Cilantro-Lime Margarita Recipe: Make a Toast to Fresh Flavors!

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Let’s talk about a cocktail that’s sure to tickle your taste buds, bring some sunshine to your day, and change your cocktail game forever: this Cilantro-Lime Margarita recipe. Trust me, you’ll want to bookmark and share with your friends!

Brief History of Margaritas

Margaritas have a rather contested history, much like the last slice of pizza at a party. While several stories revolve around its creation, the common element always seems to be a lovely lady.

One story dates back to 1938 in Baja California, where Carlos ‘Danny’ Herrera concocted this sweet and sour cocktail for a customer allergic to all spirits except tequila, but found it too harsh.

Herrera softened the tequila’s bite by adding lime and salt, and voila, Margarita was born!

Over the decades, the classic Margarita, with its perfect balance of sweet, salty, and sour, has charmed cocktail enthusiasts worldwide, becoming a staple on every bar menu.

Why Cilantro-Lime Margarita: The Unique Twist

So, why the cilantro-lime twist? I hear you asking. Well, imagine a splash of extra freshness and an intriguing herbal note added to your favorite Margarita, and that’s exactly what this Cilantro-Lime Margarita recipe does.

The humble cilantro, from your cocktail herb garden or the local grocery store, adds a cool, bright flavor profile that complements lime’s tartness. You can grow these herbs at home, in your indoor herb garden or by growing herbs on a balcony, to add a whole new level of freshness to your cocktails!

Essentials for Cilantro-Lime Margarita


Ingredient List

The ingredients list for this Cilantro-Lime Margarita recipe is refreshingly short. You’ll need:

  • Quality Tequila
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Ice cubes
  • Salt for rimming the glass

Don’t skimp on quality for the tequila. It’s the star of the show, and you want it to shine.

The Role of Each Ingredient: Understanding Flavors

Let’s take a closer look at each ingredient in our Cilantro-Lime Margarita recipe, dissecting their roles to understand why they make this cocktail such a delicious and well-rounded experience.

Tequila: The foundation of any Margarita, including our Cilantro-Lime variant, is tequila. Tequila is a potent, flavorful spirit distilled from the blue agave plant, primarily around the city of Tequila in Mexico. It provides a depth of flavor and a kick that forms the backbone of the cocktail.

Quality matters immensely here. A good tequila should be smooth and robust, with a depth of flavor that includes notes of agave, citrus, and in some cases, a slight pepperiness.

Patrón Silver Tequila, 750ml, 80 Proof
  • Handcrafted with 100% Weber Blue Agave

Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice adds an essential tartness to the mix, balancing out the strong and somewhat earthy tequila flavor. Its citrusy zing adds a refreshing element that makes a Margarita such a perfect summer drink.

Simple Syrup: This is your sweet element. Simple syrup, made from equal parts sugar and water, helps balance out the lime’s acidity and the tequila’s potency. Adjusting the amount of syrup can allow you to tailor the sweetness of the cocktail to your liking.

Cilantro Leaves: The star of this recipe! Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a herb loved for its bright, fresh, slightly citrusy flavor. It adds a unique herbaceous note to the cocktail and complements the lime’s tartness beautifully.

Cilantro takes our Margarita from classic to extraordinary, adding a layer of complexity that makes this drink a refreshing revelation.

Ice Cubes: Ice plays a crucial role. Besides making the drink cold, which is especially refreshing on hot summer days, it also dilutes the cocktail slightly as it melts, ensuring that the flavors aren’t too overpowering.

Salt: Ever noticed the salt rim on your Margarita glass? That’s not just for show! A light lick of salt before sipping your Margarita enhances the sweet and sour flavors in the drink. It acts almost like a seasoning, heightening the other flavors and balancing the overall taste.

