When I first made the world-(in)famous margarita cupcakes back in early 2007, we used Jason’s recipe for margaritas, which were made with a bottled mix, and a boxed cake mix. Since then, we’ve become a little more serious about our cupcakes and our margaritas… I mean, as serious as one can get about cupcakes and margaritas 🙂
When I had to email and text our margarita recipe to more than 10 people in 3 days the week of Cinco de Mayo, I took it as a sign that we needed to post the recipe. We love our flavored margaritas, but we didn’t plant 2 dwarf lime trees in the back yard for nothing!
Our margarita starts with a homemade lime mix that took the place of the bottled mix we used to rely on. We then add silver tequila, orange liqueur (we’re digging Paula’s Texas Orange at the moment – it has a much cleaner orange taste and it’s less expensive that Grand Marnier) or orange juice (to save on sugar and calories), and all that goes over ice.
When you have margaritas as often as we do, two young lime trees aren’t nearly enough. A few times a year, limes will go on sale for 10 or more for $1. That’s when I buy as many as look good, get that “crazy cat lady” look from the cashier, and then come home and juice them all into containers/jars for the freezer. Fresh lime juice year round, for pennies!
How do you make your margarita? On the rocks or frozen? Do you have any secret or unusual ingredients?
Homemade Margarita Mix & Classic Lime Margarita
The refreshing classic margarita made with fresh limes - no bottled mixes here!
- For the homemade margarita mix:
- 1/2 cup sugar (or your favorite sweetener - I use 3-5 drops liquid stevia per serving)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (~8-12 limes)
- For the margaritas:
- 1 recipe homemade margarita mix
- 3/4 cup (6 oz) silver tequila
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) orange liqueur
- lime wedges/slices for garnish (optional)
- *To make a skinny margarita, omit the sugar, skip the simple syrup step, and add the lime, water, and stevia straight to the pitcher. Click here for more information on how we make our margaritas: favorite tequila, orange liqueur, and how we lighten up those empty calories!
- Heat water and sugar in a small sauce pan until completely dissolved and the water is clear. Let cool.
- Pour into a pitcher with lime juice. Homemade lime mix done! Leftovers will keep 7-10 days in a jar in the fridge.
- Add tequila and orange liqueur.
- Pour over ice and garnish with lime slices.
- To make a single margarita, add 1/2 cup lime mix, 1.5 oz (3 Tbsp) tequila, and 1 oz (2 Tbsp orange liqueur) to a small glass of ice.
- To make frozen margaritas, freeze the lime mix into ice cubes. Blend the ice cubes with chilled tequila and orange liqueur until uniformly slushy.
Yields: 4 6-ounce servings
Estimated time: 10 minutes
Typically I’m not one for margaritas, as I don’t do tequila… but you’re sure making me want to beleive otherwise!
Lime trees in your backyard? That’s pretty much the coolest thing ever. I wish fruit trees could survive the frigid RI winters, I’d have so many 🙂
Yumm, I would have never thought to buy limes on sale and freeze the juice. Even though the pre-made mix is easier, the fresh real juice is probably a lot healthier. Well, healthy as a margarita is going to be, at least!
TWO lime trees? Jealous! Your margaritas sound delicious. I bet the fresh limeaid really does the trick!
Yay!!! Thank you for posting this!!!!!
I take mine on the rocks, no salt. Thanks for posting this recipe!
I have a small lime tree. I have tequila and orange liquor. I think I now know what I will be making this weekend! I have yet to master a good margarita. These look great.
Shawnda, that is a beautiful photo! I actually like to use agave syrup in my margaritas instead of simple syrup, because it contributes the same basic flavor (sweet and not much else), but I get to be lazier and not make it myself. I also usually use 1 part lemon for every 2 parts lime.
Bridget – Thank you! I made myself go over and put agave syrup on the grocery list. The lengths we go to to quickly cool down simple syrup… I also love the idea of lemon. We usually only use it in a “Crap, we don’t have enough limes” moment.
I am SO GLAD you posted this because my friends are all about using the bottled margarita mix…and it makes me cringe when I look at the ingredient list.
Joanne – Water & High Fructose Corn Syrup were the top two ingredients on the bottle mix that we used to use. When we became label readers, we made a better margarita. Oh, and it was neon green. Man, that’s just not natural.
Your photograph is stunning!
Thank you, Erin!
What are your thoughts on using a sugar substitute, like Splenda to make your simple syrup with? We love Margaritas and I’ve been thinking about coming up with a recipe using no sugar…just wondering…
It can be done, for sure. When it’s just me (that sounds a lot sadder than it is 🙂 I mean when I’m making two different flavors, one for each of us), I use a few drops of liquid Stevia to sweeten mine just enough to take the edge off of the lime. If I’m making one flavor, then I use sugar. I’m going to be trying Agave syrup next. For something like Splenda, I would add the water, lime, tequila, and orange and then sweeten to taste.
