Does Margarita Contain Alcohol? (Amount and ingredients)

Are you wondering if a margarita has alcohol in it? There are tons of variants of this cocktail, which again have different proportions of alcohol. There are alcoholic ones and non-alcoholic ones, let’s dive into it!

A classic margarita contains 33 alcohol percentages following the traditional recipe provided by the IBA. However, be aware that many bars and restaurants have their own variant of margarita, with different proportions and ingredients.

Fortunately! (or unfortunately…?) margarita variants will often contain less alcohol! However, this is not always true! So use your tastebuds. A general rule is that a margarita that tastes amazing, contains less alcohol, assuming you like girly drinks. I, however, do not (or do I?).

That’s a short and straight-to-the-point answer. If you’re interested in learning more about the different factors that affect how strong the drinks are, read on! (we’ll also touch upon some of the non-alcoholic ones).

How Much Alcohol Is In Margarita?

As briefly discussed over, a classic margarita generally contains 33% ABV will not always be the case. The reason for this is that many people find this too strong for a cocktail…

And this is understandable, as 33% ABV is pretty damn strong… Also, you could not have too many of those glasses before you’d have to stop and wait for your friends. If they’re not on the same boat of course, then buckle up for an adventure!

Anyways, enough with the jokes. What many people tend to do when changing the proportions of the drink, is being a bit gentle with the amounts of orange liqueur (for a classic margarita Cointreau is the preferable brand). If you’re not familiar with margarita, skip to this part of the article, where I talk a little about the ingredients.

Just a quick summary of the ingredients: Tequila, triple sec (orange liqueur), lime juice (and lime and salt to rim the glass)…

How Much Alcohol Is In Margarita

The reason for reducing the amount of orange liqueur is that it’s alcohol-based. What many people do use instead is just including more of the lime juice (you’d probably need to add some external sweetener when doing this). But the point of this is just that the alcohol percentages will be reduced.

Then you would be looking at a percentage of more like 30.5% (according to the margarita recipe we utilize). Keep in mind this is if you’re using the Cointreau liqueur which is 40%. A lot of people use a liqueur closer to 15%. Which we’ll discuss now.

What Kind of Alcohol Is In a Margarita?

Here comes the interesting part for why the alcohol percentage in the margaritas differs so much. This has to do with what kind of alcohol is utilized. Grab your margarita and get ready!

What Kind of Alcohol Is In a Margarita

The two main types of alcohol used in margarita are Tequila and triple sec. There are many different brands and versions of these beverages utilized. However, traditionally the triple sec is in form of Cointreau and the Tequila is usually used form of Blanco tequila.

What version and brand of these are used, determines the alcohol percentage. A cheaper margarita will often be on the lower end of the scale. Different variants of the margarita will also play a role in the alcohol amount.

There are hundreds of different margarita recipes out on the web. They have many names but what’s in common for all of them is that they are using tequila and most often triple sec.

Most people are familiar with tequila, and some of us have a couple of crazy memories with it, after doing some shots with salt and lime. But some types of tequila are actually better for this purpose than others (Why didn’t anyone tell me this earlier??) Click here to read it, I don’t want to make this article too long.

What’s important for this article is how strong your margarita is. What you need to know about tequila in terms of this is that it’s mostly 40% ABV (must be between 35-55% to be classified as tequila). In the U.S only tequila, over 40% ABV is allowed to import. (Which means you can set the strongest shot on fire! Read about that here. It’s the best party trick)

there is triple sec in margarita classic

Now let’s talk about the orange liqueur or also known as the triple sec. This is used in almost all margaritas and is the biggest factor in how strong it is. Basically, it ranges from 15-40% ABV. If you are at a more high-end bar restaurant/bar you can almost assume it’s 40%.

In that case, they will use what’s known as Cointreau. This is the most famous, and used type of triple sec. If you’re at a more low-end (cheap) place there is a chance they are using a triple sec more towards the 15%. They have good taste and are enjoyable for most people. But if followed the traditional ingredient proportions your margarita is now more like 25% ABV.

Non Alcoholic Substitute for Tequila in Margarita- Alcohol Free Margarita

Ok. So I know we’ve been talking about how strong of a cocktail margarita is. BUT there are actually some non-alcoholic alternatives to watch out for! (Just kidding)

Non Alcoholic Substitute for Tequila in Margarita

A non-alcoholic substitute for Tequila and triple sec in a Margarita is replacing the alcohol parts with agave syrup and orange juice. The agave syrup substitutes for the tequila’s agave taste and sweetens the drink. The orange juice, preferably fresh, substitutes the triple sec’s orange taste.

This is almost how you would make a Virgin Margarita, the most famous non-alcoholic alternative. I recommend you look for the recipe for it to get the right proportions for the ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Margarita Strong?

Margarita is a strong cocktail in terms of alcohol percentage. A classic margarita following a traditional recipe provided by the IBA is 33% ABV. Some bars and restaurants have their own version of the cocktail and therefore alcohol percentage may differ. 33% ABV is about how strong it gets, following a reasonable recipe.

How Many Shots In a Margarita?

There are 2 shots of alcohol in one portion of a margarita. One shot is 1,5 oz., in one portion of a classic margarita, there is 3 oz. of 40% ABV. 3 oz. divided on 1,5 oz. is 2 oz.

How Much Alcohol Is In Margarita?

There are 3 ounces of 40% ABV in a classic margarita. The type of alcohol is tequila and triple sec. Margarita does also have lime juice making the whole drink 33% ABV.

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