Margarita vs Mojito (Difference, calories, alcohol…)

What’s the difference between a margarita and a mojito? The short answer: a bunch! Thus we have written this article to answer everything you might wonder about. So let’s dive into it!

But for those in a hurry! Here is a quick summary of the key differences in terms of ingredients:

The main difference between margarita and mojito is the liquor and sweetener. Mojitos are made with white rum and sweetened with white cane sugar, while margaritas are made with Tequila as the base and triple sec as its sweetener. However, they are both made with lime juice for the sour part.

That’s the short answer in terms of ingredients!

However, if you’re interested in a more detailed description of this matter, read on! We are also going to explore which of the two is the healthiest and which has more alcohol!

Is a Mojito Similar to a Margarita?

Okay, so as stated before there are a BUNCH of differences between the two. Yet, there are some similarities as well! Which we’re going to show you know!

Here’s a neat illustration:

Margarita vs Mojito; Comparison
Margarita vs. Mojito Comparison

The base of the drinks (Liquor)

As you may or may not know, all cocktails have a base ingredient(s).

This is almost always a liquor of some sort. Then there’s added some extra ingredients meant to compliment the base, and voilà! You’ve made a cocktail.

As mentioned earlier, the mojito and margarita have white rum and tequila as their base. Since their base differs, the complimenting ingredients will also differ.

Do you see the pattern? It’s all about harmony and balance!

The mojito has its origins in Cuba. And, as in many other cases, in order for the drink to be considered authentic, it needs the right raw materials.

And Cuba also happens to be the pioneer of the rum known today as Spanish rum today! This rum type is also known as, “ron”.

The Ron, is also made by fermenting molasses and thus has similar characteristics to ‘Rum’, but tends to offer a slightly lighter and smoother flavour profile. This is true of many Central American rums including Pirate’s Grog.”


While margarita on the other hand is known to be Mexican, also the home country of Tequila.

There are a couple of different tequila types, categorized by how many years it’s aged and also how much percent agave it consists of.

When it comes to the margarita, most people prefer tequila that’s 100% agave and in the Blanco range. If you want to learn more about Tequila, I’ve written a quick summary here.

Next up it’s the sour element! Which is important to the sours, obviously!

Sour Element

Something very cool with these two cocktails is that they both belong to the sours which is a cocktail family.

What does that mean?

Cutting lemon (sour)
Cutting lemon (sour)

It’s basically just a term that makes it easier to remember the ingredients.

This is how it works, the sours consist of a:

  • base (liquor)
  • sour part (usually lime juice)
  • sweetener.

To make that even easier to remember. Both of the drinks have a 2-1-1 mixing ratio. Also known as the GOLDEN RATIO!

The golden ratio of mixing sour drinks

Now it will look like this:

  • 2 parts base
  • 1 part sour
  • 1 part sweetener

Pretty useful right?

Even though they are two completely different drinks, there are a lot of similarities!

And here’s the best part.

Let’s test how this formula works in a real example.

Here’s how it looks with a margarita:

  • 2 oz (60ml) Tequila
  • 1 oz (30ml) lime juice
  • 1 oz (30ml) triple sec

And here’s how IBA recommends making it:

You can see it’s pretty close, right?

There are hundreds of recipes on the internet, so they do vary a bit. People adjust after their tasting! This ratio is only a neat way to remember how much of each ingredient.

Anyways, the sour part is usually lime juice in these types of cocktails, and mojito and margarita are no exception to this.

However, this is not true for the sweetener!

Sweet Element

Now, here we have one of the key differences between the two drinks.

The mojito is a drink loved by many, and therefore you may see a couple of different sweeteners suggested.

A LOT of people are using simple syrup, and it’s not wrong. Unless you want to make a real mojito…(joking)

However, here at Drink Mastery, we do recommend using white cane sugar. This is what the recipe found at IBA also suggests. It’s also how an authentic Cuban mojito is made.

The reason:


In our opinion, after testing out every recipe that’s out there, we’ve found this is the way to go.

It’s awesome to drink a perfectly balanced mojito and feel the texture of sugar floating around in your mouth! You should try it (if you haven’t already!).

Now, this is where it gets interesting!

The margaritas sweetener is actually alcohol-based. As you maybe remember, this is the triple sec!

And for a classic margarita, it’s not only a triple sec, it’s from the brand Cointreau.

This orange liqueur is 40% ABV. So be careful when drinking this cocktail! Because it’s a blessing for your tastebuds even though it’s very strong!