This is EXACTLY how we make our margaritas! The Husband and I took a trip out to San Antonio two years ago and before we left we begged a waiter for the recipe. No more lime green frozen gunk in a can for us!
I’m on a hardcore preserving and freezing kick right now and never thought of freezing citrus juice! What a great idea, that’s for sharing and thanks for sharing this recipe. It’s finally getting super hot and humid here in Toronto and a margarita is exactly what I’m craving.
That picture looks so refreshing. I love it!
margarita is my kinda drink and I usually buy the mix from the store. This one looks so refreshing and the pics are so so so perfect.. the light is gorgeous .
I bet those go down like water! Looks refreshingly tasty!
A girl after my own heart! Love how you’ve kept this simple and classic–the best!
Does anyone have a tool they really like for juicing limes? 10-12 limes for a measly cup makes me sad! I always try to get the most out of limes but the OXO hand squeezer thing I bought recently does only a so-so job.
10-12 limes for a cup *is* sad! And this is even with me using an electric juicer. On a good day it’s 8-10, but every once in a while, I get one of those sneaky stealth “dry” limes, even though it felt perfect when I squeezed it. Get an electric citrus juicer! I have one and it gets every single bit of juice and pith out of the peel and catches all the pith in the strainer. We bought one a couple of years ago with a gift card and saved fun money. Totally worth every penny.
what kind of juicer do you have. I have read all the reviews and don’t know which one does the best but still affordable.
Sharon, we have the Breville citrus press. It’s awesome!
I’m more of a frozen, fruity margarita gal. My step-dad makes his margaritas with the bottled junk and about 4 shots of tequila. And so margaritas were never my favorite. But if I’m going to indulge, I’ll take it with some crushed ice, like a slushie! Although I can get on board with your margarita! It looks refreshing, perfect for the HUGE heat spell we’re about to get!
I know what I’m serving with tacos tonight! 🙂 Thanks mucho.
Love me some Margaritas! I really like the carafe in the picture, really adds some height to the photo!
This and the popsicles …just about as close to perfect right now with the heat!
Thanks! The opening shot is stunning!
Aw, thanks Helene. I’ve been reading your book 🙂
Have you ever made these virgin? I’ve never acquired a taste for alcohol, but I love fruity virgin versions at restaurants. I just have no clue where to start with making them at home. Thanks!
Rachel – I’d probably start with the limeade (water, sugar, and lime juice) and add the juice from an orange wedge. Or maybe replace th1/2 cup of water (make the simple syrup with equal parts water and sugar) with sparkling water. That would be nice and refreshing!
A friend of mine follows your blog, and now thanks to her I do too, but she whipped these up last night and we sat outside sipping away. It is by far the BEST margarita I’ve ever had. Perfectly balanced. And with our guys both deployed, it cheered us right up.
Yay! Glad you guys liked it!
I can’t wait to try this recipe! How important is it to use silver tequila? I just bought a bottle of Jose Cuervo Gold and ideally I’d like to use that, unless it would throw off the flavor of this recipe
@Claire – Use whatever you like to drink (or have on hand)!
I will try this recipe very soon…what a wonderful alternative to the neon, corn syrup, store bought kind! One question though….how do you store your frozen lime juice? Is there such thing as freezer suitable tupperware containers?
Leticia, I actually use ice cube trays. When frozen, I dump the cubes into a gallon zipper bag.
Just wanted to let you know that I’ve made these margaritas several times now (and am getting ready to make them right now!) and they are the best! Thank you for the recipe – it’s a favorite, for sure!
I am on my morning bus commute into NY right now reading this and I am totally craving a margarita right now! I was in Texas this time last year and my friend took me out for swirl margaritas which is frozen margaritas with sangria wine swirled in. I still think about it to this day. Love your blog!
Thanks, keelin! Hope you get your ‘rita soon 🙂
I would love to see your recipe using agave, if you’ve tried it yet! This one is absolutely incredible!
Made these tonight to properly celebrate Cinco de Mayo and WOW are they good! Perfect balance of sweet, tart, and boozy! I did use Cuervo Gold and Triple Sec as that’s what we had on hand. Not only that, but they’re dangerously easy to make (and I even squeezed all the limes by hand 🙂 ). I see a lot of margaritas in our future this summer! Thanks for a great recipe!
How long does the homemade margarita mix last? I mean, can you store it like the store bought kind?
It will keep in the fridge a week, easy.
Looks and sounds delicious! A holiday weekend is the perfect time to try a new recipe! 🙂
I love margs, but the bottles mix is soooooo sweet. I got a new juicer for Christmas and can’t wait to try this! I even have some Texas Orange on hand!
