The margarita is one of the most popular cocktails ever and that’s likely because it’s both extremely delicious and simple to create at home. With Cinco de Mayo just a few weeks out and most of us having to adapt our celebrations into quarantine mode, there are a few tools and ingredients to have on hand for perfect margaritas every time.
Accounts of exactly how or from where the margarita catapulted into the cocktail kingdom vary, with no single story having been officially confirmed. Some claim the famous drink made with tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice, originated in a bar in Tijuana, while other accounts—like that of cocktail historian David Wondrich—point to an adaptation from a brandy cocktail sometime during the Prohibition era. However it got here, we’re certainly grateful it did.
Margarita literally translates to “daisy” in Spanish and much like its namesake flower, the beloved cocktail begins to appear with great frequency as the weather warms in spring and continues to bloom in bars, restaurants, and backyard BBQs all summer. Margaritas are easy to make and serve at home, too, requiring just a few ingredients and minimal technical skill (if not a little elbow grease), and so are not limited to nights out at cocktail bars or special occasions.
Related Reading: Tequila Cocktails That Go Beyond the Margarita
For true margarita fanatics—and especially those who often make them at home—there are a few smart tools, ingredients, and accessories that will elevate the experience of making (and drinking) margaritas even further. Here are the nine handy items every margarita drinker should have on hand. Besides limes.
A really good margarita hinges on fresh lime juice. Full stop. And while it’s not impossible to juice them by hand with a spoon or citrus reamer, if you’re a serial marg-drinker I’d suggest investing in a simple countertop juicer like this retro-looking unit from home and kitchen brand, Verve Culture. This juicer will make your margarita-making life easier and it looks dashing on the counter.Buy Now
Pro tip: Roll your limes firmly on the counter to loosen the juice before slicing in half to juice out the good stuff.
Style is subjective, of course, but I’d recommend leaving those cactus-inspired stem glasses for Taco Tuesday at Chili’s and get something more refined, like these hammered low-ball cocktail glasses, for your made-from-scratch margaritas.Buy Now
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You have endless options when it comes to cocktail pitchers but for something like margaritas, I prefer a clear glass vessel so people can see the bright and pretty color of the fresh lime juice (and also know exactly when it’s time to make more!). This rustic wicker-wrapped glass pitcher for less than $15 at Sur La Table is just the one for your next home marg party. Buy Now
Trust me, you can do a lot better than plain old kosher salt on your margaritas. The minds behind Tequila Tanteo—a producer with three distinct pepper-infused tequilas in its line—have also developed this well-balanced spicy margarita salt with dehydrated lime, jalapeño, and a little sugar. It’s good on more than just margaritas (rice, chicken, fish) and you can have your own 8-ounce bag for just $10.Buy Now
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Ok, so these aren’t for margaritas, per se, and they might seem hacky but these clever shot glasses are actually a great way to get salt involved if you want to sip (or slug) down tequila shots but don’t want to be seen licking it off your arm like a heathen.Buy Now
I’m going to let you in on a lil’ secret; you don’t need to pay big money for good tequila, especially if you’re using it in a margarita or other cocktail. But you should pick one that’s made from 100 percent agave like Cazadores Blanco which generally retails for less than $25 per bottle. Silver/Blanco (unaged tequilas) make a perfect candidate for this most famous of Mexican mixed-drinks.Buy Now
(If you’re looking for something to sip on, try something with a little age on it like Avila Reposado ($72.99 on Total Wine) from Revel; an artisan line of agave-based spirits not produced in Jalisco which technically disqualifies it from being called “tequila”).
Whichever tequila you decide on, you should absolutely house it in this quirky but cool decanter with blown glass agave plant flowering inside.Buy Now
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If you’ve come this far with good tequila and fresh lime juice, don’t cheap out with bad triple sec. I use such a small amount per cocktail that it’s worth it to buy a bottle of top-shelf French Cointreau which will last a while. But if you’re on a budget, a bottle of Dekuyper triple sec works just fine.Buy Now
I was always very anti-margarita mix until I discovered that a few good ones do actually exist. There will never be anything better than fresh-squeezed lime juice and made-from-scratch margaritas but they do take time, effort, and some planning so, in a pinch, Tres Agaves margarita mix makes a suitable shortcut. The key with any margarita mix is to find one made with actual lime juice (from concentrate is OK) and no corn syrup. Ever.Buy Now
Header image courtesy of Tanteo