15 Margarita Variations to Take the Cocktail to the Next Level
Upgrade your classic margarita with these delicious additions, swaps and new techniques. One sip of these margarita variations and you'll never go back!
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You’ll never go wrong with the classic margarita: a combination of tequila, orange liqueur and fresh lime juice in a 3-2-1 ratio, mixed with ice and served with salt on the rim of the glass. But sometimes you want to get a little creative. Using our classic margarita recipe as a base, mix and match any of these amazing suggestions for a whole new way to make a margarita. By the way, make sure you have a few of these margarita glasses on hand!
Blended or frozen margaritas transform this cocktail into a bona fide summertime (or anytime) treat. Learn how to make a frozen margarita to upgrade the classic recipe, or combine it with another margarita variation on this list for something totally new.
Tequila, Añejo or Mezcal Margarita
Blanco tequila is the usual choice for margaritas, but don’t be afraid to switch things up. Try using reposado tequila, which is aged in oak barrels for up to a year, giving it a golden color and more mellow flavor like in this Cadillac margarita. You could also use joven tequila: It’s a blend of blanco and aged tequila with a smooth and citrusy flavor.
Replace the tequila out for añejo. Typically reserved for sipping, añejo and extra añejo will add a rich, caramelized and luxurious flavor to a marg.
Or turn to a bottle of mezcal. Similar to tequila in that it’s made from agave in Mexico, mezcal is fermented with roasted piña, giving the spirit a smoky, earthy taste. If can’t decide which would work best for your taste buds, check out our picks for the best tequilas for making margaritas.
Believe it or not, a margarita doesn’t have to use tequila. Make a virgin margarita with only a handful of ingredients like lemons, limes and club soda. It’s a thirst-quenching mocktail that can be enjoyed all summer long. Blend the lemon-lime mixture with some ice for a frozen virgin margarita version or use this version with one of the other variations on this list for a fun variety of choices.
Whether you go with a strawberry margarita, a white peach margarita, a kumquat margarita, or even a frozen Sriracha-mango margarita, fruit and margaritas make a perfect pair. If you’re partial to margaritas on the rocks, fruit puree is your best bet for some fruity flavor. For frozen margaritas, simply toss a few pieces of fresh or frozen fruit into the blender as you’re making the margarita.
Check out our favorite flavored margarita recipes for some fruity inspiration.
While limes are the typical choice for margaritas, you’re definitely not limited to them! Swap out some or all of the lime for lemon, grapefruit, blood orange or tangerine juice to change the cocktail’s flavor and color. If you pick a citrus that’s even more tart than limes, add a dash of simple syrup or agave nectar to balance the drink out.
Love grapefruit and tequila? We’ll show you how to make a Paloma, your new favorite cocktail.
If you can never decide between a beer or a margarita, this margarita variation is just the ticket. Mix a classic margarita in a pint glass with some ice and top with one of these Mexican-style beers for a refreshing mash-up. Or, throw together a pitcher with our cerveza margaritas.
One of the best ways to upgrade your margarita is to add a little spice to it. This can be done by adding about half an ounce of chile liquor to your margarita or infusing the tequila with your choice of hot pepper, like in our Texas Red River margarita. With either method, be sure to add just a bit of heat at a time, and adjust to taste. Peppers also make a pretty garnish for your margarita!
Orange Liqueur Margarita
Orange liqueur is used to give a margarita some brightness (it’s one of the key ingredients), but not all orange liqueurs taste the same. Triple sec, the margarita go-to and most affordable option, runs on the sweeter side. Cointreau uses a blend of sweet and bitter oranges for a balanced, yet intense orange flavor. Grand Marnier is made from aged cognac and bitter oranges, for a richer, slightly more bitter flavor.
No matter which type of tequila you use, you can bump up the flavor by infusing the alcohol before adding it to your marg. To do so, place a cup and a half of tequila in a mason jar and add sliced pieces of whichever fruit, herb or vegetable you’d like to infuse the tequila with. Some of our favorites include jalapeno, pineapple and cilantro, but the sky’s the limit! Tequila is good for more than just margaritas. Here are a few recipes that use tequila.
Let the tequila infuse for four to seven days, giving the jar a shake once a day. Then, strain and mix the tequila into a margarita as usual. By the way, this is how tequila is made.
Fresh Herb Margarita
Few things pair with citrus better than a bunch of fresh herbs. Mint, basil, thyme and rosemary all work well with a classic or fruit-flavored margarita. To use fresh herbs, you can either muddle the leaves in the bottom of your glass before making your margarita or simply float a few leaves in your drink for a more subtle flavor. Have a crowd coming over? Learn how to make a pitcher of margaritas in a snap.
Liqueured Up Margarita
When it comes to margaritas, don’t be afraid to experiment with other liqueurs. The addition of amaretto, melon liqueur, raspberry liqueur or ginger liqueur will completely change the flavor profile, giving you an unusual (and delicious!) margarita variation.
For more inspiration, read up on our best margarita recipes of all time.
Don’t let the calories stop you from enjoying a nice cocktail every now and again. Try cutting out the sugary mixtures of a classic margarita and use fresh, natural add-ins instead. Using ingredients like fresh lime juice, orange juice and just a few teaspoons of simple syrup, this skinny margarita is a third of the calories, carbs and sugar and tastes just as good as the original.
Pickle Juice Margarita
If you’re wondering what to add to a margarita mix to really shake things up, try pickle juice! This savory margarita variation intensifies the sweet flavors that come from the ingredients of a classic margarita, the same way a salted rim does. Simply add a splash of pickle juice to your margarita of choice—if you like it sweeter, go with less juice or add more juice for those who like it a little saltier.
Switch things up from the classic lime margarita by making an Italian margarita instead. Different from the Mexican-inspired cocktail, this version uses amaretto, Triple Sec and sweet-and-sour mix for a refreshing change.
Ice Cream Float Margarita
Make an ice cream float—cocktail style! This creamy margarita variation is the perfect companion for those hot, summery days. To make a margarita float, simply combine lemon-lime soda, lime juice and tequila in a cocktail glass. Then top the drink off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sherbet and garnish with lime wedges.