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”

  • sheryl says:

    Hi Jeffrey,

    Thank-you – This is the best site I have found so far for advice on Margaritas.

    Have noticed a few people have asked this question and cannot see a reply.

    I have brought an Italian slush machine and am planning to make this mixture and pour it straight into the machine. I am assuming I will need to add some water to the mixture as it will not be served over ice. Can anyone offer any advice as to how much water I should add per gallon to make up for it not being served with ice.

    Thank you for your help. I live in London and margarita parties are not as common over here as they seem to be in the States so there is no-one here to ask advice.

  • Mary says:

    My husband found this recipe for a Chicago beach birthday party we were throwing — they were a huge hit. I must say- they were extremely strong! There was 6 of us at the party and we all fell off of our bicycles on the way home. I’m sure we looked like a bunch of lunatics but we had the best time! We are already looking forward to making this mix again this year (and cabbing it to the beach!) We did buy a little electric juicer this year to help us out 🙂

  • Heather says:

    Best recipe out there. I make these several times a year, including a double batch for vacation in Priest Lake where I serve it in a hollowed-out watermelon on the beach.

    Yes, juicing fresh citrus is an absolute must!

  • Jeanette Fields says:

    These were AWESOME!
    Thank you!!!

  • Ale says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I have just finished to read through posts from 2007! Next Sunday I am turning 30, so I thought that we could take a pause from rum swizzle here in Bermuda and have some frozen margaritas:)
    I took notes of the recommended brands of tequila, fresh lime and lemon NOT bottled.
    I have seen comments from people using slushy machines, which I am going to rent for my party, but I cannot see the recommended quantity of ice for one gallon of mix. Could you help?

    Greetings from Bermuda!

  • Brad says:

    After reading through the comments(takes awhile), I’d say it might be worth updating this article. There are a lot of recurring questions(fridge shelf life, adding strawberries, adding to a margarita machine, advantages of fresh juice) that seem to come up. I’m not sure how much time you have to devote to this page, but it might be a good excuse to skip mowing the lawn or something. Anyway, I didn’t come to tell you how to run your site. On to my experience…

    I started out making a “taster batch”. Before making two gallons of the stuff, I wanted to make sure I was happy with the recipe. I used El Jimador reposado, Cointreau, and the agave syrup you specified in a comment instead of simple syrup(and fresh juices, of course). Worked out great.

    After testing, I made two gallons for a housewarming barbecue. My friend wanted to set it up entirely as a self-serve affair, so after mixing, I portioned it out, shook each with ice, and then refrigerated for the morning. I chopped up some limes and salt-rimmed a sleeve of Solo cups.

    At the party, we set up a self-serve jug, cups, limes, and a bucket of ice. At a party with 35 guests, we were out of margaritas in half an hour, and everyone wanted the recipe.

    Your margaritas earned you a fan club in Calgary, Jeff.

  • Jon says:

    My taste buds may be weird, but I don’t care for lemon juice, so my ratio might be lime:lemon 5:1. Also, I don’t like Citronge, my two favorite triple secs being Cointreau and Bols, the latter $6 at Trader Joe. Bols is sweeter than Cointreau so the sugar may have to be adjusted.

    As for juicing, my investment in the Breville Citrus Juicer has paid off. I found it for $115 at the Williams Sonoma outlet but it has since increased in price. A lever operated cone replaces your hand to press and center the citrus on the rotating reamer, and it takes seconds to juice a fruit with no palm pain.

    I have found the largest and juiciest limes in Mexican markets, with Sam’s Club a close second. For some reason Costco limes are often small with little juice.

  • Lyn says:

    Hi – I’m wanting to make BLUE margaritas for my upcoming baby shower.. would you be so kind to post the recipe for that!?

    Thank you! !

  • Lyn says:

    So, I made blue margaritas yto celebrate my baby shower and they were a hit!! Everyone kept saying how amazing they were and how did I make them. I was sure to mention your website and blog on these Margarita by the gallon. 🙂

    I did what you said as far as swapping the triple sec for blue curacao, I used Jose Cuevo Silver. They were so pretty!! Can’t wait to be able to make again and enjoy them like everyone else did!!


  • Terry says:


    I’ve been using this recipe for years now and it’s awesome.

    My .02, after said years of drinking these.

    The orange liquor is more important than the tequila in making it taste right.

    I use a middle of the road gold tequila, like Cuervo or Sauza. (I find the silver tequilas get lost in the mix and using top shelf in a margarita is a waste of money, IMO)


    Generic Triple Sec is… Well, generic. Cointreau is easy to find and has a much better flavor. However, if you can find it, Patron Citronge is my favorite. It makes the margarita smoother.

    And for the people who don’t think they want to go to the trouble of juicing their own citrus. It’s not really optional. There isn’t a mix in the world that can compare to fresh squeezed citrus.

    Get an electric juicer and spend the 15 minutes it takes to extract the juice. You will not be sorry.


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