Upgrade a Basic Margarita with Our Food Editors' Delicious Tips
Plus, find out which flavor is Martha's favorite.
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Summer is just around the corner, and we think there is no better drink to celebrate the arrival of warm weather than a margarita. Whether you prefer it plain and simple or with a salted rim, classic or flavored with fruity ingredients, shaken or blended into a frosty, frozen sip, our food editors are sharing how they make this classic cocktail. Looking for a new tequila to try or an unexpected type of salt to rim your glass with? We've got you covered with their recommendations, too.
Assistant food editor Riley Wofford's go-to margarita recipe follows a simple three-two-one ratio, meaning three parts of tequila, two parts of orange liqueur such as Cointreau, and one part of fresh lime juice. "I don't play around with the flavor profile too much, but I do live for a frozen margarita," says Riley.
When it comes to perfecting a classic margarita, deputy food editor Greg Lofts follows a few key steps. He starts by chilling a rocks glass and serves the margarita with one large round ice cube rather than a handful of smaller rectangular cubes, both of which minimize meltage. He also recommends rimming the glass with pink salt, which is softer and sweeter than kosher or table salt and looks visually stunning, too.
As for the key ingredient, Riley likes Arette Blanco tequila ($23.96, astorwines.com), which she says is both more affordable than many other brands of similar quality and totally delicious. "It's a little bit peppery and a bit floral. I'm not one to drink tequila straight, but it makes a killer margarita," she says. Greg, on the other hand, prefers Casamigos Blanco ($49.99 for 750mL, drizly.com) or Espolòn, ($26.99 for 750mL, drizly.com), which are both high-quality brands of tequila made from 100 percent agave.
When Riley wants to depart from the classic formula, she'll whip up a mezcal margarita. "I drink mezcal very rarely, but I do enjoy it in a cocktail that is very lemon-forward. I find that the tart-sweetness of the lemon softens up the smokiness of mezcal and makes it more palatable, she says. Her go-to recipe is this Lemon Mezcal Margarita. If Greg wants to change things up, he'll blend a Frozen Mango Margarita made with reposado tequila for a "subtly smoky note" and a lime-chili-salt rim.