Cadillac Margarita vs Classic Margarita (The difference)

Have you just heard about this Cadillac Margarita variant? Perfect! In this article, you’ll learn what it is, and what’s the difference between it and the classic margarita. Let’s get to it.

The Cadillac Margarita has the additional ingredient Grand Mariner, which the Classic Margarita doesn’t have, making them different. The Cadillac margarita should only use premium ingredients, making it a more luxurious alternative. While for the Classic Margarita this is not a requirement.

That is the short explanation of what makes these two variants different. For a more detailed explanation of what the Cadillac margarita is, and also an in-depth comparison about the two including taste, ingredients, price… read on!

What is a Cadillac Margarita?

Now, let’s explore what this Cadillac margarita variant actually is!

The Cadillac Margarita is a luxury variant of the margarita, using only the premium ingredients. Therefore, it’s always a reliable option to choose. The Cadillac is more of a heavy version of the classic margarita because it also includes the orange liqueur Grand Marnier, which is mixed with Cognac.

The classic margarita, can, in contrast, be made with whatever ingredients you have handy, making this a less reliable cocktail to order! Since can’t know for sure if the bar/restaurant is using cheap ingredients.

If you search for the word Cadillac in the dictionary here is what it says:

something that is an outstanding example of its kind, especially in terms of luxury, quality, or size.

Oxford Languages

The Cadillac margarita truly has a lot it must live up to. Therefore it can’t be made with some cheap tequila or triple sec. This luxury cocktail craves more from the ingredients than that! So what can be used? Normally, if you’re familiar with the classic margarita, you’ll see the recipes ask for 100% agave blanco/silver.

This is not the case for the Cadillac Margarita. Here we’re stepping it up a notch further! For this cocktail, you want the reposado, and of course, it should be 100% agave, that is just for granted at this league.

What is a Cadillac Margarita?

Reposado tequila is aged 3 months to a maximum of a year in barrels of oaks, giving it a more complex flavor. This goes really well with the Grand Marnier, which we’ll get to very soon. However, there is another orange liqueur we need to discuss first. It’s another premium product and the best triple sec out there, the Cointreau!

It’s may have been the first triple sec ever made, however, this is highly discussed by the experts. Nonetheless, it’s been a favorite since it was released in 1875, and most likely many years to come, which is very impressive.

Here’s a quote from Cointreau themself, when talking about competing brands:

Cointreau has the highest amount of essential oils and the lowest amount of added sugar.

Cointreau (Source)

Something that is remarkable with the Cadillac Margarita is that the cocktail contains not one, but two orange liqueurs! And both of these are the best you can find. The first one is Cointreau (which is normal for the classic margarita as well), the second one is as mentioned the Grand Marnier!

This one is also a premium product. It’s, however, not in the triple sec family. The Grand Marnier belongs to the Curaçao, which is also a type of orange liqueur. Curaçao is what inspired the triple sec.

Curaçao is named after an island country in the south Caribbean. This is where it was born. It started with Spanish explorers bringing a progenitor of the laraha (orange used in the liqueur) and it started growing there. However, it did not thrive in such hot climate and as a product got too bitter to eat. But they noticed when the orange peel was sundried it was remarkably fragrant. Thus, they tried making liqueur with it, and burned was Curaçao!

That’s the story lesson for today! It’s pretty awesome tho, how such a coincidence turned into being the building blocks of so many of the world’s most popular cocktails today!

Whats separates the triple sec from Curaçao, is that normally Curaçao is normally pot-distilled with brandy, cognac, or cane spirit. While the triple sec is normally column distilled with neutral grain spirit (source).

The important part for us to know is that the Grand Marnier is distilled with cognac, meaning the spirit has been stored in a barrel of oak, therefore giving the liqueur more of the oak taste, and that darker color.

Which effect does this have on the margarita? Well, it gives the margarita a bit more “heavy taste”, than what the classic margarita has. Which we’ll explore now. This will be a comparison in taste, ingredients, and also the price!

The Difference Between Cadillac Margarita & Classic Margarita

The main difference, or what’s supposed to be the main difference at least is that the Cadillac margarita is a luxurious variant of the classic margarita. This is not something to underestimate, there is just something about the feeling of holding a Cadillac margarita in your hand. You get that really wealthy feeling kinda…

Although, the most important thing is of course the taste. But that feeling is a nice bonus. The taste is really good as well, however, it’s known to have a slightly more “grown-up” taste than the classic version because of the cognac from the Grand Marnier. In short, there is a more complex taste to it, which it should be, considering it’s a premium version!

Here is a table of how the differences in ingredients between the Cadillac margarita and the classic margarita:

Cadillac margarita:Classic margarita:
100% agave, reposado tequila 100% agave, blanco/silver tequila
Grand MarnierLemon juice
Lemon juice

You can see they are very much the same, but as mentioned earlier, there are no claims for the classic margarita to use the high-end ingredients. So it could use a mixto 51% tequila and a cheap 10$ triple sec, this is not the case for the Cadillac.

