I prefer this skinny Vodka Margarita recipe over the traditional, mainly because I'm not much of a tequila fan. Ask most people what’s in a margarita, and they’ll mention tequila.
For those of us who don't love tequila, it's easy to make vodka margarita instead. This recipe can be incredibly versatile, giving so many more options for flavor combinations because vodka is really tasteless.
Vodka also comes in at just 100 calories a shot. Like it sweet? Spicy? Traditional flavors? A vodka margarita has you covered.
This is a fantastic drink for the summer months, or perfect for happy hour all year round. And of course, it’s the classic cocktail to serve with some chips and guac or authentic Mexican salsa for Cinco de Mayo fun.
And speaking of fun, try these amazing Jello Shots with Vodka at your next party!
Why This Recipe Works
The margarita is the most popular cocktail in America right now, and one of the most famous cocktails in the world. It has the perfect feel of a party drink, and its refreshing taste goes great with a casual meal.
By using vodka in this recipe, you get the wonderful flavors of a margarita, but with a drink that goes down smooth and without the taste of tequila.
It’s an easy margarita recipe to toss together, whether you’re making one cocktail or cocktails for everyone.
What Goes Into This Recipe
Vodka. Instead of the tequila found in a traditional margarita, this recipe uses vodka. This also allows for a lot of creativity as there are so many flavored vodkas on the market.
Triple Sec. Even though we think of Mexico when it comes to margaritas, Triple Sec is an orange liqueur that originated in France! It is less sweet than Grand Marnier, and has a bright, vivid citrus flavor.
Lime and lemon juice, and lime zest. The bright notes of fresh citrus are a must for this recipe.
Agave. Adds a touch of sweetness. This helps cut the tart of the citrus juices.
See recipe card for quantities and full directions.
Step by Step Instructions
Rub lime around the rim of the glass. Dip glass in coarse salt until rim is covered. Set aside.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
Pour in Triple Sec.
Pour in agave and shake everything together well.
Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with lime wedge or lime wheel.
Optional: Add a small sprinkling of lime zest as we did.
- Use fresh juice. Don't be tempted with the bottled stuff. Fresh juice means fresh flavor.
- Taste test. Some limes are more sour than others. If your vodka margarita recipe is too tart, add a little more agave or simple syrup.
- Shake it up. Margaritas should be shaken for about 20 seconds. Too much more may water down the mixture.
- Coarse salt. Use a coarse salt for the rim.
To make this spicy, use a pepper vodka or add a couple of dashes of black pepper.
Looking to jazz up the drink? Try adding an ounce of sparkling water after you pour it into the cocktail glass to give it a hint of effervescence.
If you’re looking for a drink that is a little lighter on the alcohol, replace the Triple Sec with fresh orange juice.
For fans of a frozen margarita, simply add the ingredients into a blender with 3 or 4 cups of ice. Blend on high setting until it is a slushy consistency.
How to Store Larger Quantities
If you want to make a batch of these vodka margaritas ahead of time, simply omit the ice. Multiply the ingredients for however many you want to make, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.
Frequently Asked Questions
The salt has flavor-boosting qualities by enhancing the body’s sense of taste and smell. I personally don't think a margarita is a margarita without the salt rim!
The Persian Lime, also known as the Tahiti Lime, is less acidic and more bitter than some other varieties of limes, so you’ll see that used most often for a margarita. It also has a beautiful green color for visual appeal. But you could use the sweeter Key Lime like we did in this Key Lime Pie, too.
Agave syrup comes from the agave plant, which is a succulent from Mexico and the Caribbean. This plant provides a naturally sweet agave nectar that is perfect for margaritas. In a pinch, you can also use simple syrup or honey instead of agave.
More Cocktail Recipes
Vodka Margarita Recipe
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce Triple Sec (Cointreau or Grand Marnier work well, too.)
- ½ ounce lemon juice fresh
- ½ ounce lime juice fresh
- ¾ ounce agave Or to taste. If you like more tart, use less.
- coarse salt for rim
- lime garnish for rim
- Rub lime around rim of glass. Dip glass in salt until covered. Set aside.
- Fill cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add vodka.
- Add Triple Sec.
- Add juices.
- Add agave.
- Shake well.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.
- Garnish with lime wedge or wheel.