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How to make the perfect margarita for National Margarita Day

Celebrate National Margarita Day with these bartender-approved tips and easy-to-make recipes.
Smollett Siblings Fresh Lime Margarita
Make a refreshing margarita perfectly every time with these handy tips!Nathan Congleton / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Are you ready to celebrate National Margarita Day?

Whether you're planning a party or toasting to the end of the work week, Friday is the perfect day to learn how to whip up the perfect margarita. This refreshing drink is a classic, go-to order that's actually perfect any time of the year — and it's incredibly easy to make without a sugary mixer. Of course, if you don't like going out, plenty of bars and restaurants are offering drink specials, too.

Here are our top tips for how to make a perfect margarita every time, plus our favorite margarita recipes!

1. Use fresh lime juice.

Resist the temptation to use a sour mix or store-bought bottled lime juice. A true margarita has very few ingredients, which means that the quality of each one is important. To get the most juice out of your limes, microwave them for about 15 seconds, then roll them on the counter a few times before juicing.

2. Choose 100 percent agave tequila.

Check out the label on the tequila bottle. If it says "100 percent agave," you're good to go. If the label doesn't have this, "then up to 49 percent of your tequila is actually fermented cane sugar," according to Bon Appétit. There are many good quality silver and blanco tequilas under $20, and, unless you prefer them, there's no need to pay extra for aged versions like reposado and añejo tequilas — their complex flavors will be masked by the citrus anyway.

3. Stick to a 2:1:1 ratio.

Whether you're making a single margarita or a big batch for a National Margarita Day fiesta, you'll have a perfect pour every time if you stick to the ratio of two parts tequila, one part lime juice and one part triple sec or orange liqueur.

Now that you've got that down, it's time to shake things up. While a classic margarita always hits the spot, what better time to experiment behind the bar? Here are the recipes that will inspire everyone to say "Olé!"

The Perfect Margarita

This margarita is simple, straightforward and delicious. The recipe also provides helpful tips on how to properly salt a rim or spice up the drink with some jalapeño.

Coconut Lime Margarita

Let this Coco Lime Margarita transport you to the beach where you can taste the salty sea breeze in the rim and munch on toasted sweetened coconut with a sprinkle of lime zest.

Smollett Siblings' Ginger Ale Margarita

The addition of bubbly ginger ale adds effervescence and sweetness to this classic cocktail.

Ina Garten's Jalapeño Margarita

Ina Garten's margarita is mildly hot but, of course, you can use more peppers and make them even hotter! Infuse the tequila with the jalapeño overnight; any longer and it will become too spicy. You can also prepare the entire cocktail mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 6 hours. Just pour over ice or shake with ice before serving.

Most margaritas, especially ones made with store-bought mixers, are overly sweet and not very complex. Not this one! This mango-sage margarita has many layers of flavor that will make everyone think it was made by a professional mixologist.

Fresh Raspberry Margarita

Add a hint of berry flavor and a pop of color to the traditional margarita for the ideal summertime sipper. It's so good it will make those winter blues melt away — or maybe that's just the tequila talking!

Coffee Margarita

That's right, this cocktail has two favorite party-starters together in one drink. But this concoction is not for traditionalists — it includes unexpected ingredients like kumquats and toasted sesame oil for a unique punch of umami flavor.

Frozen Margarita Tarts

When eating calories is preferable to drinking them, get a two-for-one deal with this delicious dessert.

Rose Geranium Margarita

For those looking to impress guests, this beautiful floral cocktail from chef Craig Strong is a lovely elegant party drink.

Blood Orange Margarita

Instead of orange liqueur, mixologists Alan Akwai and David Shenaut at Raven & Rose restaurant use a trendy, house-made artisanal drinking vinegar (which is also easy to make at home) in this citrusy margarita.

This article was originally published May 4, 2017.