Master this classic tequila cocktail, then expand your repertoire with three riffs.
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Classic Margarita
Credit: Ryan Liebe

A good margarita is your taste buds' passport to paradise, but the drink's tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur formula is also ripe for reimagining. Here, we share the classic recipe for our tropical traditionalists, then a few creative riffs: There's a grapefruit-forward option, one made with tart-cherries, and a spicy frozen mango number that might just inspire some backyard cabana-building.

First and foremost, get your ingredients in order. "Start with high-quality 100 percent-agave tequila for a great margarita," says deputy food editor Greg Lofts. Our top-shelf pick is Casamigos (from $49.99, drizly.com). We also love Espolòn, which you can find at about half the price (from $26.99, drizly.com). Then, crush the ice just right: Greg says to pulse a few handfuls of cubes in a blender or food processor. No equipment? No problem. Simply place the cubes in a resealable bag, wrap it in a towel, and pound with a meat mallet. Immediately return your ice to the freezer until ready to use.

Now, without further adieu, we invite you to find that lost shaker of salt and let your creative juices flow.

Classic Margarita

Cocktail trends come and go but the Margarita has been a favorite for decades. If anything, it's now more popular than ever before thanks to the current tequila renaissance. Shake up our Classic Margarita and enjoy—there's no denying how delicious this three-ingredient drink is when you get it just right. Do you you want to head to Margaritaville with friends (or your quarantine pod)? You can make a batch of the tequila, orange liqueur, and lime-juice mixture up to a day ahead. Refrigerate it in an air-tight container until you're ready to shake with ice and serve.

Grapefruit and Honey Margarita
Credit: Ryan Liebe

Grapefruit and Honey Margarita

It's luscious and lower in alcohol. For this Grapefruit and Honey Margarita, we swap the usual orange liqueur for honey. It's a perfect pairing with the more assertive flavors of pink grapefruit juice, tequila, and lime juice.

Tart Cherry and Ginger Margarita
Credit: Ryan Liebe

Tart Cherry and Ginger Margarita

This lip smacking cocktail swaps out the orange liqueur for ginger.For true fruit flavor, you'll need unsweetened 100 percent cherry juice, but you can find it in the grocery store near other shelf-stable juices or in the refrigerated-drink aisle.

Spicy-Sweet Frozen Mango Margarita
Credit: Ryan Liebe

Frozen Mango Margarita

A spicy-sweet wonder of a drink, this Frozen Mango Margarita is made with aged tequila, orange liqueur, and frozen mango. You can find frozen mango cubes in the grocery store freezer section or you can make them yourself using fresh mango. Either way, this is a cooling, refreshing sip you'll want to have on repeat this summer.

Food styling by Greg Lofts; Prop styling by Suzie Myers.

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