With such a classic drink—relying on a trifecta of just three ingredients—choosing an inferior addition anywhere will perceptibly lower the entire experience. So the final answer comes down to ingredients, proportions and the shaking process.
The first big blunder you can make with Margaritas have to do with the proportions. We all know people who don’t like to measure but you must have an even hand. First thing is first and that’s getting the proportions right. Start with 2 oz tequila, 2 oz lime and ½ oz of triple sec. If you want it more punchy and boozy add half an oz more of tequila. If you want it more tart, add half an ounce of lime more. If you like sweeter, add half an ounce more of triple sec.
The second mishap has to do with the tequila selection. If you use too cheap a tequila you will be able to taste it. If you go too cheap you will have a product that is half tequila and half sugar cane. You need a clean 100% from agave tequila blanco. But can you also go too expensive? Reposado or añejo is typically more expensive because of the elaborate aging process and it is “wasted” on a Margarita because the whole point of a Margarita is a nice even drink that is not too smokey.
Along those lines, in order to balance the acidity in the lime you must add a little salt. Trust me, even if you don’t like the rim salted, a pinch of salt will cut down on the acidity and brighten up the flavor of the lime. By the way, you should also add a pinch of salt when making lemonade. And yes, you should use real lime, the store bought bottle stuff is usually too sweet and has no vibrancy.
The third must that many people skip over is shaking. Make sure to shake the drink. Let’s face it…it’s fun, it attracts attention to yourself (you know you want it), and, more importantly, it aerates and combines the ingredients into a great drink.