Equipment Needed

To prepare the Cilantro-Lime Margarita, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Cocktail shaker: This is essential for mixing all the ingredients together and chilling the cocktail.
  • Muddler: You’ll use this to muddle the cilantro, helping to release its aromatic oils.
  • Jigger or measuring cup: This will ensure you get the correct proportions of each ingredient.
  • Cocktail strainer: For straining out the muddled cilantro leaves when you’re pouring the cocktail.
  • Glass: A Margarita glass or any short tumbler would work well for this cocktail.
  • Knife and cutting board: You’ll need these for cutting the lime.
  • Plate: This will be used for salting the rim of your glass.


  1. Citrus press or juicer: Can be handy for squeezing the lime juice, not strictly necessary.

Recommended Cocktail Equipment

How to Make a Cilantro-Lime Margarita


Get ready to get shaking, and let’s break down the steps to concoct the most delicious Cilantro-Lime Margarita. Trust me, once you’ve made this, you’ll want to host your own cocktail night at home!

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Rim Your Glass

Start by prepping your glass. Cut a lime into wedges, then run a wedge around the rim of your glass to moisten it. Pour some coarse salt onto a plate, and then turn the glass upside down and dip the rim into the salt.

The lime juice will help the salt to adhere, giving you that lovely salty touch with every sip.

Step 2: Muddle the Cilantro

Next, place about a handful of fresh cilantro leaves into a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler (or the back of a spoon if you don’t have one), gently press the cilantro leaves to release their aromatic oils. This is what gives our Margarita that herbaceous, fresh twist.

Step 3: Add the Rest of the Ingredients

Now, into the shaker goes the rest of your ingredients. Pour in your tequila of choice, freshly squeezed lime juice, and your simple syrup.

Step 4: Add Ice and Shake

Top up the shaker with ice. Now comes the fun part — put a lid on your shaker and shake it! Shake it vigorously for about 15-20 seconds. You want to make sure all the ingredients are well combined and chilled.

Step 5: Strain and Serve

Once you’re done shaking, it’s time to serve up your Cilantro-Lime Margarita. Use a cocktail strainer (or a small fine-mesh sieve) to strain the mixture into your salt-rimmed glass. This removes the muddled cilantro leaves and any ice shards, giving you a smooth cocktail.

Step 6: Garnish

Finally, cut a slice or a wheel of lime, and place it on the rim of your glass. Add a small sprig of cilantro for that extra touch. Not only does it look pretty, but it also adds to the aroma when you take a sip.

And there you have it! Your fresh, vibrant Cilantro-Lime Margarita is ready to be savored. Remember, a great cocktail is all about balance. So don’t be afraid to taste and adjust the levels of sweet, sour, and alcohol to fit your palate.

Pro Tips for the Perfect Cilantro-Lime Margarita

Here are some pro tips to help you whip up a perfect Cilantro-Lime Margarita, and really, any Margarita!

Quality MattersUse good quality tequila, preferably 100% agave
Fresh is BestAlways use fresh lime juice, bottled juices can’t compare
Balance Your FlavorsAdjust the levels of sweet, sour, and alcohol
Respect the CilantroDon’t over-muddle the cilantro, it can lead to a bitter taste
Chill Your GlassKeep your cocktail cooler for longer
Shake It RightIntegrate all the flavors and properly chill the mix
Strain to PerfectionRemove any small pieces of cilantro, use a fine-mesh strainer
Garnish GenerouslyAdd a great aesthetic and enhance the aroma of the cocktail

Remember, making cocktails is part science, part art. The measurements matter, but so does the taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust the recipe to suit your palate.

Pairing Suggestions


Choosing the right food to pair with your Cilantro-Lime Margarita can truly elevate your drinking experience. When pairing food and drinks, the goal is to find dishes that complement or contrast the flavors of the beverage.

Best Foods to Pair with Your Cilantro-Lime Margarita

With our refreshing and herbaceous Margarita, here’s what you might want to consider:

Spicy Dishes

Cilantro-Lime Margarita, with its fresh, citrusy flavor profile, pairs exceptionally well with spicy foods. The refreshing nature of the cocktail can balance out the heat and enhance the overall taste experience. Try it with spicy shrimp tacos, buffalo wings, or a spicy Thai curry.

