To make a great Margarita you need great tequila, and most of the widely-available affordable tequilas (including name brands) are dreadful mixtos. (See Types of Tequila) Fortunately there is a very good tequila that won't bust your budget: Zapopan, sold by Trader Joe's for only $10 per liter, both Blanco (lighter) and Reposado (richer and smoother). It's generally better than anything else under $20, and stands up well to anything else under $30.
- 1½ oz tequila
100% agave reposado preferred
- ½ oz triple sec
good quality, Hiram Walker preferred, orange curaçao also works well
- ½ oz lime juice
unsweetened, preferably fresh, Key lime for extra flavor
For more sweetness, add more triple sec.
Great accompaniment for guacamole!
Update (12/2015): The price of Zapopan has gone up to $12 per liter, but that's still a great bargain!
Update (8/2017): Alas, Trader Joe's no longer carries Zapopan, and the replacement tequila doesn't measure up, but Zapopan can still be found at Bitters+Bottles. The price is higher, but it's still a great bargain. Only Blanco is stocked, but Reposado can be ordered.