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Classic Margaritas

May 6, 2017

By Kath Dedon


Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? We don’t really. But yesterday I was inspired to make margaritas by Facebook posts and blog posts that I stumbled upon. Plus, I had way too many limes left over from making Chiang Mai Chicken. Margaritas seemed the perfect way to use them.

One of the online pieces I read was Michael Dietsch’s 2014 post on Serious Eats about which tequila is best for margaritas. In his opinion, Blanco (or Silver, the clear tequilas) worked best in margaritas. They first blind tested “mixto” tequilas (tequilas that are no more than 51% agave) and the two winners in that test were Jose Cuervo and Sauza.

They next blind tested the Cuervo and Sauza against 100% agave brands. The 100% agave brands turned out to be clearly better than the mixtos.

Their two favorites were Casa Noble Crystal (Michael said it cost about $33) and Herradura (quoted as about $29).

Armed with this new information about tequila, I headed to the liquor store. Now I don’t know if tequila prices have gotten insanely high since 2014 or if it’s just that Washington State has insanely high taxes on liquor, but his two favorites were out of my price range! They were on the top shelf and were in the $65-$70 price range. Not what I was willing to pay for margaritas! So I looked down a few shelves and chose Cazadores Tequila Blanco. With taxes, it was $40. Still expensive, but I was willing to give it a try.

I made the Classic Margarita from the “Serious Eats Team”. They used “high quality” blanco tequila, limes, Cointreau, and coarse salt. They noted that if you use a budget tequila, it would be better if you swapped the proportions of the Cointreau and lime juice and added ¼ ounce simple sugar for each drink. I figured my tequila was fine enough and made the classic recipe.

This recipe did make mighty fine margaritas! And it was very easy. I don’t have a cocktail shaker, so I used my Blender Bottle without the Blender Ball in it and it worked just fine. (The reason it’s a good idea to shake it with ice is that the margaritas will get really cold. Then when you put the strained drinks in the glasses with fresh ice, the ice won’t melt as quickly.)

I’ll definitely make this recipe for margaritas again. When I’m out of the Cazadores tequila I may try a less expensive blanco, all in the name of research, of course. How bad could it be?


Classic margarita


Classic Margarita

(Adapted, barely, from a recipe on Serious Eats)

Note: Serious Eats claims that this works best with a high quality tequila. If you use a budget tequila, they suggest it would be better if you swapped the proportions of the Cointreau and lime juice and added ¼ ounce simple sugar for each drink.


(print the recipe)


Serves 2


Lime wedge, plus 2 lime wheels (optional, for serving)

1 tablespoon coarse salt, for glass rims

4 ounces high quality blanco tequila (See note above)

2 ounces Cointreau

1½ ounces fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)


  1. Run the lime wedge around the rim of two glasses and dip in the salt.
  2. Put the tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker (or Blender Bottle). Add several ice cubes and shake until the cocktail shaker frosts over on the bottom or the Blender Bottle feels cold, about 15 seconds.
  3. Strain the margarita into both glasses. Add ice cubes. Garnish with lime wheel, if desired, and serve.


Classic margarita - Copy


4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2017 9:52 am

    These look like perfection! I hate when restaurants/bars add in extra ingredients.

  2. April 12, 2018 12:43 pm

    This is a tequila I might like – I didn’t know you could get it white!

    • April 12, 2018 1:38 pm

      I don’t know much about tequila, but I did like this white one in the margaritas. It will soon be Cinco de Mayo again. Cheers!

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