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behind the bar: stacy newgent’s almost-famous margarita recipe

by Kristina Gill

Today’s recipe is for a classic drink, the margarita. Photographer Stacy Newgent has broken her almost-famous margarita recipe down into a simple ratio that will enable you to remember how to make it wherever you may be, such as snowed in during a polar vortex in middle America, which is where Stacy was when she perfected this.  As an added treat, Stacy chose to make paper dolls out of all of her photographs of the drink to illustrate it.  It’s so fun, I am inspired to go get some Triple Sec this weekend to see just how good her ratio really is!  –Kristina

About Stacy: Stacy Newgent is a freelance photographer (and aspiring home cook) living in Indianapolis, Indiana.  She shoots a variety of subjects but is happiest photographing food and restaurants for cookbooks or editorial assignments. She also loves shooting with a vintage Polaroid camera and making paper doll illustrations like those she used to illustrate this recipe. Her recent work includes the James Beard Award-winning Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, and Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand. Stacy also writes the Swell Photo Blog. Our readers loved her recipes for really easy apple dumplings and fantastic raspberry and sweet corn ice cream (from Jeni’s).

Learn Stacy’s easy margarita ratio after the jump!


Almost –Famous Margarita Recipe

It’s a very simple equation:   1:2:1:1


  • 1 lime
  • 2 shots of tequila
  • 1 shot of Triple Sec
  • 1 shot of simple syrup
  1. For the simple syrup I just use 1 part sugar to 2 parts very hot water. If I’m expecting to make quite a few drinks, then I’ll start with 1 cup of sugar and mix that into 2 cups of very hot water until it’s dissolved. I used to think you had to boil it, but I don’t really think it matters as long as the sugar dissolves.
  2. Next – remove the skin of the lime with a paring knife – try to get all the white stuff, but a little won’t hurt anything, and then put the peeled lime into a powerful blender.  I use a Vitamix which also happens to demolish the seeds, too.
  3. Now, add 2 shots of tequila (I use Cuervo Gold), 1 shot of Triple Sec and 1 shot of simple syrup–if you like them sweeter then add more simple syrup. Now blend the hell out of this for a couple of minutes at a high speed. You want it to be frothy with no pulp remnants.
  4. At this point you can either pour your drink over ice (a la “the rocks”) or you can add ice and blend it some more (aka “frozen”). This is not an exact measurement, but I usually add about a red solo cup full of ice to the blender if I want them frozen.
  5. And that’s it! So good! You can also, of course, salt your glasses, or add strawberries or other fruit to the mix – just start with this equation and then add what you like.  If you like other liquor I’m sure it would work too – I know some people swear by Cointreau, but it’s more expensive so I use Triple Sec. Be prepared, because once you start making them you’ll be blending the whole night away.
  6. Hope you enjoy them- and hooray for Spring finally arriving!


Why Stacy loves this recipe:

We were all so sick of the winter and the snow that about a month ago, my husband and I decided to have a cookout. I experimented with several margarita recipes and pre-made mixes, but this little gem of a recipe proved to be a crowd pleaser and the perfect distraction from snow and ice – we went through 3 dozen limes and 2 big bottles of tequila.



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