Made these up & the grapefruit ones while a girlfriend was in town. It was a fun weekend…and now I’m officially a margarita snob!
Welcome to the dark side 🙂
What is the asterisk after sugar for? There is no footnote.
It is the italicized note that begins “I now omit…”
Thank you!! Have a Buffett concert tomorrow and I’m going to make and bring these. I haven’t tried them yet so I hope they are a hit!!
They were a hit!!!!!
Ok I tried a recipe… please tell me where I went wrong.
I made a glass of margaritas….j squeezed lime juice 3oz…orange juice 2 oz….agavd nectar…maybe 1tsp..and 3oz silver tequila 100%agave. I used a little ice when i shook it and a little in my glass when I poured it….but it was soooooo tart? It kinda burnt my stomach and wow one is all u needed. But I wanted to make a pitcher…fresh what do u recommend…
I cut my lime juice with equal parts water to make “homemade margarita mix.” That will tame the tartness.
I use equal parts fresh lemon, lime and oragne juice which I strain to remove the pulp. Otherwise make them just like you do. Hate bottled mix.
I recently visited my sister and she got me hooked on Patron Silver! I made this today as the standard over the counter margarita mixes give me a headache and seem to be missing something. The orange liqueur I used was Cointreau! OMG is all I can say. Best Margarita ever!!!!! My husband thinks they are too tart but to me they are perfect. Thanks for the amazing recipe!
Hi I am wondering if one adds vodka or tequila to the home made simple mix, would it last longer than a week in the fridge ? Any other suggestions to enhance the shelf life of the home made simple mix would be greatly appreciated.
Freeze them! Works great!
I will never make margaritas from a mix again…..Wow. These were just fabulous.
I second all the responses that say these are the most delicious margaritas ever! The bottled stuff is yuck and I why I went on a hunt for a homemade version. Well this is the one! Thanks for the recipe
I am curious if you have used the agave syrup since you posted this? Can you tell me the ratios to use? Is it just pure agave syrup with the lime juice now and no water at all? Thanks SO much for letting me know!!
You know, I decided that I liked liquid stevia a lot more than the agave: http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodiebride/archives/13215/
But if you want to try it with agave, it is just the pure agave syrup. Still use the water (I use it with the stevia).
So delicious! I subbed triple sec for the orange liquor for personal preference and they are amazing! Thanks for sharing!
Just made these tonight and they were fabulous!! I used good tequila and grand marnier. And my simple syrup was a 1:1 ratio. Best margaritas I’ve had. Thank you!
Just wondering if you would recommend triple sec or orange liqueur? And wondering what type of liqueur you are using? Grand Marnier? Making these for my upcoming wedding reception! Want to make sure I’m getting it right.
I mostly make them “skinny” now and just use a squeeze of fresh OJ. But I have a trusty bottle of Paula’s Texas Orange, an orange liqueur, in my pantry for margarita emergencies.
I found Patron Orange Liqueur today & used that & Corzo.
I also used Agave Nectar – but how much Agave should I use for a single margarita? I’m using 2 ounces of fresh lime juice, 1 oz of Tequila, 1/2 oz of Orange Liqueur, full shaker of ice. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
Hi Guys! Can you tell me if your margarita mix is fine to freeze?
My lime tree gone crazy this year.
It is – but to save space, I’d recommend just juicing and freezing the lime juice alone. I have more than a gallon of juice in my freezer right now (an explanation here: http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodiebride/archives/18134/)
here is my version you may wanna try, kind of an all natural best of version I think…. Make your lime aid as described, subing half cup agave syrup for sugar. instead of orange liquor, i use half cup fresh squeezed mango juice and make it part of my mixer. this makes about 3 cups mixer, or just under, to which I add 3/4 cup clear tequila. I like it in a salted margarita glass over crushed ice, garnished with two thin slices of lime, a pinch of margarita salt on top of the ice center glass, and the final touch… a colorfull straw and an umbrella, wich serves the same purpose as the stem on the margarita glass and the straw. Not just asthetic but functional to keep the ice frozen as long as possible in the hot sun of the beach resorts where these things originally evolved. adding these same features at home however adds that touch of authenticity and enhances the margarita experience regardless of practical climate concerns. I do say you need LARGE margarita glasses for best effect..
Hi. This is just what I was looking for. May I suggest a great rim? 1part sugar, 1 part Kosher salt, and enough lime zest to polka dot it. Sounds weird, but it’s yummy.
Made them today! Needed to dream of being at the beach in this cold weather! ( Minnesota ) They were awesome thanks for the recipe
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They now have sugar free Triple Sec to reduce the carbs/sugars even further!