Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbum/271960036/
This is adapted from joanie's recipe, see hers for more swell notes on making a margarita. This recipe is the proportions I choose, and is scaled to a single drink.
Once you've got the proportions about right, the next step is selecting your liquors. For the orange liqueur, quality really makes a difference. The gold standard is Cointreau, but it's really quite spendy. One quality/price step down from that is appropriate, but if you're reaching for a Triple Sec, you've fallen too far. Grand Marnier is often used in margaritas, but it's an orange brandy rather than an orange liqueur, it's a different flavor and not an appropriate swap for this recipe.
The trickier part is the tequila. My general guideline for selecting a good base spirit applies here: look for a brand that is familiar to you because they spend a lot on marketing, note its price, then select a *different* brand that does not spend a lot on marketing, at that price point or slightly above. It doesn't matter if you've never heard of it at all. Stick to 100% agave tequilas. The barrel aging in tequilas goes silver/blanco (youngest) → reposado (medium) → añejo (oldest). I generally reach for a reposado when making margaritas.
- 1 1/2 oz tequila
- 1 oz orange liqueur
- 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/4 (or less) simple syrup
If juicing your limes in an electric juicer, don't overdo it... if you grind into the rind, you'll start to get bitter juice. Don't use juice that's more than a day old; it won't make you sick, but it won't be as good.
Lime tartness can vary, so be prepared to go easy on the simple syrup.
Shake and serve over ice.