However, it’s not only the ingredients that are different. The method of blending them together is also different between the cocktails.

Additional Mojito Ingredients

Ok, so the mojito has a few more ingredients that we have to mention.

The first one, which is what is known for:

Mint leaves! These are perfect for giving the drink a more fresh taste, as well as enhancing the bitter taste.

In addition to that, they look quite cool.

Lastly, the mojito is topped off with soda water. This gives us that nice feeling of bubbles bursting in our mouths. Which is quite refreshing as well!

Now in order for all of these ingredients to blend into a perfect drink, they need to be mixed the right way.

Mixing Method

If you’ve ever watched James Bond you may be familiar with the phrase, “Shaken, not stirred”.

This is how you would mix a margarita! (to shake it).

But it’s not how you want to do it with the mojito!

Although, some people claim to shake it is the best. Most bartenders will agree that it should be stirred. This brings us to the next point:

How They Should Be Served:

As the margarita is shaken, we don’t serve it with ice, as it’s already cooled down and diluted. This is called to serve it up. (Cooled down and without ice).

However, the mojito is not shaken, and therefore needs to be cooled down in another way.

This means it’s made in the glass it’s served in (usually), and in order to cool it down, you have to add ice to the glass.

You may wonder where the stirring fits the picture.

The stirring is done because it causes friction between the ice and liquid hence cooling it down faster!

Keep in mind, that it also dilutes the drink faster if done too much. Which can be a good thing.

If you think the mojito served is too strong, just stir it with the straw to dilute it a bit faster!


Which glass the mojito should be served in has been debated a lot.

The reason is that a lot of bartenders seem to be making the mojito in a rocks glass (old fashion glass).

However, the right way to do it is definitely to use a highball glass or a collins glass.

The reason the rocks glass has been used a lot may be because a lot of people ask for stronger mojitos when ordering. This would cause the bar to lose money.

Thus instead of increasing the amount of liquor, they may decrease the amount of the sour and sweet parts in the cocktail. Therefore in order to fill the glass, they use a smaller glass, I.E. old fashion glass.

However, the margarita has no such ongoing debate. Most people when picturing a margarita see this amazingly wide but shallow glass. Which is placed on a tall stem!

This is not just a normal cocktail glass. The glass is actually made for the margarita, and is called a margarita glass! So that’s pretty dope.

You may also think of the salt rim on the glass?

That’s part of the garnish!


The margarita is known for its salt rim. And it’s not only because it looks awesome.

Even more important is the way it enhances the other tastes in the cocktail.

Also, some people may find the margarita a bit too bitter, then the salt is perfect as it counteracts bitterness! I’ve actually written a full article on how the different flavors work with the margarita as an example. If you’re interested you can check it out here!

In addition to salt, some people like to also include a slice of lime on the glass.

I know the margarita looks legendary, however, the mojito is quite cool too.

The mojito is known for looking almost like a salad (and I would say that’s pretty awesome!).

Why does it have this salad look?

It’s because of mint leaves. Which is not only one of the ingredients but also included in the garnish.

Here’s a picture of that:

It looks really good, and in addition to the leaves, there’s also a lime wedge, which is the second item it’s garnished with!

Which is Healthier, Mojito or Margarita? (Calories and nutrition)

Many people are interested in knowing their calorie intake and nutrition in general. This is why I’m going to show you exactly what these two cocktails contain! Then we’ll also uncover which is the healthier option!

In terms of calories, a margarita will be healthier than a mojito. This is because 1 fl oz (30ml) margarita contains 60 calories, while the mojito contains 67 calories. However, when it comes to alcohol a margarita following the official IBA recipe is 33% ABV, while the mojito is only 10-15% ABV.

So this is something you’ll have to consider. In my opinion, these 7 calories per fl oz do easy make-up for a drink that’s twice as much alcohol!

However, if I were to choose one it would be hard. Who doesn’t like a bit of extra alcohol?

Mojito vs Margarita Alcohol Content (Which is strongest?)

Yeah, so we discussed briefly in the last section which is more healthy both in terms of calories and alcohol content. However, if you skipped it here’s a brief summary:

When comparing the alcohol percentage of a mojito and a margarita, the margarita is definitely the stronger one. The mojito does on average contain between 10-15% ABV, while a margarita is 33% ABV following the official recipe from IBA.

That’s it! I hope you feel a bit more enlightened about the differences between mojito and margarita!

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