Bring on the margaritas -- made popular from the Olive Garden, this Italian margarita with amaretto comes with the perfect sweet and sour balance for one refreshing cocktail. This easy margarita recipe takes just a few minutes to whip up, and you only need a handful of fresh ingredients.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Love a twist on a classic margarita? Same. And that's exactly why I'm bringing you this amaretto-spiked margarita.
We still get plenty of bright lime that we all know and love from our margaritas, but the amaretto adds a welcomed richness to make one unforgettable tequila cocktail. I find amaretto is one of those flavors that people love, but for whatever reason, it's rarely the first liqueur that comes to mind when mixing drinks.
So how about we put an end to that? People love margaritas, and people love amaretto. Let's flex those hosting skills and give the people what they want at our next gathering -- enter this ridiculously delicious amaretto Italian margarita recipe.
Tequila: I prefer a reposado tequila over a blanco tequila. Sure, you can use blanco, otherwise known as silver tequila, but I love the flavor of reposado over blanco, especially with our nutty amaretto.
Reposado spends some time aging in oak barrels, which gives it a complexity that blanco lacks along with a hint of vanilla that's perfect with the almond. One sip and I have no doubt you'll agree reposado is the best tequila for this recipe.
Fresh lime juice and orange juice: No margarita mix here. We only use fresh juice for superior results. A mix just can't compete with the brightness of real lime juice.
Amaretto: Typically, I like to use an orange liqueur in my margaritas, such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier or triple sec, but we're replacing that with this delicious liqueur instead. Matt and I tried this margarita with only amaretto and then a combination of amaretto and orange liqueur. We both preferred the amaretto-only version. To us, this really allowed that delicious almond flavor to shine.
Besides being ridiculously delicious and a guaranteed crowd favorite, I love serving margaritas when playing hostess because they’re super simple to make. If you can squeeze juice and pour liquor, you have all the mixology skills necessary to make one fine margarita. Let's get to it.
Step 1: If you'd like a salted rim, we first cut a slit in the middle of a lime slice and run it around the rim of our glass to moisten. We then pour some coarse sea salt on a small plate and swirl the rim of the glass in the sea salt (photo 1) and set aside.
Step 2: For our drink, we simply add tequila, lime juice, orange juice, simple syrup and amaretto to a cocktail shaker with ice (photo 2).
Step 3: We pop on the top and give it a good shake (photo 3). About 15-30 seconds generally works.
Step 4: For our final step, we strain the margarita into our rimmed glass with ice (photo 4).
And just like that, you have the tastiest Italian margarita you’ve ever tasted. See? Easy as can be.
Amaretto is a sweet almond liqueur from Saronno, Italy, which gives this margarita its Italian flair. Not only is this liqueur delicious in cocktails, but it also adds a richness to desserts, such as my amaretto-strawberry-Nutella puff pastry tart. While you can pick up amaretto from different distillers, Disaronno is the top-shelf brand and my favorite choice.
Absolutely! Simply mix the ingredients together in a large pitcher and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve. I recommend serving within 24 hours. After that, the citrus juices start to lose their brightness.
While you can buy simple syrup, I much prefer to make my own. Simply combine 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Get the most out of your lime: I recommend first rolling the lime firmly on the countertop a few times. This gets the juice flowing. A handheld juicer is also helpful.
Customize to suit your taste: While that delicious Italian liqueur is sweet, I still like a smidge of simple syrup. To me, it rounds out the flavor. But if you prefer a less sweet drink, feel free to skip the simple syrup. You can always pour it in afterward if you change your mind.
Pick the right limes: Get limes that have some give when you squeeze them. If the limes are hard, they're dried out.
Get a good shake: For the proper shaking technique, use two hands to really give you enough force to agitate the mixture.
Amaretto gives these tequila cocktails a sweeter quality than your typical margarita, so I love pairing this drink with a dessert. The nutty, rich amaretto works especially well with chocolate, and cherries match beautifully to the vanilla and oak flavors that come from reposado. With that in mind, you’ll love pairing my frozen chocolate-cherry mousse pie or chocolate-covered cherry cheesecake with this Italian margarita.
When you need a sweet, delicious twist on a classic margarita, I hope you try this Italian margarita with amaretto.
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The Best Italian Margarita
- Cocktail shaker or jar with solid lid
- Citrus juicer
- Jigger or small measuring cup
- Lime slices for garnish, optional
- Coarse sea salt for garnish, optional
- 2 ounces tequila preferably reposado
- 1 ounce amaretto
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime about 1 lime
- ½ ounce simple syrup see note
- Cut a lime slice in the middle to make a slit and run it along the rim of your serving glass. Pour coarse sea salt onto a small plate and swirl the moistened rim in the salt. Add ice to the glass.
- In a cocktail shaker, add the tequila, amaretto, orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup and ice. Put the top on and shake vigorously for 15-30 seconds.
- Strain into serving glass. Garnish with an additional lime slice if desired. Enjoy!
- If you prefer a less sweet drink, feel free to skip the simple syrup. You can always pour it in afterward if you change your mind.
- You can buy simple syrup or make your own. To make your own, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks.
- I recommend first rolling the lime firmly on the countertop a few times. This gets the juice flowing. A handheld juicer is also helpful.
- Get limes that have some give when you squeeze them. If the limes are hard, they're dried out.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.