It's summer and margaritas are calling. You can taste it, right? That refreshing lip smack of citrus and smooth—oh, so smooth–tequila—and a hit of salt. If you close your eyes, you may just get a whiff of a summer's afternoon barbecue heating up, too. Your mouth is watering now, isn't it?
But! Before you whip out your pitcher and start tossing together what you think is the perfect marg, it's best to read what Vianney Rodriguez has to say.
Rodriguez is the co-author of Latin Twist: Traditional and Modern Cocktails and the host of Tex-Mex Queen on YouTube's Identity Network. So yeah, she knows a thing or two about making the perfect margarita.
Rodriguez is also not a bartender or mixologist, which means she doesn't rely on fancy bartending tools. That means her recipes and tips can be done in the every kitchen.
So while we're all about building an at-home bar for bougie entertaining purposes, don't worry if you're not there yet. You don't need a cocktail shaker to make the best margarita of all time. A simple DIY project will make you the next home bartender savant: Grab a mason jar and two lids, one with a few 1/4-inch holes punched into it. (Use a hammer and nail.) Add your ice and ingredients, shake with the no-hole lid secured tight, switch to the lid with holes, and strain.
Roll those sleeves up, crank up the music, and let's get down to making the perfect margarita from scratch.
1. Go Top Shelf
You want a bright, crisp tequila blanco that’s 100 percent agave—not cut with corn syrup or sugar. Try Siembra Valles, which has an earthy flavor, or Astral, which is a little more floral but works really well with lime juice. And for your triple sec, opt for Cointreau, which hits all the right orange notes.
2. Salt the Glass
Salt intensifies the flavors of the other ingredients. Plus, it’s delicious in and of itself. Take a margarita glass, run a lime wedge around the rim, then dip the rim into a plate with about 2 tablespoons of flaky kosher salt and spread the salt evenly. Coconut, hibiscus, and lavender salts all work wonders.
3. Ditch the Pitcher
Batch-made margaritas sit out and gradually lose their freshness. Good thing
the best margaritas are so easy to make: Grab your shaker (or mason jar), fill it with ice, and add 1 1⁄2 ounces tequila blanco and 1 ounce Cointreau. (A jigger has these measurements on each side, or you can do 2 tablespoons per ounce.) Add 1⁄2 ounce fresh lime juice.
4. Really Shake the Thing
Bartenders go to town because thorough shaking not only chills the drink but also combines the ingredients so the booze doesn’t sit at the bottom of the glass. Shake the cocktail until the outside of the container is frosty, at least 20 seconds. The rest is simple: Strain into a glass.
A version of this article originally appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of Men’s Health.