Margaritas with vodka are a fun twist on the classic cocktail. Made without tequila, our vodka margarita recipe is refreshing, easy to make, and perfect for your next party. Enjoy vodka margaritas on Cinco de Mayo, sip poolside this summer, or enjoy with fresh Winter citrus. This is a year-round easy cocktail recipe.
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I love tequila, but like many people, I may or may not have had a rough night with it when I was in college. I still make tequila drinks fairly often, but I also like to swap out the tequila for vodka for a less intense margarita cocktail.
Just like we did with our Mezcal Paloma, swapping out tequila makes for a whole new experience.
Why this Recipe Works
There are so many beautiful specialty margaritas, like our blood orange margarita recipe. They are gorgeous and fun to make. But they can be a bit more work.
Vodka margaritas are easy to make, they only take 5 minutes! Even if you make a full pitcher recipe. This margarita has simple ingredients and no refined sugar (unless you want a sweeter cocktail).
And this recipe can even be served frozen or on the rocks.
- Vodka- Use any brand you like. I recommend a mid-range brand like Tito's or Ketel One or a local brand from your own area.
- Cointreau - Cointreau is a type of triple sec. Generic triple secs can be substituted but Cointreau is the brand I recommend.
- Fresh Lime Juice- You can use fresh squeezed or bottle plain lime juice. I do not recommend Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice as it is more high fructose corn syrup than lime juice.
- Fresh Lime Wedges
- Kosher Salt
See the recipe card for quantities.
🍹 How to Make a Margarita with Vodka
This cocktail has three simple steps. Let's get started.
Step 1- Salt Rim
The easiest thing to do is pour your kosher salt on a small saucer or plate. Use a lime wedge to dampen the rim of your glass. Dip the top of the glass into the salt on your plate. The salt will stick to the lime juice.
Note: You can use a traditional margarita glass, a rocks glass or a highball glass to serve a vodka margarita.
Step 2- Shake
In a cocktail shaker, combine your favorite vodka, Cointreau, and lime juice. Fill with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 15 seconds. You will know it is chilled because the outside of the shaker will frost over.
Step 3- Serve
Place ice in your slat-rimmed glasses. Strain the margarita when pouring to remove any stray seeds or pulp from the lime juice. Garnish with lime wedges.
Sit back relax, have some chips and salsa.
💭 Vodka Margarita Variations
Spicy Vodka Margarita
Add two to four slices of fresh jalapeno to the cocktail shaker and muddle before adding the ice and other ingredients. Make as usual. Add additional jalapeno slices as a garnish.
You can also do the same chili-lime salt rim we use in our mezcal paloma if you are feeling festive.
Frozen Vodka Margarita
Place the vodka, Cointreau, and lime juice in a blender with 3 to 4 cups of ice. Blend on high until slushy. Serve in a glass with a salted rim. And if you like your margarita cocktails definitely check out our popsicle gin and tonic.
Low Alchohol Margarita (i.e. Margarita without Triple Sec)
Want a drink but not so much alcohol? No problem! Skip the Cointreau and add an equal amount of fresh squeezed orange juice instead.
Vodka Margarita Pitcher Recipe
Perfect for a large gathering! Combine the following qualities in a large pitcher and stir well before serving.
- 3 cups vodka
- 1 cup Cointreau
- 1 ½ cups lime juice
- 3 cups of ice
As an alternative, you can also make this coconut lime margarita with vodka instead of tequila.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
Change up the salt rim by doing 50/50 salt and sugar or do a tajin chili seasoning to spice it up.
Technically you don't need any fancy equipment to make vodka margaritas at home. But two items I find helpful are:
What to Serve with Vodka Margaritas
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Vodka is great substitute for tequila if you are craving the citrus of a margarita but do not have tequila on hand, or you simply do not care for the taste of tequila.
The original purpose of a salt rim on a margarita was to counteract the bitterness. When using orange liqueur or fresh citrus I recommend using a salt rim. It is part of what makes a margarita a margarita.
It is not recommended. Margaritas do not typically contain sweeteners such as simple syrup. Rose's has more high fructose corn syrup than lime juice, so it is not recommended for margaritas.
Triple sec refers to a type of dry orange liquor. Typically between 15 and 30 proof. While Cointreau is a name brand of triple sec that is 40 proof.
Grand Marnier is often referred to as Cointreau alternative but is actually a Curacao- triple sec hybrid made from Cognac. I do not recommend it for vodka margaritas because of the heavy cognac taste.
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- 2 lime wedges for rimming glasses plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup kosher salt or coarse sea salt for rimming glasses
- 3 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. Cointreau or sub triple sec
- 1 ½ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
- Spread salt on a small plate. Run a lime wedge around the outer rims of 2 glasses and dip rims in salt. Fill glasses with ice and set aside.2 lime wedges, ¼ cup kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, Cointreau, and lime juice. Fill with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 15 seconds.3 oz. vodka, 1 oz. Cointreau, 1 ½ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice, Ice
- Strain margarita into both glasses. Garnish with lime wheels and serve.
- Want a sweeter margarita? Add ½ ounce of simple syrup.
- See blog post for spicy vodka margarita variations.
- See blog post for frozen margarita instructions.
- 3 cups vodka
- 1 cup Cointreau
- 1 ½ cup lime juice
- 3 cups of ice
Check out our Vodka Margarita web story!