink spirits Chef Mimi but that looks very refreshing! 🍸

  10. Lisa @ cheergerm June 18, 2017 at 12:18 AM - Reply

    What an delicious icy looking great Mimi.

  11. I’ve pinned this one, what a perfect summer drink. I agree, they are usually way too sweet.

  12. Culinary Flavors June 19, 2017 at 3:27 AM - Reply

    My husband is a big fan of margaritas! I will give this a try! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Elena Bourke June 19, 2017 at 8:20 AM - Reply

    After living in Texas for 30 years, I too appreciate a perfect margarita. My favorite is fresh lime juice, Cointreau, tequila, fresh basil simple syrup and a tiny bit of minced jalapeño pepper. 😎

    Elena Bourke

    • chef mimi June 19, 2017 at 10:25 AM - Reply

      Hi Elena – I guess I’m a traditionalist. I don’t go for the “mixology” drinks with basil and lavender and so forth. I’m sure it’s good, tho!

      • Elena Bourke June 19, 2017 at 1:52 PM

        It IS good. An adventurous palate like yours may find treasures there! I’m actually a purist about many things and still enjoy a fresh and traditional margarita. Elena

  14. myhomefoodthatsamore June 19, 2017 at 9:17 AM - Reply

    Living in Italy, I don’t think we can even get these mixes you speak of. So in a way, that’s a good thing, huh? I drank my first Margarita in my early thirties, would you believe. An English friend of mine who had enjoyed copious amounts of Margaritas in Mexico gave us her recipe, and that’s the one we use. Three parts Tequila to two parts equally of Triple Sec and Lime Juice. And then of course the salt around the rim and plenty of ice, etc. It’s become our ‘standard’ so of course it’s what we think is ‘good’. Over the years, every now and then I shall suddenly ‘crave’ a M. for no apparent reason. Until once I realised I was feeling a bit ‘down’, coming down with a cold. “So that explains it, I said out aloud to my husband and chidlren, it’s my body’s way of asking for vitamina C. There is so much vitamin C and fibre in the lime juice!” My family think I’m crazy anyway so I didn’t think anyone had taken any notice, not really. And then a few months ago, our son calls us and casually tells us that he just gone out to have a Margarita. ??? Our son is not a boozy kind of guy so I was curious. “Why darling?”. “Oh … cos I think I’m coming down with the flu or something” ….:)

    • chef mimi June 19, 2017 at 10:26 AM - Reply

      That is a great story! The lime juice does make it a healthier drink!!! Your recipe is a much stronger one than mine!!!

      • myhomefoodthatsamore June 20, 2017 at 2:34 AM

        Well, from now on we can tout the Margarita as a flu preventer ha ha :)

      • chef mimi June 20, 2017 at 5:39 PM

        That means we’ll have to have at least one margarita every day!

  15. Gerlinde June 19, 2017 at 11:18 PM - Reply

    All I can say is “Prost ” Mimi, your margarita looks great.

  16. chef mimi June 21, 2017 at 6:31 AM - Reply

    That is so sweet! Thank you!

  17. Our Growing Paynes June 21, 2017 at 10:41 AM - Reply

    Ooh, that is an interesting twist with the chambord. I do love a good margarita and I’m with you on the sour sweet overpowering the good stuff.

  18. kitchenriffs June 21, 2017 at 1:00 PM - Reply

    I love a good Margarita! And agree with you on too many restaurant ones — that sweet and sour mix is vile. I have a slightly different ratio of ingredients — I use 2 ounces tequila, then an ounce each of Cointreau and fresh lime juice. Worth a try sometime. :-)

  19. Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen June 21, 2017 at 1:59 PM - Reply

    I loooove margaritas but never made with a mix. Gross! Your recipe sounds delicious!

  20. sippitysup June 21, 2017 at 3:55 PM - Reply

    Well, there’s a recipe I can remember! GREG

  21. Jeff the Chef June 25, 2017 at 6:10 PM - Reply

    I love your recipe. I do something similar, but with a mixture of lemons and limes. But I’ve never tried a chambord floater!

    • chef mimi June 26, 2017 at 8:16 AM - Reply

      Interesting! I bet that’s really good!

  22. Kim Bultman July 8, 2017 at 10:35 AM - Reply

    Dear Chef Mimi, I came for your Crostini al Tonno and got sidetracked by your Real Margarita recipe. (I brake for previous posts!) Please thank your friends for letting you share their concoction. This is indeed a REAL cocktail. Your photos are mighty convincing, too. :)

    • chef mimi July 9, 2017 at 6:47 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Kim. If you are not fond of those mixes, do try this “real” margarita!

      • Kim Bultman October 17, 2017 at 6:08 PM

        Mimi, pre-made mixes and I don’t mix. In my past life I was a bartender… yay for “homemade” cocktails! My hubby & I also detest Margaritas that are “too sweet”. This concoction is absolutely perfect! (But, SNEAKY, as you warned… all things in moderation.) Bonus points for finding “hand-made in Mexico” Margarita glasses and a pitcher to match during my volunteer stint at the church store today — for less than a dollar! I grabbed some limes, Patron Reposado and Cointreau on the way home… it was meant to be! Just wondering… did you use Cointreau or Gran Marnier? (I chose the former… very tasty in equal proportions… just curious about your preference.)

      • chef mimi October 17, 2017 at 8:17 PM

        Glad you appreciate this drink and this post! I bet I can’t tell the difference between G.M. And Cointreau. You might. But no, I don’t have a preference. And definitely sneaky. I didn’t tell the whole story about my husband and these margaritas on cinco de mayo! (Nothing bad, but really funny!)

  23. Jessie Holloway December 9, 2022 at 2:17 PM - Reply

    Thanks so much for the DIY recipe for a margarita! I have a friend coming to town to spend a few days and we want to go out to get some Mexican-style food because it’s her favorite. I think it’d be fun to have some margaritas as well so I’ve been trying to find a restaurant she and I would both like, and if we do I’ll have to try making margaritas at home so I can have them more often.

  24. Cynthia Woodman May 4, 2024 at 11:32 AM - Reply

    Nothing by but fresh squeezed juice for me as well!

    • Chef Mimi May 5, 2024 at 11:38 AM - Reply

      I really dislike those mixes and mixers!!!

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