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This grapefruit margarita is a light, summery, refreshing take on the classic margarita. The tart taste of grapefruit and lime is balanced with an easy homemade agave or honey simple syrup. It's perfect for patio season, and it's ready in just 10 minutes!
Alright, it's margarita time (again)! We're back with another refreshing take on Mexico's favorite tequila cocktail, the grapefruit margarita. It's a mix of two of our favorite things in life: grapefruits and margaritas!
This delightful-tasting cocktail features a mix of sweet, sour, and salty flavors spiked with white tequila. If you're familiar with a paloma, it's much like that but without the soda water so it's not watered down.
We swap traditional simple syrup for either honey or agave simple syrup which keeps it naturally sweet. Using honey is our preference because it lets the grapefruit shine through, but the agave version is a good choice if you want to keep it vegan.
Why you'll love this grapefruit margarita
- The sweet-tart taste of grapefruit juice really does it for us. You can use store-bought grapefruit juice but freshly squeezed takes this drink to the next level.
- We love tequila but we know it's an acquired taste. The grapefruit actually tones down the flavor of the tequila, which is great if you're serving this drink to someone who's on the fence about it. You might win some converts!
- We make this cocktail with a natural simple syrup using either honey or agave. That means it's healthy, right?
- Life just feels like a party with a margarita in hand!
If you love grapefruit drinks, also try our salty dog cocktail!
Grapefruit margarita ingredients
Grapefruit margaritas are really similar to regular margaritas. We originally made this grapefruit margarita recipe without lime juice, but during testing we preferred the version with the lime so we've included it here along with the grapefruit.
This is everything you need to make this grapefruit margarita recipe at home:
- Sea salt – for rimming the glass.
- White tequila – white tequila (also called blanco tequila or silver tequila) is clear and more neutral in taste than other aged tequilas. It also tends to be less expensive, making it a good choice for cocktails. There's no need to use your best tequila.
- Grapefruit juice – the sweet yet tart flavor of grapefruit juice is a great match with tequila. If grapefruits are in season, we highly recommend making it yourself. It's super easy to do, and fresh grapefruit juice is generally less bitter than store-bought. Store-bought grapefruit juice like pink grapefruit juice or ruby red grapefruit juice works in a pinch, but if it's sweetened then you'll likely want to reduce or even eliminate the simple syrup.
- Lime juice – fresh lime juice brightens up this drink and makes the acidity more complex.
- Agave or honey simple syrup – a natural simple syrup adds sweetness and balances out the tart citrus flavors.
- Slices of grapefruit – grapefruit and lime wedges or slices, for garnish.
How to make a grapefruit margarita
Making margaritas at home is a quick and easy affair. This grapefruit marg is the perfect light and refreshing cocktail for summer. Here's how we make it in a couple of simple steps:
- Rim your glass with salt and set it aside.
- Fill your cocktail shaker with ice then add the tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup and shake until it's cold.
- Strain it into your prepared glass and then garnish it with a grapefruit slice.
Here's how to make the agave or honey simple syrup:
- Mix the agave nectar or honey with hot water until dissolved. Store in a jar in your fridge for up to a month!
How to make a pitcher of grapefruit margarita
It's easy to make a pitcher of grapefruit margaritas by using cups instead of ounces. Here's how to scale up the quantities:
- 2 cups tequila
- 1 cup grapefruit juice
- 1 cup lime juice
- 1 cup of simple syrup
Add the ingredients to a pitcher filled with ice cubes, stir, and garnish with slices of grapefruit. Pour your marg into salt-rimmed glasses and enjoy!
When to serve a grapefruit margarita
They're also a beautiful drink so they're perfect for serving at celebrations like weddings or baby showers, on Mother's Day, or anytime it feels like the right occasion to serve a pink drink. They're typically served mid-afternoon but they go great with brunch, too!
For an alcohol-free version, try this virgin margarita mocktail.
Can I make margaritas ahead of time?
You can certainly mix all the ingredients together ahead of time but wait to shake it over ice until you're ready to serve it.
Can I use orange instead of grapefruit?
Orange juice is more sweet and doesn't offer the same tartness as grapefruit juice. You can certainly try it, but it will be an entirely different-tasting cocktail.
Do I need to use orange liqueur?
We purposely didn't use triple sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier because the grapefruit and lime give this drink a good amount of fresh citrus flavor.
Can I use regular simple syrup instead?
Yes, you can. Traditional simple uses a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. To make it, add equal parts sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then, let it cool before you pour it into a jar or use it to make a cocktail. You can also use berry sugar and dissolve it in hot tap water.
How do I make a spicy grapefruit margarita?
To make a spicy grapefruit jalapeño margarita, add a few slices of fresh jalapeño to the shaker. You can use as much or as little as you'd like depending on your taste preference.
What's the best salt to use?
The best salt to use is coarse kosher salt. It gives the drink a pop of saltiness and offers a nice crunch.
- Sea salt (to rim the glass)
- 2 ounces white tequila
- 1 ounce grapefruit juice
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 1 ounce agave or honey simple syrup (recipe below)
- Slices of grapefruit to garnish
Agave Simple Syrup
- ¼ cup agave syrup (can sub honey)
- ½ cup water
- Wet the rim of a glass with a cut piece of grapefruit or lime. Pour some salt on a plate and dip the wet rim into the salt. Fill the glass with ice.Sea salt
- Fill a cocktail shaker or mason jar with ice, and then add the tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup and stir until it's cold.2 ounces white tequila, 1 ounce grapefruit juice, 1 ounce lime juice, 1 ounce agave or honey simple syrup
- Strain your margarita into the prepared glass and then garnish it with slices of grapefruit.Slices of grapefruit to garnish
Agave Simple Syrup
- Mix the agave or honey with hot tap water and stir until it dissolves. Store any leftovers in a jar in your fridge for up to a month.¼ cup agave syrup, ½ cup water
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.