Perfect Margaritas

How to Shop for Limes

When shopping for limes, you don’t want the big ones or the dark green ones. You want the shiny ones. Skip the limes with deeply dimpled peels. Instead, grab the smoothest-skinned limes you can find. Make sure they feel heavy in your hand. Take about 12, 14 if they’re really small.

No, they’re not cheap. But you can get cheap margaritas in any Tex-Mex place.

Other Ingredients

Make sure you have plenty of ice on hand. Find a tequila that’s smooth but just a little too strongly flavored for you to want to drink it on its own. We use Sauza Conmemorativo, a 750 ml bottle. Get some Grand Marnier; you’ll need 500 ml. You can swap orange liqueurs later if you don’t like the results, but Grand Marnier really has the right blend of sweet and bitter for this application. Have a little plain white sugar and margarita salt on hand.

That’s it. Those are all the ingredients. No sour or mix to be seen.


Roll 8 limes around on the counter to bruise them. Don’t be gentle. Then figure out how to get the fruit wax off your hands and counter. If you find any good methods, please share.

Get out a tightly sealing pitcher (2 liters/quarts), a 2-cup liquid measure, a citrus juicer, and either a small sifter or a funnel lined with cheesecloth. The sifter goes in the liquid measure. The funnel and cheesecloth go in the mouth of the pitcher.

Slice and squeeze the limes, discovering all the tiny cuts on your hands in the process. Be thorough, but don’t introduce pith to the juice. After four limes, check the level of juice. You’re aiming for 500 ml. If you’ll need more than 8 limes, which you probably will, bruise them now.

Once you hit 500 ml, add it to the pitcher with the tequila and Grand Marnier. Shake. Pour a tiny sample and taste. Add a small amount of sugar if the limes weren’t ripe. Seal up the pitcher and store in the fridge.

Drinking the Perfect Margarita

You now have a deceptively tasty, roughly 60-proof pitcher in the refrigerator. Care is called for.

Serve the perfect margarita over lots of ice, or blend it with ice if you like margarita slushies. Shake the pitcher before pouring. There will be sediment from the limes. If it’s hot and you’re thirsty, or if you have difficulty forgetting about your drink for a while between sips, add some orange juice to make it safer to quaff. It’s a different flavor, but still yummy.

Don’t worry too much about how long you store the margaritas. Did I mention that they’re 30 percent alcohol? That, and they’re perfect, so they won’t last long. Enjoy.

Perfect Margaritas

4 thoughts on “Perfect Margaritas

  1. 3

    Ohhhh, these sound amazing! I don’t remember what grand marnier tastes like though…and… I’ve never had tequila. Can you tell I’m not a heavy drinker? Maybe I should just try it anyway, I’m sure I can find someone to drink it if I don’t like it.

  2. 4

    Grand Marnier is a cognac (fine brandy) based orange liqueur. It’s used here, instead of other triple secs, because it’s more strongly flavored than most and because it has some of the bitter notes of citrus instead of just being sweet. I do like my bitter with my sweet.

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