Learn / How To Make a Margarita (With & Without Alcohol)

July 7th, 2023

How To Make a Margarita (With & Without Alcohol)

The margarita is steeped in lore. Many tales claim its origin, but all converge in one place: Mexico, sometime in the early 20th century.

One popular story credits Carlos "Danny" Herrera with its creation, borne out of the need to satisfy the palette of a customer allergic to all alcohols but tequila — a spirit she found too harsh to imbibe straight. So, Herrera combined the elements of a traditional tequila shot — lime, salt, and tequila itself — into a refreshing, accessible cocktail.

This delightful concoction transcends the realm of mixology, touching the heart of Mexican culture. It is the soul of the fiesta, the laughter shared amongst friends, and the sun setting over the warm sands. The margarita is an experience, a celebration in a glass, with each ingredient playing its part in the symphony.

What Makes a Margarita?

On a balmy day under a sun-drenched sky, there's little as refreshing and satisfying as a well-crafted margarita. But what exactly defines this desirable elixir?

At its heart, a margarita is a harmonious trifecta of tequila, lime juice, and triple sec. These are the bones of this timeless drink, but it's the spirit — both the alcoholic variety and the essence of the maker — that breathes life into it.

The tequila should be of good quality, preferably reposado or blanco for their rich, smooth flavors. The lime juice, freshly squeezed, for that burst of citrusy zing, and triple sec, a clear orange liqueur, to lend sweetness and depth. To frame this exquisite portrait, the artist — that is, the mixologist or even yourself — applies a delicate garnish, which can be a lime wedge or perhaps an orange slice.

How To Make a Classic Margarita

Creating a classic margarita is a simple act akin to moments of quiet introspection or lively conversation. It begins with the gathering of your stars: tequila, lime juice, and triple sec, along with your garnish of choice.

The dance of lime, tequila, and triple sec is a delicate one, an ethereal balance of sharp, sweet, and bitter. The nature of these ingredients dramatically sways the drinking experience. A high-quality tequila can turn the simple margarita into an elevated experience.

High-quality lime juice can impart a tartness that hits the palate just right, while a good triple sec can provide a subtle sweetness to balance the flavors.


  • Lime, 1 wedge
  • Coarse sea salt, 1 tsp. or as needed
  • Blanco tequila, 2 oz.
  • Triple sec, 1 ½ oz.
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 oz.

Take a margarita glass and run a lime wedge along the rim of the glass before gently rolling the edge in salt, mirroring a crystalline sea. This serves a dual purpose: it not only adds to the aesthetics but also introduces a contrast of flavors, making each sip a sensory journey.

In a cocktail shaker, blend your ingredients. The tequila forms the body, the lime juice adds a tangy edge, and the triple sec sweetens. Shake them together with ice cubes, the movement akin to a lively dance, before pouring the mixture into the prepared glass. Add the garnish to complete this elegant masterpiece.

Ways To Experiment With Your Margarita Recipe

Variations abound, with some choosing to use Grand Marnier, Mezcal, or lemon juice in their margarita. The type of sweetener can also vary from simple syrup to agave syrup.

You can elevate your salt-rimmed glass with a garnish of lime slices, blueberries, basil leaves, or jalapeño for a delightfully tangy spicy margarita. Some prefer a frozen margarita, while others savor it over ice in a rocks glass.

Another delightful twist you can try is replacing the triple sec with orange juice. This potassium and vitamin C-rich alternative not only provides the citrusy sweetness typically imparted by triple sec but also infuses the cocktail with a fresh, fruity complexity.

Combine the orange juice with your best tequila, salted rim, and other favorite cocktail elements, and you have the potential for a truly unique homemade margarita experience.

Personalizing your margarita is an art. Perhaps a hint of jalapeño for the adventurous or a tweak of sweet and sour for those in search of harmony. The essence of a sublime margarita is its balance — a seesaw of flavors that you can adjust to your liking.

Whether you're experimenting with a new twist or staying true to the classic margarita recipe, remember the essence of the margarita — it is a dance, a celebration, a recalibration of the senses. This is why it remains a classic cocktail, a testament to the simple joy of good drink and good company.

What Are the Benefits of a Non-Alcoholic Margarita?

