Amaretto Margarita Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 10 min.
This Italian margarita recipe is a fun twist on everyone's favorite tequila-based cocktail.

Updated: Feb. 14, 2024

Dreaming of an Italian summer? Toast to your travel goals, and raise a glass filled to the brim with a refreshing Italian margarita. Made with fresh squeezed lime juice, Triple Sec and your favorite brand of tequila, this recipe gives the classic margarita an Italian remix by adding a splash of amaretto.

Amaretto’s subtle notes of almond and cherry balance out the tang of the lime juice, similar to an amaretto sour. This drink will make you feel like you’re lounging the day away under the Tuscan sun or along the pristine Amalfi Coast.

When you’re looking to add some oomph to your regular margarita recipes, flavored margarita recipes like these are the way to go!

Where did the Italian margarita come from?

Despite its name and excellent ability to pair with your favorite Italian recipes, the Italian margarita is not Italian and does not come from Italy (so don’t book your flight just yet). In fact, this unique cocktail is believed to have been created by California mixologists looking for fresh new ways to shake up the traditional fresh lime margarita recipe.

Ingredients for an Italian Margarita

  • Tequila: The best tequila for a margarita is your favorite tequila. Blanco tequila is most common for an Italian margarita, but reposado tequila is also a great option.
  • Triple Sec: Most margaritas are made with this orange-flavored liqueur. You can always go a bit more top-shelf with higher-end orange liqueurs like Cointreau or Grand Mariner (here’s everything you need to know between Cointreau vs. Triple Sec vs. Grand Marnier). Italy is Europe’s second-top producer of oranges (Spain is first), so it’s no surprise that orange is a common flavor in Italian cooking, baking and mixology.
  • Lime juice: The ingredient that gives this cocktail the same signature tartness of a classic margarita. Always opt for freshly squeezed lime juice, when possible, for the best taste.
  • Amaretto: Amaretto is an Italian liqueur with almond and cherry flavor. It’s popular in Italian baking, cocktails, and confections. Here’s a homemade amaretto recipe if you want to get super DIY about it. And if you end up with any left over, try these other amaretto cocktails.
  • Cherries: Fresh or maraschino cherries are the perfect garnish for this sweet, tangy cocktail. The deeply hued Luxardo cherries work here, too.
  • Salt: Rimming a margarita glass with salt counters the bitterness in the drink while pulling forward the sweeter notes. You can, of course, skip the salt if you prefer.


Step 1: Prepare your glass

Moisten the rim of one cocktail glass with a lime wedge. If desired, sprinkle salt on a plate, then dip the rim in salt. Fill the glass with ice, and set aside.

Editor’s Tip: Half the fun of making drinks at home is sipping from different types of cocktails glasses, including beautiful vintage glassware.

Step 2: Shake, pour, garnish

Italian Margarita served in glass with lemon wedge and cherryTMB Studio

In an empty cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice, and amaretto. Fill the shaker with ice, and cover. Shake until frost forms on the outside of the shaker, 15 to 20 seconds. Strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and cherries. Cheers!

Editor’s Tip: If you don’t own a cocktail shaker, perhaps it’s time to invest. Don’t miss our guide to cocktail shakers for your home bar.

Italian Margarita Variations

  • Add orange: In some versions of this drink, a splash of freshly squeezed orange juice is added to the cocktail. If you love oranges, feel free to experiment.
  • Garnish with basil: Make this recipe extra Italian by garnishing with a few fresh basil leaves. The fragrance and flavor of basil complements the other flavors in this cocktail beautifully. Or try one of these other cocktail garnish ideas.
  • Try with limoncello: If you prefer the taste of lemon over orange, you could swap the Triple Sec for an equal amount of limoncello. It’s, a popular lemon-flavored Italian liqueur that would be perfect in this easy Italian margarita recipe.

Can you make an Italian margarita ahead of time?

Yes! You can make a pitcher of Italian margaritas ahead of time, just as you would make a pitcher of margaritas or sangria. To make a big batch in advance, use this guide on how to make a pitcher of margaritas.

Italian Margarita Tips

Italian Margarita served with cherry in it TMB Studio

Can I make a blended Italian margarita?

Sure! Make a blended version of this easy cocktail, just as you would make any blended frozen margarita. Simply rim the glass as directed with salt, then combine all of the ingredients in a high-powered blender. Puree until smooth, then pour into your glass. Garnish as desired, and sip away!

Can I make a nonalcoholic Italian margarita?

Absolutely! If you want to make a virgin Italian margarita, simply omit the tequila from the recipe. Then, swap the Triple Sec out for freshly squeezed orange juice, and opt for an equal amount of a nonalcoholic amaretto substitute (like Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Amaretti). A teaspoon of almond extract may also be used, but know that most are made with alcohol, so use this option at your own discretion.

Italian Margarita

Prep Time 10 min
Yield 1 serving.


  • 1 lime wedge
  • Coarse sea salt, optional
  • Ice cubes
  • 1-1/2 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 1/2 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce amaretto
  • Maraschino cherries, optional


  1. Moisten rim of 1 cocktail glass with lime wedge. If desired, sprinkle salt on a plate; dip rim in salt. Fill glass with ice.
    In an empty cocktail shaker, combine tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice and amaretto. Fill with ice; cover and shake until frost forms on the outside of the shaker, 15-20 seconds. Strain into prepared glass. Garnish with lime wedge and, if desired, cherries.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 260 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 4mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (18g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

With this amaretto margarita, add a touch of Italian flair to the classic lime drink. —James Schend, Dairy Freed