Ina Garten Margaritas Recipe: 'Barefoot Contessa' Star Uses This 'Secret' Hack and Unusual Twist

Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten recipes often include an unusual ingredient or tip that takes it to another level — her margaritas are another example of that. Garten skips the bottled margarita mix for this cocktail recipe and opts for fresh lemon and lime juices. Plus, she has another interesting hack that your bank account will appreciate.

The Ina Garten margaritas recipe has a different twist

Garten demonstrated how to make margaritas using her recipe during an episode of Barefoot Contessa. She shared a few of her tips, including one secret that really pays off.


  • 1 lime, halved
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1 cup triple sec
  • 1 cup white tequila
  • 2 cups ice, plus extra for serving

Garten explained that her margaritas are “really traditional but I make it with a twist. I do it with lime and lemon and I think it’s really good.”

“And this is the secret to my margaritas, is a lemon, the juice of one lemon,” she noted. “And for some reason, it just gives it much more depth of flavor. I love it.”

After adding the lemon and lime juices to a blender, Garten reaches for the tequila, sharing another pro-tip: it doesn’t have to be a pricey bottle. “The curious thing about margaritas, I found, is they don’t come out very good if you use really good tequila,” she explained. “You know, that dark, golden tequila. You have to use inexpensive tequila and then they come out great.”

She adds the triple sec next, as well as a cup or two of ice. Garten blends the large batch of margaritas ahead of time and refrigerates it in a pitcher. That way when she’s ready to serve it to guests, she shakes up an individual portion in a cocktail shaker with ice and pours it into a martini glass. She recommends running a lime along the rim of the glass and pressing it into a plate of kosher salt before pouring the drink.

Garten explained why fresh juice makes all the difference in cocktails

While making her margaritas recipe, Garten stressed, “It’s really important that it’s fresh lime juice.” The Barefoot Contessa refuses to use anything but fresh-squeezed juices in her cocktails.

In a Food Network video for her whiskey sour cocktail recipe, Garten explained, “Most whiskey sours, when you get them at restaurants, are actually made with sour mix, which … I hate that. This is made with fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, and a simple sugar syrup.”

She explained, “You really have to use fresh lime juice. Don’t even think about using the bottled ones.”

Another Barefoot Contessa pro-tip? She always measures her ingredients for cocktails so that the ratios are just perfect.

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