A decent, bare-bones margarita can be made using tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice. If you want to kick things up a notch, you don’t need to burn a hole in your pocket buying top-shelf booze. Just head to the refrigerated section of the grocery store, throw a bottle of orange juice in your cart and proceed to self-checkout.
Making cocktails at home can be especially frustrating if you don’t have the financial means for expensive ingredients. In a perfect world, we would all stock our bar carts with Clase Azul and AsomBroso, but Don Julio, Espolon, Hornitos, Cazadores and Jose Cuervo — and other budget-friendly tequilas — go down just as fine. It’s the mixer that matters.
In our experience, pre-bottled margarita mix is for the birds. Convenience counts for something, but if you want something that truly tastes up to par, make it fresh. All you need are limes, triple sec (orange liqueur) and orange juice, which doesn’t typically go in your standard margarita — but stay with us.
Unless you have a heavy pour, the lime cuts the tequila. This is complemented by the triple sec, but the whole thing can sometimes taste a little too thin and tart. This is where the OJ comes in. It gives the drink a smoother, slightly thicker consistency and makes it more sweet than sour.
If you like puckering your face with every sip of a sour marg, make like “Men in Black” and look at this red light for us real quick. No, but really — orange juice isn’t the only secret to giving your adult beverage a facelift. Get to the bottom of that bottle by building these tequila cocktails that aren’t margaritas.