How to make a classic margarita

The history of this Mexican inspired drink and 2 recipes.

22 Oct 2013

What is a margarita?

It's fairly common knowledge that margaritas are, with all their tequila-ness, very much Mexican-inspired.

Besides tequila, these little flavour bombs usually include Cointreau or a similar orange-flavoured tipple, a zing of lime or lemon juice is added and they're served in a glass that has a salted glass rim. They are also, of course, America's favourite tequila-based anything.

Serve 3 ways

You can serve a classic margarita three ways - on the rocks (shaken and stirred, with ice); frozen (blitzed with ice cubes until it's a kind of very adult-ish slush-puppy) or straight up thank you very much which is exactly as it sounds, no frills or fuss.

History of margaritas

As you'd imagine, the margarita has a very colourful history, and it's exact origin seems to be a little blurry (no surprises there). What we do know is that the earliest story seems to stem from a 1938 late-night fiesta at a hotel somewhere near Tijuana in Mexico (it sounds like something out of a movie right?). Into the wee hours, bartender Carlos Herrera and glamorous American dancer Marjorie King made magic in the form of what we now call 'The Margarita'.

Or, you could go with the 1948 version that found Margarita Sames (a glamorous Dallas socialite) at a party in Acapulco tinkling with various tipples and creating the classic Margarita. She then shared it with Tommy Hilton (of the Hilton Hotel empire) and he took it back to his hotels and so its popularity spread.

Whoever had their hands in our favourite tequila party mix, we're most grateful and here's a quick and easy classic version for you to try at home as the days get longer and the summer sun comes out to play.

Classic Margarita on the rocks
(Serves 1)


30-40ml Tequila
20ml Cointreau (or similar orange-flavoured liqueur)
20ml fresh lime juice (or lemon)
Ice cubes
Salt, to garnish
Lime or lemon wedge, to garnish


1. Add the tequila, cointreau, lime juice and a handful of ice cubes to your cocktail shaker (or a deep jug), mix well.

2. Dampen the rim of your Martini glass with water, dip in salt, add your lime wedge to the rim of your glass and pour in the cocktail mixture. Enjoy immediately!

A twist on the classic

Try this amazing Twisted Margarita with nectarine and thyme - it promises to spank your taste buds.

Or if you feel like something a little different, try this elegant Champagne Cocktail with grapefruit, cinnamon and star anise.

- Sarah Graham



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