Try this bright twist on a classic margarita. The best Lemon Margarita has a double dose of intense lemon to make a refreshing tequila cocktail.
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Sometimes you just can't beat the original. (Like the first Die Hard, according to my husband and son.) But a margarita? Well, I think margaritas are deliciously open to variation!
Here's a citrus margarita but instead of lime, it's my sweet and tangy Lemon Margarita.
What's in a margarita?
With a name that means "daisy" in Spanish, this citrusy cocktail has been around for well over a century. Traditionally, a margarita is made from just three ingredients: tequila, lime juice, and an orange liqueur like Triple Sec.
Margaritas can be served on the rocks or frozen, and include a layer of salt on the rim of the glass.
Taking inspiration from this original iteration, bartenders and home mixologists have created endless variations with different fruit and flavorings. Tequila and that salted rim are constants, though, and usually a citrus component.
Are lemon margaritas good?
Oh yes, lemon margaritas are quite good! Made without Cointreau or Triple Sec, lemon juice and lemon liqueur take the place of the orange and lime flavors found in a traditional margarita, and the result is a cocktail that's incredibly refreshing.
The drink has a little sweetness too, giving it that lemonade-like lusciousness.
Why you'll love this recipe
Add this tequila lemon cocktail to your rotation to give your guests (and yourself) a refreshing option any time of the year. It's definitely a sunny, summery drink, but that lemon also feels perfect in springtime, and to brighten up cold, dark winter days.
The cocktail is made with Limoncello, an Italian spirit with a smooth, strong lemon flavor. That makes this drink an Italian Lemon Margarita!
Limoncello is made by soaking lemon rind in alcohol, and either store-bought or homemade versions will work well in this drink.
The simple lemon margarita is quick to mix up, and you can even convert it to a frozen version.
Sometimes I call this cocktail a lemon drop margarita or a Lemonheads margarita because the intense, sweet-lemon flavor is just like those lemon hard candies.
🔪 How to make a Lemon Margarita
- Lemon juice: use fresh-squeezed if you can.
- Simple syrup: buy a bottle or make your own simple syrup
- Tequila: I use blanco or silver tequila, but feel free to try your favorite variety
- Limoncello liqueur: Find bottled brands at your liquor store or use a homemade batch.
- Lemon: to wet the rim
- Salt: for that rim
Step 1: Blend the liquids
Mix together the lemon juice, sugar syrup, and spirits in a cocktail shaker or covered container. Shake to blend them well.
Step 2: Salt the rims
Use a lemon wedge to moisten the rims of the glasses. Dip the rims in a salt spread out in a shallow dish.
Step 3: Pour and serve
Add ice cubes to the glasses. Pour the blended margarita mixture over the ice, and serve them up!
Yes! Put the ingredients in a blender pitcher. Add in about 2-3 cups of ice and blend them on high to make a lemony, boozy slush.
The purpose of the salt on a margarita glass is to provide balance with the sour, citrus flavors, as well as to enhance the flavors of the drink in general. If you hate a salted rim, try adding just a pinch of salt to each lemon margarita instead.
Enjoy the citrusy, summery drink with salty chips and salsa, or with seafood like fish tacos and ceviche. The lemon flavor is also tasty alongside light pasta dishes and grill fare like burgers and steak.
For sweet pairings, try fruit sorbets, fruit salads, and crisp shortbread cookies.
- Chill the separate ingredients before assembling the drinks. Or, you can combine the liquid ingredients in a jar and store it in the fridge until it is chilled and time to serve the drinks.
- Salt on the rims is up to you, of course. Feel free to omit it, or even try some fine sugar on the rims instead!
The Lemon Margarita recipe is below. And I have a couple more lively drinks for you, too!
💬 So how do you like this limoncello cocktail? Tell me below in the comments section!
The Best Lemon Margarita
- 4 ounces Tequila, blanco or silver, chilled
- ½ cup simple syrup, chilled
- 2 ounces Limoncello lemon liqueur, chilled
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Lemon wedge
- Cubed ice
- Pour the tequila, sugar syrup, Limoncello, and simple syrup in a cocktail mixer or jar.
- Cover the container and shake to combine the ingredients.
- Spread some salt in a shallow dish wide enough for the rims of your glasses. Cut a slit in the lemon wedge and rub the lemon around the rims of the glasses to wet them.
- Dip the rims of two margarita glasses into the salt. Carefully add ice cubes to the prepared glasses.
- Pour the lemon-tequila mixture over the ice, being careful not to knock salt off the rims.
- Serve and enjoy the drinks immediately!
- Chill the separate ingredients before assembling the drinks. Or, combine the liquid ingredients in a jar and store it in the fridge until it's time to serve the drinks.
- Salt on the rims is up to you, of course. Feel free to omit it, or even try some fine sugar on the rims instead.