Grilled Seafood

Another excellent match is grilled seafood. The charred, smoky flavors of the grilled fish or shrimp can complement the bright, tart flavors of the Margarita. Think grilled shrimp skewers or a barbecued fish fillet.

Mexican Cuisine

You can’t go wrong with Mexican cuisine when you’re sipping on a Margarita. Enjoy your Cilantro-Lime Margarita with some fish tacos, chicken enchiladas, or just a simple bowl of chips and salsa.

Tangy Salads

Light, tangy salads can also pair wonderfully with this cocktail. A salad with ingredients like fresh tomatoes, avocado, black beans, sweet corn, and a zesty lime vinaigrette would be a great choice.


You could also consider a cheese platter. Opt for some tangy, creamy cheeses that can match the acidity of the Margarita, like a fresh goat cheese or feta.

Occasions for Serving Cilantro-Lime Margarita

The Cilantro-Lime Margarita, with its refreshing and vibrant character, is a versatile cocktail suitable for many occasions:

  • Summer Barbeques: The fresh and cooling nature of this Margarita makes it an ideal companion for a hot summer day. Serving it at your BBQ party would be a hit.
  • Casual Get-togethers: If you’re hosting a laid-back gathering with friends or family, the Cilantro-Lime Margarita is an excellent choice. It’s a crowd-pleaser, and it adds a touch of fun and sophistication to the event.
  • Dinner Parties: Want to impress at your next dinner party? Kick things off with a Cilantro-Lime Margarita. It’s a great conversation starter, and it sets the tone for an enjoyable, relaxed evening.
  • Cocktail Nights: Of course, if you’re having a cocktail night, the Cilantro-Lime Margarita must be on your menu. It’s a delicious variation of a classic that your guests will love.

So, whether you’re serving up some spicy tacos, hosting a summer BBQ, or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home, a Cilantro-Lime Margarita can make the occasion even more enjoyable. Cheers to that!

Margarita Variations

Cucumber-Cilantro Margarita: A Refreshing Twist

In the realm of Margarita variations, let’s talk about one that’s a true refresher: the Cucumber-Cilantro Margarita. Imagine the classic Margarita we all know and love, but now introduce crisp cucumber into the mix.

Pair this with the cilantro we’ve already been using, and you’ve got a Margarita that’s zingy, herbaceous, and utterly revitalizing. The cucumbers lend a cool, garden-fresh vibe that harmonizes with the vibrant cilantro and zesty lime. It’s almost like a spa treatment in a cocktail glass.

Pineapple-Cilantro Margarita: A Tropical Delight

If you’re dreaming of a tropical getaway, look no further than the Pineapple-Cilantro Margarita. This variant of our beloved cocktail brings the vibrant flavors of ripe pineapple to the classic Margarita, creating an intriguing balance of sweet, tart, and herbaceous notes.

The sweetness and slight tartness of the pineapple juice mingle beautifully with the refreshing cilantro and tangy lime, resulting in a drink that’s bursting with tropical flair. It’s like a mini-vacation in every sip, transporting you to a sunny beach with palm trees gently swaying in the breeze.

Nutritional Information

It’s always helpful to know what’s going into your body when you’re enjoying a cocktail, including our Cilantro-Lime Margarita recipe.

Understanding the Nutritional Content of Your Margarita

Nutritional Information per Ounce

  • Tequila: One ounce of tequila typically contains around 64 calories and no carbohydrates, fats, or proteins. Its caloric content comes purely from alcohol.
  • Lime Juice: Lime juice has about 8 calories per ounce, mostly from carbohydrates. It’s also a great source of vitamin C and provides some beneficial plant compounds.
  • Simple Syrup: Simple syrup is essentially sugar and water, and it contributes the most calories to our Margarita. One ounce has about 75 calories, all from carbohydrates (sugar).
  • Cilantro: Cilantro adds negligible calories but a good amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It also offers a small amount of dietary fiber.

Remember, this is a general guide, and the actual nutritional content may vary based on the specific brand of alcohol and the exact quantities of ingredients you use.

