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How to make a margarita, and everything you’ll need for the perfect glass

Margaritas, like most things in life, are all about balance.

The tanginess of limes, bitter sweetness of orange liqueur, and spiciness of tequila makes for one of the most beautiful threesomes to have ever been formed.

There are several rumours as to how this addictive cocktail came about, one being that it was invented in 1938 by Carlos “Danny” Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not to tequila. Another claims that it was Dallas socialite Margarita Sames, who first made the drink for her guests at her vacation home in 1948, after which Tommy Hilton brought the recipe back to the Hilton chain of hotels.

(Image credit: YesMore Content/Unsplash)

Despite its complex history and flavours, however, the secret to a great margarita really lies in its simplicity, and a refreshing glass of margarita is incredibly easy to achieve at home if you have access to the right ingredients and recipe.

Besides, what could possibly be more satisfying on a hot weekend afternoon than an ice-cold glass of this iconic cocktail?


50ml blanco tequila

30ml Cointreau

20ml Fresh lime juice


Rim a chilled glass with a lime wedge, then dip in salt (or sugar) to coat and set aside. Pour the tequila, Cointreau and lime juice into a cocktail shaker that’s filled with ice cubes and shake well. Strain into the prepared glass with or without fresh ice, and serve. 


Ratios are everything for a perfectly balanced margarita. Try not to salt the entire rim because excess flakes will inevitably find its way into your cocktail to throw off its flavours. Instead, do half a rim — and only on the outside — so you not only have the option of having salt with your drink, but also prevents your margarita from getting too saline. 

Lime garnishes are also fun but adding a wedge to your cocktail can throw off the citric balance of the cocktail, so resist the urge if you can. 

You know you’re in for a good time the minute someone so much as breathes the word “Patron”. Instead of shots however, we’re saving this one for margaritas. One of the best options by the brand is Patron Silver, a blanco tequila that promises all the notes of fruit and agave without overpowering the cocktail. Patron Silver also goes down smooth, and makes for a great introductory tequila if you’re new to the scene. 


Named World’s Best Blanco at the 2019 World Tequila Awards, Corazón Tequila Blanco is made only from Blue Weber agave, and is distilled and aged at Casa San Matias, a family-owned distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. Expect the fruity aroma of ripe pears and sweet apples to shine through, with a creamy mouthfeel that lends balance to your margarita.


We’re being cheeky here by recommending a mezcal but hear us out. As the richer, smokier cousin of tequila, mezcals add new dimensions to the time-tested cocktail, which when paired with the tartness of lime juice and sweetness of agave makes for the perfect drink to wind down with. This one by Dos Hombres — helmed by Breaking Bad stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston — is a unique blend of the finest Espadin agave, hand-selected from the hillsides of a small village in Oaxaca. Look forward to delectable aromas of local fruits and the smokiness of volcanic stone and firewood in your concoction here. 


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Any margarita recipe worth its salt (lol) will tell you that Cointreau is the triple sec to use. Smoother, drier, and less sweet than other popular alternatives like Grand Marnier, Cointreau is a better option because it’s made with bitter orange peels, and creates a well-balanced drink every single time. This limited edition set comes with a matching shaker so that’s one less bar tool you’ll have to shop for.


We’re not big fans of added sugar, but if you must, use agave nectar instead of simple syrup for your margaritas. The former lends a smoother and subtler sweetness and has a lower glycemic index, making it a tastier and (slightly) healthier alternative. 


A simple saucer would usually suffice, but if you play the role of designated mixologist at home you might as well own one of these. This three-tier glass rimmer has dedicated sections for salt, sugar, and lime juice — basically everything you need to customise your margarita glass with. Its compartments can also be folded and kept away for easy storage.


A tasty cocktail requires more than decent pouring skills, and for that, you’ll need a good set of tools. This 10-piece set is a brilliant way to hit the ground running, with everything from a shaker and strainer to a bar spoon and muddler. All these tools have a dedicated spot on an elegant Mahogany wood stand, so they’ll always be organised and accessible — not to mention chic — at all time. 


Margaritas are best enjoyed shaken, but we don’t blame you if you’re craving an extra frosty drink with this heat. This one by Smeg’s not only a retro-chic addition to your kitchen, but also has all the settings required to crush your next frozen margarita. 

How to make a margarita, and everything you’ll need for the perfect glass

Shatricia Nair

Managing Editor

Shatricia Nair has a passion for motoring, beauty, and wellness, and is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, retinols, and latest fitness trends. She has nine years of experience writing for digital media, and her bylines have appeared in Prestige, and Augustman. She'll do (almost) anything for good chocolate chip cookies.

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