A margarita on the rocks is the most traditional way to make a margarita cocktail, one that every Texan should master. Making a homemade margarita on the rocks is simple. Basic recipes combine tequila, triple sec, and fresh lime juice to create a tangy, earthy, and slightly sweet drink. Instead of triple sec, some recipes balance out the drink’s tartness with simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water simmered until thick and syrupy) or agave syrup, a natural match for agave-based tequila.
While good tequila is important for a delicious margarita on the rocks — fresh lime juice is just as crucial. Yes, squeezing limes by hand takes time, but the flavor is far superior to bottled lime juice. As for triple sec, it really depends on your budget. Grand Marnier and Cointreau are top quality but not the most economical options. There are many other, less expensive triple secs, including Bol’s Triple Sec, which will also make a lip-smacking margarita.
Ingredient amounts can vary, but you can’t go wrong using the standard 2-1-1 formula per drink or pitcher of margaritas:
- 2 parts tequila
- 1 part lime juice
- 1 part triple sec or agave syrup
- Fresh ice
- Kosher salt or sea salt(optional)
- Lime slice for garnish (optional)
- A cocktail shaker
- To mix the margarita, add your ingredients, along with fresh ice, to a cocktail shaker. A cocktail shaker will perfectly incorporate the ingredients, making for a smoother, better-tasting drink.
- The final component to a margarita is the salt rim on your cocktail glass, which complements the sweetness and tartness of the drink. To make the salt rim, moisten the edge of a glass with a lime wedge. Dip the rim on a plate sprinkled with salt (we like Kosher salt).
- Now shake the cocktail. How long should you shake your margarita? Chef John recommends, “Shake your cocktail mixer until frost forms on the outside, and then strain it over fresh ice.” Why fresh ice? “The ice you use to make the drink will melt too fast in the glass — so large, fresh, still frozen cubes are the way to go.”