Hop in — the Cadillac Margarita will take you to the top of your cocktail game! This top-shelf version of the classic margarita is as elegant as it is delicious. Beep beep!
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Cadillac Margarita recipe
There’s nothing like a margarita — we all know this.
But if you’ve never sprung for the “top-shelf” version at your favorite Mexican restaurant, you are missing out.
Also called the Golden Cadillac Margarita, these margs are made with the highest quality ingredients you can find. It’s easy to see why they cost a little more than a regular margarita.
We’re talking fresh lime juice (not sour mix), the best tequila and orange liqueur you can get your hands on and real agave nectar. On the rim, a quality salt goes without saying.
These top-shelf margaritas are going to be your new favorite. Their flavor is through-the-roof good, so smooth and fresh.
Why you’ll love this recipe
The Cadillac Margarita might be your new favorite for a few reasons.
- Higher-quality ingredients make for a tastier margarita.
- Though they sound fancy (and they are!), they are still super easy to shake up at home.
- They’re a great way to elevate your next taco night or dinner party.
They’re perfect for Taco Tuesday, guys’ or girls’ night, Cinco de Mayo celebrations or anytime you want a good margarita. These are the real deal.
Why is it called a Cadillac Margarita?
The Cadillac is often thought to be one of the fanciest luxury cars, so the Cadillac Margarita, which is made with top-shelf ingredients, is the top-of-the-line margarita.
That’s why it’s sometimes referred to as a Golden Cadillac Margarita. (However, the “Golden Cadillac” is the name of another cocktail made with Galliano, so this is a little confusing.)
Tools & glassware
To get fresh lime juice from real limes, you’ll want to use a citrus juicer or squeezer.
Margaritas can be served in rocks glasses and stemless martini glasses (what I used in these photos), but the elegance of the Cadillac Marg can also call for something with a stem, such as a coupe glass or a margarita glass.
Salt for the rim
The salt rim is traditional for a classic margarita, of which this top-shelf version is a spin on.
Sea salt or kosher salt both work well. I don’t recommend using regular table salt. Try to use coarse salt, though a flaky salt will be too coarse.
If you like a sugar rim you can do that as well — it works well with this delicious cocktail.
Margaritas traditionally call for tequila, which is a transparent spirit made from the Blue Weber Agave plant in Mexico.
While regular margaritas call for blanco tequila (AKA silver tequila), the Cadillac Margarita calls for reposado tequila or añejo tequila.
There are a few differences between blanco and reposado tequilas:
- Blanco tequila: This is the most common type of tequila, and it’s often used for margaritas. Clear and colorless, it is unaged and stored in stainless steel tanks while it rests.
- Reposado tequila: This tequila gets its name from the word for ‘rested’ in Spanish because it is aged in oak barrels for between two months and one year. The aging process gives it some of the oak’s coloration and flavor, though additional coloring and flavoring are sometimes added. It is used for mixing and sipping.
You might be tempted to use an añejo tequila, a premium tequila that has been aged for a year or longer, getting its name from the word for ‘aged’ in Spanish. But, like a fine cognac, it is meant to be sipped straight.
You’ll want to sping for a top-shelf reposado tequila, such as Don Julio, Patron or Milagro.
Fresh Lime Juice
Using fresh citrus juice in a cocktail brings the best, zestiest flavor. It will make a serious difference, trust me!
Tip: Room temperature citrus is easier to juice than cold, refrigerated fruit. Set your citrus fruits out on the counter for a couple hours to warm up before juicing them.
If you have the bottled concentrate, that will work too — but fresh juice will take these fancy margaritas over the top. But it can be a bit more tart than fresh lime juice, so keep that in mind.
I like to juice my limes with an electric juicer, but there are plenty of options:
Orange liqueur gives a hint of orange flavor and another layer of complexity to any margarita. The sweet orange balances the sour lime flavors in the margarita.
Since these are Cadillac **margaritas, we want to go for the top-shelf orange liqueur choice for a more sophisticated flavor.
Grand Marnier has a golden color that’s perfect for these golden margaritas, but Cointreau is equally top-shelf, although clear in color.
Triple sec and curaçao are low-cost versions that are delicious, but they’re not the quality we are looking for here.
You have a few options for your homemade Cadillac margaritas.
The best choice is agave nectar, which is a sweet syrup made from the agave plant. It pairs really beautifully with tequila since they are made from the same plant. Its amber color adds to the hue of the this golden Margarita.
Another option is making a batch of brown sugar simple syrup, which is easy to make with brown sugar and water.
Skip adding a sweetener if you’re using sour mix, though!
Variations and substitutions
Pink Cadillac Margarita: Add a splash of cranberry juice to make a version reminiscent of Mary Kay’s famous car.
Frozen Cadillac Margarita: Want it to be a little slushy? Throw all the ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of ice per cocktail. (Most blenders can make about four cocktails at once.)
Non-alcoholic Margarita: Use a zero-proof spirit such as Ritual tequila alternative or Spiritless Jalisco 55 for the tequila. Instead of triple sec, use a splash of orange juice or the zero-proof Lyre’s Orange Sec.
How to make a Cadillac Margarita
Place salt on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of a margarita glass. Roll the rim of the glass in the salt to coat the rim.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes, combine the reposado tequila, Grand Marnier, lime juice and agave syrup. Shake well.
Add ice to the prepared margarita glass, then strain the cocktail over top. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Tips & tricks
Use the best ingredients you can afford. Make them as top-shelf as you can.
Roll the outer rim of the glass in salt, rather than dipping the top in straight down. This keeps salt from getting in your beautiful margarita. I have a whole tutorial on how to rim a glass that’s worth checking out.
When juicing, use room-temperature citrus to get the most juice out of your limes.
What to serve with Cadillac Margaritas
Margaritas are a
The Cadillac Margarita, which is made with premium ingredients, takes its name from the top-of-the-line car, the Cadillac.
Cadillac margaritas contain a top-shelf tequila called reposado tequila, which has been aged in oak barrels for between two months and one year. It has more depth of flavor than regular blanco tequila.
More tequila cocktails
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- 1 ½ ounce reposado tequila
- ½ ounce Grand Marnier
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce agave nectar
- salt for rim
- lime wedge or wheel for garnish
- Place salt on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of a margarita glass. Roll the rim of the glass in the salt to coat the rim.
- To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the tequila, Grand Marnier, lime juice and agave nectar. Shake well.
- Add ice to the prepared margarita glass. Strain the cocktail over the top. Garnish with a lime wedge.
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