The Secret to the Perfect Margarita

Start your summer off right

One of the grossest abominations of the bartenders’ art is the 16 ounce margarita. All over town, bars hoping to draw young customers barely old enough to get a legal drink offer gloppy, overly sweetened sugar bombs with barely a hint of true tequila, let alone triple sec or fresh lime juice.

But to enjoy one of the greatest drinks ever invented, let me encourage you to try a real margarita. Since only a few places in town make them, we’re going to show you to make them at home. Don’t worry, it is very simple.

The margarita is basically a variation on a sour, as in whiskey sour, gin sour, etc. The traditional recipe requires ¾ ounce each of a sweetener such as simple syrup and a fresh-squeezed citrus juice, normally either lime or lemon, along with 2 ounces of a liquor. Substitute agave syrup for the simple syrup and you have a nice tequila sour.

The margarita substitutes triple sec for simple syrup, adding a bit more since it is less sweet. The lime juice offers balance to the margarita’s sweetness, but it is not intended to be the primary flavor. Below is the ideal recipe for the most delicious margarita you will ever try. Word of warning: anyone with a recipe they think is better will have to prove it.

The Perfect Margarita
1.5 oz. silver tequila, preferably 100% blue agave
1 oz. triple sec (the Mexican liqueur called Controy is ideal)
.5 oz. fresh lime juice
Salt (for balance, so don’t automatically say “no salt”)

Put all ingredients except salt in a shaker and shake vigorously. Rub lime around the rim of a martini glass and dip in salt, then pour margarita in and enjoy. I am a huge fan of tequila, so I make mine with 2 oz. of the liquor. Beware, this perfect margarita is devilishly strong and goes down very easily. Overserving is always a danger.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Margaritas
18 of the Best Margarita Flavors in Austin
18 of the Best Margarita Flavors in Austin
Get a kick out of National Margarita Day

Acacia Coronado, Feb. 22, 2018

More by Wes Marshall
A Buying Guide to Holiday Wines
A Buying Guide to Holiday Wines
Festive pairings at every price point

Nov. 26, 2021

Austin Wine Merchant Wins Renowned Award
Austin Wine Merchant Wins Renowned Award
Wine Enthusiast selects local shop as one of the nation's tops

Nov. 12, 2021


Margaritas, recipe

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle