The Best Margarita Starts with 100 Percent Agave Tequila

Here’s how to make delicious margaritas using orange flavored simple syrup, fresh lime juice and 100% agave tequila.


Find the cheapest 100 percent agave tequila you can for great margaritas.

The long-overdue revival of the margarita is underway thanks to the growing band of artisan mixologists who’ve abandoned the pitiful soapy green chainy concoctions. The new drinks prove that booze and mixer quality count:  the tequila should be 100 percent agave, the juice fresh squeezed.

Cuervo Gold’s monopoly on our tequila attention has finally dissolved. Taking its place is an array of affordable (under $20) 100 percent agave tequilas like Hornitos and El Jimador.  More come on the market all the time. For a margarita, you just don’t need an expensive aged tequila in a fancy bottle unless your insecurities insist upon it. Save the really good stuff for sipping.

Classic Margarita Suppliesa bag of limes, a sturdy lime squeezer, sugar, and the tequila.

agave tequila

The lime squeezer may be the most important tool in the list. Buy the kind that inverts the lime half when pressed, not just a reamer. Find a good metal one (not plastic) at a Mexican grocery or Williams-Sonoma. You’ll use it all the time.

Don’t bother with triple sec or Grand Marnier (aka GranMa). Sure, it sweetens the drink, but it also masks the tequila. Make your own orange-flavored simple syrup instead. We call it “simple sec.”

How to make orange simple syrup:  Heat equal parts sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Add strips of rind from one orange to the hot syrup and let it steep. Always keep a batch in the fridge.

Agave Tequila Margarita

2 1/2 cups fresh lime juice

1/2 cup orange flavored simple syrup (simple sec)

100% Agave Tequila

Combine the lime juice and simple syrup in a large measuring cup. Use as much simple syrup as you like. Rub the rims of glasses with a cut lime and dip in a shallow plate of kosher salt. Fill the glasses with ice. Add tequila to your liking and top with the juice. Garnish with a lime wedge. Makes about 6 drinks. If you want to premix the tequila, start with one cup then add a little more.

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