A Gallon of Margaritas by the Gallon

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Update! Click here to learn how to make this and other drinks for a slushie machine!

It’s summer here in Oregon, which means barbecues, camping trips and river floats are on the agenda for the next few months. I always love showing up with a gallon jug of pre-mixed margaritas for the party, so I’ve decided to share my recipe with you, the loyal reader.

[Update: I just realized – three years later – that there was some confusion about the amounts specified due to my suggestions regarding how many bottles to purchase for the recipe. I hope it’s more clear now, but just in case… You will need to buy two fifths of tequila and measure out six cups (you should be left with about two ounces), and you’ll need to buy one fifth of triple sec and measure out 2½ cups (this should leave you with about an ounce). I hope this helps, and sorry for the three years of confusion.]

I usually make this recipe several gallons at a time and I serve them in one of these classic, durable, insulated coolers. What I’ll do is add a couple of gallon-size Ziploc bags full of ice right in the cooler and it’ll keep the whole thing nice and cold all day long. And as an added benefit, the Ziploc bags will keep the melting ice from diluting the Margaritas as they sit.

Hey, are you looking for a single-serving Margarita? Don’t need to make twenty of these damn things? Well here’s a really solid recipe that we use at all our bars, and that I use at home!

One Gallon of Margaritas Print Me

  • 6 cups tequila (you'll need to buy two fifths for this)
  • 2½ cups triple sec (just buy one fifth, please)
  • 2½ cups fresh lime juice
  • 2½ cups fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups simple syrup
  1. Mix ingredients together in a large insulated container.
  2. Fill container with gallon Ziploc bags full of ice to chill
  3. When ready to serve, pour mixture into an 8-ounce glass filled with ice.
  4. Salted rim is optional.
  5. Makes around 20 margaritas per gallon.

Recipe printed courtesy of jeffreymorgenthaler.com

282 Replies to “A Gallon of Margaritas by the Gallon”

  • Sonestra says:

    The recipe is fabulous for bulk marg making, however I would NEVER use a gold tequila for margaritas. Go silver and taste the smoothness.


  • Alex from Austin says:

    Howdy Jeffrey!

    I thought you’d be interested in the results of an experiment I tried. This has been my favorite Margarita recipe since finding it around February or so, but one thing that has always bothered me is the ever-lingering question: “Is it really worth it to use high quality liquor in a Margarita?”

    Being that the Margarita (and its cousin, the Mexican Martini) may as well be the official drink of Austin, Texas, this is an oft-debated subject. What, with all the sweet and sour that goes into a good Marg, it’s not hard to imagine that the subtleties of a good tequila will go unnoticed.

    I made two gallons of this recipe (25 lemons and 30 limes, hand squeezed), and split those gallons into six batches.

    Batch One:
    El Tesoro Platinum Tequila

    Batch Two:
    El Tesoro Platinum
    Hiram Walker Triple Sec

    Batch Three:
    Jose Cuervo Silver

    Batch Four:
    Jose Cuervo Silver
    Hiram Walker Triple Sec

    Batch Five:
    Juarez Silver

    Batch Six:
    Juarez Silver
    Hiram Walker Triple Sec

    As you can see, we used three different types of tequila: Top-Shelf, Mid-Ranged and Rotgut, and then two different types of Triple Sec: Cheap and Expensive.

    The first round of margaritas we had was a blind taste test and the results were as follows (with a summary of the comments):

    #1 (Best) : Batch 3 (Perfect, but this won by a hair)
    #2: Batch 1 (Perfect)
    #3: Batch 2 (Smooth, but a bit sweet)
    #4: Batch 5 (A bit harsh but drinkable)
    #5: Batch 4 (Cloyingly sweet)
    #6 (Worst): Batch 6 (Tasted like a spiked Slurpee)

    The second round was an open testing where we knew what each drink contained and we all wrote down our comments about each drink. The general consensus was that the batches with the generic Triple Sec were cloyingly sweet, and the batches with the bottom-shelf Tequila tasted too harsh. Additionally, we had a difficult time determining a favorite between the El Tesoro and the Jose Cuervo; they both were smooth enough to go down easily but the subtleties of their flavors were obviously steamrolled by the lemon, lime and syrup.

    To sum up; the perfect balance of cost and taste seemed to be middle-shelf Tequila combined with top-shelf Triple Sec.

  • Alex from Austin – Look at you! Interesting findings, thank you for sharing them with us. I’m planning my own recipe for the annual camping trip and will most likely use a combination of Sauza Blanco and Patron Citronge. Cheers!

  • Jim from Houston says:

    Hi, Jeff!

    Great website! It’s now a Favorite.

    Like Bill (#86, 05/08/08), I have a margarita “machine” that makes frozen margarita “slushees”. You put the mix into the machine, turn it on, wait 30 minutes, and – mirabile dictu! – frozen margaritas. I’ve not yet tried your recipe but I fear that it may be too sweet, since whatever water is in the mix ends up becoming ice. Any suggestions on how much to dilute your recipe? Two cups water/gallon? Thanks.

  • Thanks, Jim from Houston! I don’t think this recipe is sweet at all, but rather nicely balanced between sweet, sour and strong. Try it out in your margarita machine and let us know what you think.

  • Brian from KC says:


    Hope to get a quick reply since our 60th b-day party is tomorrow. If I have to go to the store, I will, but I’m wondering if I can make this recipe with limes only…what’s the difference between limes and lemons besides the cost?


  • Sure you can, Brian from KC. I like using lemon juice to round out the citrus flavor, but tinker away with it and let us know how it turns out.

  • wendy says:

    silver tequila? Any recommendations?

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