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Classic Lime Margarita On the Rocks ~ Perfect in Every Way

This classic margarita with lime is quite possibly the most perfect summer cocktail of all time! Smooth, silky and served on the rocks, its so refreshing and always leads to a good time!

Honestly, these lime margaritas are kick ass. I’ve never really been a tequila girl like Debbie is, but since trying these cocktails, I’ve crossed over to the dark side! They are soooo good!

I think what makes these better than any other margarita Debbie and I have tried is the perfect sweet/tart balance and the addition of frothy egg whites which give these cocktails a silky feel when you sip on them. Don’t be scared to try it!

Three lime margaritas with frothy tops in glasses rimmed with salt and lime zest

Tools You Need


Here is what you will need to make your cocktail:

  • tequila or mezcal
  • orange liqueur (see below)
  • fresh lime juice
  • simple syrup
  • ice
  • salt for the rim (optional)
  • lime zest (optional)

Best Tequila for Margaritas

All tequila is not created equal! That said, many tequilas will work for this cocktail but a silver or blanco tequila works well for this margarita as the flavor and color is light.

You could also go for a reposado which is aged 2 years, very tasty, but will give you a slightly stronger tequila flavor. Definitely not a bad thing if that’s what you like 😉

Finally, you could also opt for a mezcal which is mine and Debbie’s personal favorite. It is smooth and has a slightly smoky flavor that is excellent in this classic margarita! We like one that is lightly smoky for this cocktail.

We don’t recommend an anejo as it might be a bit of a waste to mix that tequila. Its more expensive and its got a stronger flavor. Good for sipping on 🙂

Here are a few of our personal favorites for a margarita. You can’t go wrong with any of these:

  • Silver Patron
  • Don Julio Blanco
  • Sombra Mezcal
  • Jaral de Barrio Mezcal
  • Espolon Blanco or Reposado
  • Casa Noble Silver
  • 1800 Silver Tequila
pouring a shaken margarita into a glass filled with ice

Tequila vs Mezcal

Both tequila and mezcal are made from agave, and they are similar, but different all at the same time!

Tequila is produced by steaming the agave in an oven and then distilling in copper pots. The agave for mezcal is cooked in earthen pits lines with lava rocks and filled with wood and charcoal then distilled in clay pots. This is where the smokiness in mezcal comes from.

Both Debbie and I can’t get enough of mezcal in our margaritas so we highly recommend giving it a try!

Best Orange Liqueur for a Classic Margarita

A classic margarita also has a touch of orange liqueur in it. It makes a big difference in flavor! Don’t skip it if you don’t have to. Here are some orange liqueurs you can use:

  • triple sec – there are many different brands, any will do.
  • cointreau – actually a triple sec
  • grand marnier – actually a triple sec blended with cognac
  • curacao (but very very sweet) – we don’t recommend this one, but it will do in a pinch

We used Luxardo Triple Sec for this cocktail.

two pictures showing how we rimmed our glass with a lime wedge and then salt and lime zest

Rim the Glass

To rim the glass or not rim the glass! Its totally up to you. Debbie and I like a touch of salt with our margarita, but we often will only rim half the glass so there’s a salty spot and a no salt spot to drink from if you want.

We also love a little bit of lime zest in our rim for that added touch of flavor. But this is optional. Its also pretty! Here are some other options:

  • lemon zest
  • a touch of sugar – cane sugar would be great
  • orange zest – to mirror the orange liquor flavor
  • chili powder or other spicy powder for a touch of heat

To rim your glass you dip it in some lime juice or run a fresh lime wedge around the edge of your glass and then dip it in your desired rimmer.

Rimmer Tips

  • Make sure not to get too much salt on the inside of the glass when you rim with salt. Otherwise it comes off into the cocktail and makes your drink salty. Just tilt the glass so you get the salt rim on the outside!
  • If you have trouble getting the rim to stick to the glass with lime juice, try something a little stickier like a simple syrup

How to Make a Margarita on the Rocks

So you have rimmed your glass (or not, if you don’t like it) and now your need your cocktail. This is how you make it.

  • get out a cocktail shaker
  • measure your ingredients, except for the egg white, and pour them in the shaker
  • take a spoon and mix the ingredients and then pull out the spoon and give it a taste. This is when you can adjust the mix to your liking. If you like a little less sweet, add a touch more lime and vice versa.
  • add the egg white
  • fill the shaker half full of ice, cover and shake it for at least 10 seconds
  • strain into your rimmed glass and serve

You don’t have to taste it before shaking each time, but we suggest doing it for the first cocktail.

How to Make a Skinny Margarita

To make a skinny margarita, you can follow this same recipe but make these adjustments:

  • only use 1 oz of tequila
  • reduce the amount of simple syrup to 1/4 oz

This will reduce the amount of calories in your margarita and it will still taste great.

a close up shot of a margarita.  shows the egg white froth on top!

How to Make a Simple Syrup:

A simple syrup is just as easy to make as its name implies! There are just a few easy steps.

  • add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water.
  • bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • simmer for 5 – 10 mins or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly. You want it to just coat the back of a spoon. You don’t want it too thick.

And that’s it! The simple syrup will keep in an airtight jar for a long time in the fridge so we make a bunch and keep it on hand.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is there egg whites in a margarita?

The egg white is there to give the cocktail a nice frothy top and a silky smooth finish. Its delicious! It is optional, but we think this cocktail is WAY better with it.

Is it safe to use egg whites in cocktails?

Yes, you only use a small amount and salmonella is not as much of a concern with eggs these days as it used to be. If you are worried about using raw eggs in your cocktail then just leave it out. The cocktail will still taste good.

Does a margarita need triple sec?

It doesn’t need it, but we have had it both with and without and it is most definitely better with. Try it and see for yourself!

Can you use bottled lime juice for a margarita?

You could. But fresh is always better. If you go the bottled route, use a good one like Santa Cruz organic lime juice. It’s got great lime flavor even though its not exactly fresh squeezed.

Other Cocktails with Tequila

If you’ve tried this classic lime margarita recipe then we would love it if you could rate the recipe by clicking on the stars in the recipe card and let us know how it turned out in the comments below.  We love hearing from you! 

We love to see your creations!  Tag @Cookswithcocktails if you post a picture of this recipe on INSTAGRAM

Classic Lime Margarita on the Rocks

4.25 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cocktail, Drink
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: classic margarita, lime margarita, margarita, margarita on the rocks
Prep Time: 5 days 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail
Calories: 211kcal
Author: Julie & Debbie


  • coarse salt and lime zest for rimming the glass
  • 1 1/2 oz tequila or mezcal
  • 1/2 oz triple sec or other orange liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 2 tsp egg whites


  • Run a lime wedge around the edge of a glass and then dip the glass in the coarse salt and lime zest. Fill the glass with ice.
  • Pour the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, simple syrup and egg white into a cocktail shaker. Add a bunch of ice and shake it up really well. Strain into your glass and serve.


Serving: 1cocktail | Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 3g | Sugar: 15g

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