Let’s upgrade your tequila game with this classic Cadillac margarita! Made with barrel-aged tequila, rich Grand Marnier and freshly squeezed lime juice, this top-shelf margarita is simple yet full of flavor thanks to its high-quality ingredients. This will be your new go-to margarita recipe.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
The ultimate premium margarita: Cadillac margaritas use only top-shelf ingredients to make a drink that goes down oh-so smoothly.
Quick and easy as it gets: This may be a high-quality margarita, but that doesn't mean it's difficult to make. Even the beginner mixologist can whip up this simple cocktail like a pro.
Universally beloved: Everyone loves even a basic house margarita — it's a delicious cocktail with the perfect balance of sweet and citrus notes, and it's great for any occasion. Now imagine how happy they'll be when you set a top-shelf margarita in front of your guests.
Perfect for parties: Not only is a Cadillac margarita a real crowd pleaser but you can easily size up the recipe to make a pitcher for serving a large group.
Related: If you love this recipe, make sure you also try my classic margarita or branch out and try some fruity margaritas, such as my pineapple-coconut margarita, passion fruit margarita and raspberry margarita! They all make for one good margarita.
That's right — it just takes three simple ingredients to make the best margarita recipe.
Reposado tequila: Yes, the type of tequila matters. You may have noticed I specified reposado tequila. I almost always prefer reposado in my margaritas, but blanco tequila, also known as silver tequila, makes a fine substitution. However, Cadillac margaritas specifically call for reposado.
While tequila blanco doesn't spend any time aging, reposado tequila rests in oak barrels for two to 12 months, giving it that golden color. This time in the barrel gives reposado a distinct taste that shows off nutty, vanilla and sweet spice notes, and it makes for a smoother drinking experience.
Grand Marnier: The other essential ingredient for a top-shelf Cadillac margarita is the Grand Marnier, which is a cognac brandy-based orange liqueur. Most house margaritas use triple sec as the orange liqueur, but this blend of cognac and bitter orange peels imparts a richer citrus that reminds me of candied zest. I truly think it makes for a more delicious margarita.
Fresh lime juice: No sour mix here. We only want to use the best ingredients, and that's freshly squeezed lime juice.
Step 1: We grab a cocktail shaker and add our top-shelf tequila reposado, Grand Marnier liqueur and fresh-squeezed lime juice (photo 1).
Step 2: Now we throw in some ice cubes, put on the top and give it a vigorous shake (photo 2).
Step 3: For a salted rim, we run a lime slice along the rim of the glass and then swirl it in a plate of coarse sea salt (photo 3). Coarse kosher salt also works.
Step 4: With our salted rim prepared, we add ice and then strain our drink into the margarita glass and garnish with a lime wedge or wheel. Now raise a glass to toast and enjoy!
A Cadillac margarita isn’t like a house margarita. It’s specifically made with reposado tequila and Grand Marnier. These premium ingredients make it the “Cadillac” of margaritas if you will.
You sure can — Cadillac margaritas are great for serving in a pitcher for parties. I included proportions in the notes section of the recipe card for a 12-serving pitcher.
If you need more customized measurements, you can easily make the calculations. Cocktails are traditionally measured in ounces, but cups is easier for making a big batch. To get the cup measurement, simply multiple the ounces by the number of desired servings, and then divide that number by eight.
I highly recommend using fresh lime juice. After all, this margarita is all about using the highest-quality ingredients. Bottled juice isn’t nearly as bright and flavorful as fresh lime juice.
Serve a float Grand Marnier: I prefer to shake my Grand Marnier to ensure it's well incorporated. That said, some people prefer to serve a float of Grand Marnier in a shot glass on the side of the prepared glass for a fun presentation.
Add sweetener: If you prefer a slightly sweeter margarita, add an ounce of simple syrup or agave syrup. The typical golden Cadillac margarita doesn't include added sugar, but you do you. The best way to prepare a drink is to make it how you and you alone like it.
Make it a pink Cadillac margarita: Play upon the original recipe and simply add 2 ounces cranberry juice and you have yourself a fun variation on the regular margarita.
Get ripe limes: Pick fresh limes that give in when you squeeze them. This ensures they’re nice and juicy.
Prepare your lime: Before juicing the lime, firmly roll it on the countertop a few times to help get the juice flowing.
Use the correct mixing technique: The best mixing technique is to use two hands while shaking. This helps ensure you get enough vigorous force behind the shake.
Swap your serving glass for what's on hand: Don't feel like you need to use a fancy margarita glass if you don't have one. A rocks glass will serve your perfect margarita just as well, and you can still garnish with that salt rim if you'd like.
Of course, margaritas call for Mexican food, and I have some delicious options for you. Love tacos? Try my blackened salmon tacos, chorizo tacos, lobster tacos or Greek lamb tacos. Can't get enough nachos? My jerk pork nachos or ahi nachos are tasty dishes with this Cadillac margarita.
And just in case you need a little more inspiration, you can't go wrong with any of these recipes.
- Mango-habanero salsa
- Beer-braised Mexican shredded beef
- Jerk chicken enchiladas
- Pineapple pico de gallo
- Tomato-chipotle salsa
For the ultimate top-shelf margarita, I hope you try this Cadillac margarita. Every sip is as refreshing as it gets, and you won't find a more perfect party cocktail.
Can’t Get Enough Margaritas?
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- Cocktail shaker
- Jigger or small measuring cup
- Citrus juicer
- 2 ounces reposado tequila
- 1 ounce Grand Marnier
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice about 1 lime
- Additional lime slices for garnish, optional
- Coarse sea salt for garnish, optional
- Add the tequila, Grand Marnier, lime juice and a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker.
- Put on the top and shake vigorously, about 15-30 seconds.
- For a salted rim, run a lime slice along the edge of the serving glass. Swirl the moistened rim into a small plate of coarse sea salt. Add ice to the glass.
- Strain the margarita into the serving glass. Garnish with additional lime slices if desired. Enjoy!
- For a 12-serving pitcher, stir together 3 cups tequila, 1 ½ cups Grand Marnier and 1 ½ cups lime juice.
- Cadillac margaritas traditionally don’t call for sweetener. However, if you prefer a little extra sweetness, add 1 ounce of simple syrup or agave nectar.
- Pick limes that give in when you squeeze them. This ensures they’re nice and juicy.
- Before juicing the lime, firmly roll it on the countertop a few times to help get the juice flowing.
- The best mixing technique is to use two hands while shaking. This helps ensure you get enough vigorous force behind the shake.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.