This Margarita on the Rocks is the perfect combination of tart and sweet and is made with Cointreau to amp up the flavor.
Hot days, cookouts, and Taco Tuesday all have one thing in common, a cool and refreshing Margarita on the Rocks. This simple margarita recipe makes in minutes and is made with fresh and full-bodied ingredients that bring a smooth, balanced taste that is perfect for any occasion.
Fresh and easy this classic Margarita on the Rocks is the best you've ever tasted and simple to make by the glass or the pitcher. So grab your shaker and salt and let's get mixing!
- What Is a Margarita?
- Why This Recipe Works
- How to Rim a Glass with Salt for a Margarita
- Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Make a Margarita on the Rocks
- What to Serve with Margaritas on the Rocks
- My Top Tips
- Substitutions & Variations
- Recipe FAQs
- How to Make a Pitcher of Margaritas for a Party
- More Fruity Cocktail Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
What Is a Margarita?
A margarita is a cocktail containing tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Some margarita recipes include sweeteners like simple syrup or agave syrup and might also include other fruit juices for a flavor twist.
A classic margarita is usually served with salt on the rim of the glass and is either shaken with ice and served with ice (over the rocks), without ice (up), or not shaken at all and instead blended with crushed ice.
Why This Recipe Works
In a classic cocktail, there is a rule in bartending to use the golden ratio of 2:1:1 which is 2 parts spirits, 1 part sour, and 1 part sweet. But, the classic margarita can vary in taste. Some people stick to the golden ratio and some like it just a little sweeter.
We tried a lot of different ratios and we like a slightly sweeter margarita and boost the sweetness with simple syrup which makes a delicious and refreshing drink when served on the rocks and salted.
But if you like your drinks less sweet and want to tinker with this recipe, keep the spirit and liqueur the same, the tequila at 2 ounces and the Cointreau at one ounce, and vary your lime juice and simple syrup. More lime will make it more tart and the simple syrup will make it more sweet. So, let's get shaking!
Here's what you need to make a Margarita on the Rocks:
- Silver Tequila - You don't have to use an expensive brand to make this drink. Your favorite silver tequila will be delicious! (I just happened to only have Patron on hand).
- Cointreau - Cointreau is a triple sec liqueur and makes this Margarita deluxe.
- Fresh Limes - Fresh lime juice is always best, plus a wedge of lime makes a terrific garnish. You will need at least 2 limes. One and a half limes for the juice and the other half for the garnish and to aid in salting the rim of the glass.
- Simple Syrup - I like the simplicity and sweetness of simple syrup. It is super easy and economical to make and the flavor doesn't compete with the lime juice. Best of all it is consistent in sweetness.
- Flaked Sea Salt - Maldon Sea Salt Flakes is my favorite salt for rimming a glass and I totally recommend trying it. But if you don't have any on hand I've listed some substitutions below.
- Ice Cubes (not shown) - Ice from your fridge works fine but if you having a party it's easier to just buy a bag of ice from the grocery store.
Please see the recipe card for the exact quantities.
How to Rim a Glass with Salt for a Margarita
Cut a lime lengthwise and then cut one-half of the lime into 3 wedges. Then cut through the middle of one wedge down to the rind.
Run the wedge around the top edge of the glass to moisten it. Then roll the rim of the glass in flaked sea salt or margarita salt.
Are you having a party? Some people like salt and some don't. Coat only half of the glass with salt and you will make everyone happy!
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Make a Margarita on the Rocks
Prepare the glass. Cut a lime wedge through the middle to the rind. Run the wedge around the top edge of the glass to moisten it. Roll the rim of the glass in flaked sea salt or margarita salt and fill the glass with fresh ice.
Shake it up. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake until well-chilled.
Strain. Strain into the prepared glass.
Garnish. Garnish with a wedge of lime.
My Top Tips
♡ Use fresh lime juice for the best flavor in the drink. Another bonus is lime juice works best for adhering salt to the glass because it dries sticky and the salt stays put.
♡ If the salt seems too chunky you can use a teaspoon to crush it for a finer texture.
♡ Roll the glasses in the salt multiple times to get a thicker coating of salt.
Substitutions & Variations
- Use Any Triple Sec. Instead of Cointreau, you can use any good quality triple-sec liqueur. I do think the flavor and smoothness of Cointreau is worth the splurge.
- Use Margarita Salt. Instead of flaked sea salt, you can use Margarita salt and you can also use fine kosher salt or fine sea salt. Don't use iodized table salt though. It will give a metallic taste to your drink.
A cocktail shaker is very handy to mix a Margarita and also to chill it quickly. Any type of shaker will do, but I prefer one that has a built-in strainer.
I also like to use a metal citrus press to squeeze the juice from fresh limes and oranges. A metal press not only juices the fruit but also presses fragrant oils from the skins of citrus fruits which boosts the flavor of this cocktail. Be sure to place your halved lime in the squeezer rind side up (cut side down) to get the most juice.
No, you can skip salting the rim of the glass. Or, if you want less salt lightly salt the rim or only salt half of the glass. Salt is totally optional!
A Margarita on the Rocks can be made in advance and placed in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also rim your glass with salt in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To serve just pop ice in a glass, give the chilled cocktail a stir, pour, and garnish.
You can use crushed ice but it will melt more quickly than ice cubes.
1 fluid ounce equals 2 tablespoons.
Tequila - 2 ounces = 4 Tablespoons
Cointreau -1 ounce = 2 Tablespoons
Lime Juice - 1 ounce = 2 Tablespoons
Simple Syrup - 1½ ounces = 3 Tablespoons
How to Make a Pitcher of Margaritas for a Party
|Ingredients||4 Servings||8 Servings||12 Servings||16 Servings|
|Tequila||1 cup||2 cups||3 cups||4 cups|
|Cointreau||½ cup||1 cup||1 ½ cups||2 cups|
|Lime Juice||½ cup||1 cup||1 ½ cups||2 cups|
|Simple Syrup||¾ cup||1 ½ cups||2 ¼ cups||3 cups|
To make a batch of Margaritas for a party make them several hours in advance.
Mix the ingredients for the drink in a large pitcher and rim your glasses with salt and chill both down in the refrigerator.
To serve just add ice to each glass, pour, and garnish with a wedge of lime.
More Fruity Cocktail Recipes
Margarita on the Rocks
- 1 Cocktail Shaker
- 2 Lime Wedges
- Flaked Sea Salt or Margarita Salt
- Ice Cubes
- 2 Ounces Silver Tequila
- 1 Ounces Cointreau
- 1 Ounce Fresh Lime Juice
- 1½ Ounces Simple Syrup
- Prepare the glass. Cut a lime wedge through the middle to the rind. Run the wedge around the top edge of the glass to moisten it. Roll the rim of the glass in flaked sea salt or margarita salt and fill the glass with fresh ice.2 Lime Wedges, Flaked Sea Salt or Margarita Salt, Ice Cubes
- Shake it up. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake until well-chilled.2 Ounces Silver Tequila, 1 Ounces Cointreau, 1 Ounce Fresh Lime Juice
- Strain. Strain into the prepared glass.
- Garnish. Garnish with a wedge of lime.
Nutrition Per Serving
All nutritional information on this site is an estimate. Your results may vary.