In a world ever more conscious of health and well-being, non-alcoholic margaritas are finding their place in the limelight. They offer all the charm, flavor, and sophistication of a traditional margarita but without the aftermath of sluggishness or hangovers.

The non-alcoholic margarita extends an open invitation to everyone to enjoy cocktail hour. It reduces alcohol consumption without compromising the pleasure and sociability that comes with drinking.

It offers an equally inviting choice without the potential side effects of alcohol, like poor sleep, dehydration, and the dreaded hangover.

How To Make a Margarita Without Alcohol

At Aplós, our functional spirits offer a new way to experience non-alcoholic spirits, bridging the gap between classic cocktail enjoyment and a mindful approach to drinking.

The Mellow Margarita

Aplós Calme, in particular, serves as a luxurious and functional alternative to tequila. Infused with hemp and a blend of citrus and herbal botanicals, this non-alcoholic spirit introduces an elevated dimension to your cocktail, promoting calm and upliftment without the negative effects of alcohol.

To craft your Mellow Margarita, assemble your ingredients:

  • Aplós Calme, 1 oz.
  • Agave nectar, 1 tsp.
  • Lime juice, ½ oz.
  • A dash of sea salt
  • A splash of orange flower water

Run a lime wedge around the rim of your glass, and then roll it in coarse salt. Add your ingredients and ice cubes to a cocktail shaker and perform the alchemical process of blending these elements. Strain the mixture over fresh ice in your prepared glass, and garnish with a lime wheel.

It's an uncomplicated, thoughtful way to sip serenity, mellowing your mood while lifting your spirit.

The Dancing Shoes

Aplós Arise, meanwhile, delivers a dynamic, celebratory edge. This adaptogenic, non-alcoholic spirit combines citrus and herbal botanicals with a proprietary blend of adaptogens, creating a cocktail that stimulates and elevates.

Our Dancing Shoes cocktail uses Aplós Arise along with agave nectar, lime juice, and a splash of orange flower water. The method mirrors that of the Mellow Margarita, resulting in a drink that encourages lively conversations, celebrations, and, perhaps, even the joyful sway and spill of dance shared with friends.

The prep time for these margaritas is minimal, and the total time you'll gain in good company, conversation, and celebration is immeasurable. After all, isn't life about savoring such moments?

The Aplós non-alcoholic margarita is more than a drink - it's an opportunity to make time stand still, to embrace the simple, beautiful things that add more substance to our lives.

How To Pair a Margarita With Your Meals

Margaritas, with their citrus crescendos and tequila undertones, are the soulmates of flavorsome dishes, particularly those from the Mexican culinary landscape. Picture the poetic interplay between a sip of a balanced margarita and a bite of a rich, spice-laden taco. Each sip, each bite, a fleeting moment crystallized in memory, an ethereal dance of flavors on your tongue.

Choosing the best margarita to pair with your dish comes down to a symphony of flavors. A citrusy margarita might pair elegantly with seafood, while a hint of spice may complement hearty meats or robust cheeses.

Listen to your palate — it knows the music of flavors, guiding you to an exquisite cocktail companion for your meal.

Enhance Your Drinking Experience With Aplós

The margarita, whether in its classic, tequila-infused form or its non-alcoholic iterations, is more than a cocktail. It's a philosophy, a moment in time, a pause to appreciate life's simple yet profound pleasures.

Whether you resonate with the calming complexity of Aplós Calme or the energetic nuance of Aplós Arise, the magic lies in finding your perfect blend. Embark on a journey of flavors, dare to experiment, and above all, relish the journey.

Remember, a memorable margarita is a symphony composed of quality margarita ingredients. The spirit's quality, the freshness of the ice, the crunch of kosher salt or sea salt on the rim — these are the notes that play together to transform a simple drink into an ethereal experience.

Here's to discovering your perfect margarita, your moment of recalibration. To life, to joy, to simple luxuries.


The History of the Margarita | Arts & Culture| Smithsonian Magazine

Orange juice, raw (Includes foods for USDA's Food Distribution Program) | USDA

Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Old and Novel, and Their Potential Effects on Human Health, with a Focus on Hydration and Cardiometabolic Health | PMC

Alcohol's Effects on the Body | NIAAA