17 best margarita recipes because it’s 5 o’clock somewhere

Margaritas — especially fruit-forward frozen margaritas — get a bad rap for being hangover-inducing cocktails after one sip. And sure, with cheap tequila, too much sugar, and a lot of artificial fruit syrups that is absolutely true. But a good margarita made with smooth tequila, triple sec, fresh limes, and homemade simple syrup will taste good and not leave you feeling wrecked before the glass is done. (We can make no guarantees about no hangovers after more than one, however.) Pull up a cocktail shaker or a blender and try some of these riffs on the classic cocktail.

1. Margarita

If you need me, I’ll be wasting away again in Margaritaville with this absolute classic margarita made with tequila, Cointreau, freshly squeezed lime juice, and agave syrup.

2. Spicy Mango Margarita

Bring a little bit of heat with this margarita recipe made with hot sauce and mango shrub (ripe mango, apple cider vinegar, cumin seeds, pink peppercorns, agave nectar, and fresh pineapple).

3. Hibiscus Margarita

This pretty-in-pink cocktail gets its raspberry hue and floral flavor from dried hibiscus flowers, which are heated with a spiced simple syrup to bring the spirit of Charleston to the glass.

4. Strawberry Margarita on the Rocks

“I love fruit margaritas, but often the frozen kind are made with fruit-flavored syrups instead of real fruit. This strawberry margarita on the rocks calls for whole strawberries and absolutely zero of the sweet and sour mix that can make for a cloyingly sweet, artificial-tasting drink,” writes recipe developer Marshmallows&Margaritas.

5. Spiced Pecan Margarita

Margaritas aren’t just for hot summer days. This spiced version features a homemade pecan and tea orgeat.

6. Rosemary-Grapefruit Margarita

Grapefruit juice and tequila work in tandem for this not-too-sweet margarita. You know what it tastes like? Another one!

7. Lemon Lime Margaritas

Equal parts of tequila, Cointreau, lemon juice, and lime juice are stirred together (not shaken) to create this extra-refreshing margarita, which is served over crushed ice.

8. Honey Apple Margarita

“This drink is inspired by my time living in Seattle,” says bar director Natasha David. “Washington state is of course well known for all of its beautiful apples,” she adds, so it’s no surprise that they’re the star of this margarita.

9. Spicy Apple Cider Margarita

When you can’t decide between a hot toddyOld Fashioned, and margarita, try this autumn-approved margarita.

10. Italian Margarita

Food52’s resident drink expert John DeBary developed this recipe inspired by one of his favorites found at Olive Garden (yes, THAT Olive Garden). Amaretto liqueur is used in place of the usual orange liqueur, which brings a lovely almond flavor to this tequila-forward cocktail.

11. Charred Red Pepper and Strawberry Margarita

Pretty much every margarita qualifies as a super summery drink, but this one takes the cake, thanks to the juicy berries and smoky bell peppers, which are blended to form a smooth purée.

12. Session Margarita

Margaritas are strong. Like, very strong. Have a few too many on a cruise ship once and you won’t be able to tell if it’s the boat that’s rocking or you. If you want to tone it down a bit, make this low-ABV version, which cuts back on the tequila and introduces some sherry for a drink that’s less likely to make your head hurt the next morning.

13. Count to 4 (Basic) Margarita

If you’re exercising your bartending skills for the first time in a while, this is a great margarita recipe to start with. It calls for one ounce Cointreau, two teaspoons of simple syrup, three ounces of añejo tequila, and 4 tablespoons of lime juice — see, 1, 2, 3, 4.

14. Mid-Winter Margarita

What makes this margarita apt for serving during winter is neither the use of hot cocoa mix nor the use of fresh snow. Rather, we take advantage of the abundance of juicy citrus fruits like grapefruit and limes, which are at their peak during this time of year.

15. Sage-Infused Classic Margarita

Sage is a gentle, earthy herb that we normally would pair with turkey or roasted butternut squash. But it also goes so well with a margarita. Yes, really! Make your own sage-infused tequila a few days in advance and then shake up this cocktail.

16. The Project Gemini (Spicy Basil Margarita with Cointreau)

We love a margarita made with Cointreau and this one delivers. And we really love when the margarita is a little spicy — here, basil leaves and sliced jalapeño peppers are muddled together to bring a little heat to this classic tequila cocktail.

17. Shio Kosho Margarita

“Starring Patrón Silver Tequila, a lemongrass syrup spiced with ginger and yuzu kosho (a Japanese condiment made from yuzu zest, chiles, and salt), and fresh grapefruit juice, this margarita hits sweet, spicy, and bright citrusy notes,” writes recipe developer Masahiro Urushido. “A rim of flaky Maldon salt, crushed white peppercorns, and fragrant grapefruit zest tie all of these elements together, teasing out flavors with each sip.”


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