When it comes to the amounts of each ingredient, the margarita is part of the sour cocktail family. Therefore, classified as a sour cocktail, which follows the golden ratio of 2-1-1…

Two parts base liquor – 1 part sweet – 1 part sour.

For the classic margarita this is fairly easy: 2 parts tequila, 1 part triple sec, and 1 part lime juice. For the Cadillac a little more tricky since there are 4 main ingredients. It will look something like this:

  • 2 fl. oz. tequila
  • 1/2 fl. oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2 fl. oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1 fl. oz. Lime juice.

There are many variants of the drink and no one definite solution. You could start like this and if it’s too sweet at more sour and vice versa. Some people actually drop the Cointreau and only use the Grand Marnier for this margarita variant. This is something you can try as well, find the way it satisfies your taste buds! Balance is the keyword.

Cadillac Margarita and Classic Margarita Price Comparison

If you’re thinking about making this cocktail yourself, I also wanted to include a price comparison. So you have more factors to consider before going for the Cadillac Margarita.

Cointreau 750ml$32
Grand Marnier 750ml$32
Tequila reposado, 100% agave$40-$70

Those numbered summed are 104-134 dollars depending on which tequila you choose. The tequila price is just based on the one a usually get, although I know a lot of people use a cheaper alternative like the 1800 tequila’s reposado. The latter one you can get 1,75 liters for as cheap as $40.

Anyways, what really matters for the Cadillac margarita is that you get a 100% reposado tequila, some people actually use añejo tequila for this margarita, but I would not begin there.

Now, for a classic margarita you just leave out the Grand Marnier:

Tequila, blanco 100% agave$20-40
Expensive classic margarita

Cheaper ingredients:

Triple sec$10
Tequila, blanco 100% agave$15
Budget classic margarita

If you’re on a budget, it is possible to get totally OK, ingredients for the classic margarita for around $25. This also shows us that you can’t trust the classic margarita you get at restaurants to be of good quality every place you go. While if they serve Cadillac margarita, then they’re supposed to only use those high-end ingredients.

Here’s another table to get a clearer view of how they compare, also including price per fluid ounce:

Cadillac Margarita:Price:Price per fl. oz.:
Tequila ArteNOM Seleccion “1414” (premium reposado) 750ml (25 fl. oz.)$65
Cointreau 750ml (25 fl. oz.) $32
Grand Marnier 750ml (25 fl. oz.)$32
Total cost:$129$1.72 per fl. oz.
Cadillac Margarita: (Budget-friendly version)
1800 Reposado Tequila (good, cheaper alternative) 1.75 liter (59 fl. oz.)$44
Cointreau 750ml (25 fl. oz.) $32
Grand Marnier 750ml (25 fl. oz.) $32
Total:$108$0.99 per fl. oz.
Classic Margarita: (using premium ingredients)
Patrón Silver Tequila. 750ml (25 fl. oz.) $50
Cointreau 750ml (25 fl. oz.) $32
Total:$82$1.64 per fl. oz.
Classic Margarita: (using cheap ingredients)
Olmeca Altos Tequila Plata 750ml (25 fl. oz.) $28
Cointreau 750ml (25 fl. oz.) $32
Total:$60$1.2 per fl. oz.

Ok, so as you can see it’s definitely cheaper to just buy ingredients for the classic margarita, especially if you go for the budget option. However, when comparing the price per fl. oz. you can see the cheapest one is actually the budget-friendly version of the Cadillac margarita! Which means there is more alcohol for the money. This is because the 1800 tequila’s reposado is 1.75 liters (59 fl. oz.). Just included it to give some perspective…

Something that I’ve not mentioned (depending on mixing ratio), is that when you use the Grand Marnier & Cointreau together, you’ll only need half the amount of them per cocktail. Of course, this depends on how you choose to make your Cadillac margarita! But if you do a 2-1-1, they’ll basically last twice as long.

This means the price per margarita will change if this is taken into account. You could think of the Cointreau and Grand Marnier as a total of $32 instead of $64.

In conclusion: If you want the cheapest option, buying budget-friendly ingredients for a classic margarita is the best bet. However, if you want quality ingredients, the classic margarita will be cheaper as a one-time payment, but in relation to price per fluid once, they will be pretty much the same.

Why Is It Called a Cadillac Margarita?

There are a bunch of margarita variants, which all have different names. But why is this margarita called Cadillac?

A Cadillac Margarita is made from only high-end, premium ingredients. According to the dictionary, Cadillac means luxury, which perfectly describes what this cocktail is: a luxury margarita. Hence, its name Cadillac Margarita.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Calories Are There In a Cadillac Margarita?

There are on average 231 calories in 4 fl. oz. of Cadillac Margarita, which is a normal portion. However, this varies depending on the recipe. We’ve made the assumption the recipe is built on the 2-1-1 sour cocktail mixing ratio, between tequila, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, and lime juice.

What Is a Cadillac Margarita Made Of?

A Cadillac Margarita is made of only high-end, premium ingredients. Which are: tequila, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, and lime juice. Preferably a high-end reposado tequila, which must be made from 100% agave. Some recipes, exclude the Cointreau and fully substitute for it with the Grand Marnier.

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