What Liquor Is in a Margarita?
A margarita is a classic—a fresh, flavorful cocktail that sneakily brings you to a high, thanks to the tequila that makes up most of the drink. At its most basic, it only needs three simple ingredients. However, it’s so versatile that you can swap out some ingredients or add flavorings to make a margarita more suited to your preferences, diet restrictions, or general mood. For example, with good Mexican tequila, Skinny Mixes’ Skinny Margarita Mix, and sugar-free simple syrup, you can make the crowd-favorite cocktail without the guilt.
What’s in a Margarita?
A traditional margarita is made up of only three ingredients: tequila, orange liqueur (triple sec), and lime juice. These are mixed in a three-two-one ratio, respectively. However, there are multiple variations of the cocktail, from frozen margaritas to flavored margaritas. You can make it into a drink with simple syrup, a cocktail with fruity flavors, or even a zero-sugar margarita with Skinny Mixes. As long as you keep the base intact, you can play around and be creative.
Which Tequila to Use for Margarita
Tequila is the main ingredient of a margarita, so you must choose the right one to mix in your drink. For starters, you’ll want to use one that comes from Mexico and is labeled “100% agave.” When it comes to the type, you have a few choices listed below. At the end of the day though, you’ll want a tequila that you actually like. Some of them can be too hard on the palate and can rob you of a good margarita experience. Try a few (maybe do a tequila tasting) and figure out the one that matches your taste and tolerance best.
Blanco tequila is unaged, resulting in a clear, bright, and spirit-forward liquor that pairs well with the orange liqueur (triple sec) and lime juice of a margarita. It’s what’s typically used in and most recommended for making the cocktail.
Reposado tequila is aged in oak barrels for up to a year, giving it its signature golden color. It’s more mellow in flavor when compared to Blanco tequila, but still works great in a margarita. It pairs particularly well with drinks spiced with chilies.
Gold tequila, typically known as Joven tequila, doesn’t always contain 100% agave. It can be made by mixing Blanco and reposado tequila or by mixing additives into Blanco tequila. Because of its hybrid nature, it’s one of the least expensive types of tequila and is known for its harsh flavor. It's a budget-friendly liquor that can be used in a margarita, but if you can splurge, the higher the quality, the better.
Can You Make a Margarita Without Tequila?
If you don’t have tequila, you can still make a margarita—though it won’t technically be a margarita (just something close to the classic cocktail). Here are some liquors you can use instead to get a similar drink:
Mezcal is another spirit made with agave, except the succulent is prepared differently from when it’s used to make tequila. It has a rich, smoky flavor, and it’s not unusual to be mixed into cocktails like a margarita.
Rum is a liquor made from sugar cane, which is another tropical plant. Its deep flavor makes it a good substitute for high-quality tequila, though it may give the drink a toastier profile and a little more sweetness.
You can also make a margarita with vodka, but in this case, it would be called a “vodkarita.” The clean-tasting spirit will highlight the citrusy elements of the cocktail while giving the drink a noticeable bite.
Quick and Easy Guilt-Free Margaritas With Skinny Mixes
With just three simple ingredients, margaritas are one of the easiest cocktails to create–but it can be made even more easily with Skinny Mixes’ zero-sugar, low-calorie margarita mixes. You can choose from various flavors, each offering a quick and convenient way to enjoy the drink, guilt-free!