Making Your Margarita Healthier: Suggestions and Tips

While Margaritas, or any alcoholic drinks for that matter, can’t exactly be termed ‘healthy’, there are a few tweaks you can make to create a healthier version:

  • Control Your Portions: The simplest way to cut down on the calories is by controlling your portion size. Opt for a smaller glass to naturally limit the amount you pour.
  • Reduce the Simple Syrup: Another strategy is to reduce the amount of simple syrup, which will lower the sugar and calorie content. You might find that you enjoy the tangier flavor!
  • Make a Natural Simple Syrup: Consider making your simple syrup using a natural sweetener like honey or agave nectar instead of refined sugar.
  • Use More Fresh Ingredients: Increase the quantity of fresh cilantro and lime juice in your Margarita. They add flavor without adding many calories, and they offer some nutritional benefits.
  • Stay Hydrated: Always remember to drink plenty of water when you’re drinking alcohol. It can help you stay hydrated and prevent over-drinking.

Making these changes can help you enjoy your Cilantro-Lime Margarita recipe in a more mindful way. After all, balance is key, and it’s entirely possible to enjoy a good cocktail while also caring about your health. Cheers to that!


In conclusion, this Cilantro-Lime Margarita recipe brings a fresh, herbaceous twist to the classic Margarita, promising an unforgettable flavor experience. It’s simple, it’s refreshing, and it’s just what you need to elevate your cocktail-making game.

So, go ahead, give it a whirl! Don’t forget to share your experiences and your favorite Margarita variations. Because, at the end of the day, nothing beats good food, great drinks, and amazing company. Cheers to that!

Cilantro-Lime Margarita Recipe


The Cilantro-Lime Margarita is a unique, refreshing twist on the classic cocktail, combining the tartness of lime, the smoothness of quality tequila, and the distinct, aromatic flavor of cilantro. It’s a delightful concoction that’s vibrant, balanced, and perfect for any occasion, promising a taste that will whisk you away on a mini vacation with each sip.

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Muddler
  • Jigger or measuring cup
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Margarita Glass
  • Plate
  • Citrus press or juicer
  • 2 ounces Tequila (silver or Blanco)
  • 1 ounce Fresh lime juice (roughly one large lime)
  • 1 ounce Simple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1 handful Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salt (for rimming the glass)
  1. Prepare Your Glass: Wet the rim of your glass with a lime wedge and dip it in salt. Set aside.
  2. Muddle the Cilantro: In a cocktail shaker, muddle the cilantro leaves. You want to press enough to break up the leaves and release their flavor, but not so much that they turn into paste.
  3. Mix Your Margarita: Add the tequila, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup to the shaker.
  4. Shake It Up: Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds. You’re aiming for a well-blended and chilled mixture.
  5. Strain and Serve: Strain the margarita into your prepared glass. If you prefer your margarita over ice, simply add a few ice cubes to your glass before pouring.
  6. Garnish and Enjoy: Garnish with a sprig of cilantro and a lime wedge. Take a moment to admire your handiwork, then sit back and enjoy your refreshing cilantro-lime margarita.

FAQ: Cilantro-Lime Margarita Recipe

Why does salt make a margarita taste better?

Salt enhances flavors and balances the sweetness and acidity of a margarita. It also reduces the bitterness of tequila and heightens our perception of the cocktail’s aroma.

Do you lick the salt before or after margarita?

Generally, you sip the margarita directly from the salt-rimmed glass, so you taste the salt as you drink, enhancing the flavors of the cocktail.

What do bartenders use to make salt stick to glass?

Bartenders typically use a piece of lime or lemon to moisten the rim of the glass before dipping it into a plate of salt. The citrus juice helps the salt adhere to the glass.

Is simple syrup or agave better for margaritas?

It depends on personal preference. Simple syrup is traditional, but agave syrup (especially for tequila-based margaritas) can add a smooth, natural sweetness that many people enjoy.

What is the best tequila to make margaritas?

A high-quality silver or Blanco tequila, such as Patron, is usually recommended for margaritas. These provide a clean, crisp flavor that pairs well with the lime and doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.

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