Classic Margarita

classic margarita - leigh clair

Is there anything quite as perfect as a margarita? On the rocks? With salt? In the summer? I mean, whenever. I don't discriminate. 

Once May rolls around, we begin to crave this cocktail as it symbolizes the impending summer season and all that makes it glorious- long weekends, fireworks, swimming, ice cream, fresh sweet corn, the beach...

After lots of trial and error (if you can call it that- my taste testers never complained!) I've discovered what makes a superior margarita, well, superior. Read on....

classic margarita - leigh clair

Ingredients you'll need:

Tequila- Get a good quality bottle. You want the clear, silver variety- not the dark, gold type. Silver is not aged and has a nice refreshing tequila bite to it. Gold is aged and has a smokier, more complex flavor. I love a Patrón margarita but for a crowd, Espolón and 1800 are excellent choices. 

Orange Liquor- This gives a citrusy depth to your drink. You don't necessarily know that it's there but it really boosts the overall flavor. I like Grand Marnier, Triple Sec or Cointreau. All are very yummy. 

Lime juice- It must be freshly squeezed. No way around it. 

Lemon juice- My secret weapon. It just makes the margarita perfect and so much more exciting on the palate. It must also be freshly squeezed. 

Simple Syrup (Can also sub Agave Nectar)- One part sugar, one part water boiled then chilled. That's the recipe- super easy. 

Salt- ESSENTIAL. If you don't like your marg salted, then you don't know what you're missing. And no table salt, please. Kosher is my standby. Try fleur de sel if you're feeling special.  

classic margarita - leigh clair

For Serving, you'll need:

Cocktail Shaker- 'nuff said.

Measuring cups- for perfect proportions. 

Ice- For shaking. And serving- you know, the rocks of on the rocks...

Glasses- Whatever you have. I don't have those margarita shaped glasses. We use a highball glass because that's what we have on hand. 

Simple Syrup- One of my tricks- I rim my glasses with this- not lime juice and then salt. Why? Well, for one, this margarita is not super sweet to begin with. The salty and sweet combo hits your lips and makes you smile- trust me. It also has great staying power, holding the salt in place for the entire duration of your drinking pleasure. 

classic margarita - leigh clair

So, chances are slim you'll be making one margarita. Even if it was just you, I'm pretty sure you'd make more than one. Your best bet is to make a batch of margaritas then shake as needed. This recipe yields 2 cups (16oz.) which will make 4 smaller drinks or 2 fun sized drinks! 

Classic Margaritas


1 cup silver tequila

1/2 cup orange liquor

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons simple syrup, plus more for rimming the glasses

kosher salt


sliced lime for garnish 


combine the alcohol, freshly squeezed juice, and simple syrup in a glass measuring cup or pitcher and let sit.

in the meantime, pour simple syrup into a dish and kosher salt into another dish.

take your serving glasses and dip in the syrup mixture and then the salt. place some ice in the glasses and set aside.

shake the margarita mixture in a cocktail shaker with ice then pour into the salt rimmed glasses.

add a fresh squeeze of lime, if you'd like. and serve with a few slices of it, too. 

Oh, and these margaritas are best served with friends and the perfect guacamole

classic margarita - leigh clair