This classic Cadillac Margarita features top-shelf reposado tequila, fresh lime juice, sweet agave and a special Grand Marnier floater for restaurant-quality margaritas every time.
It’s a tart, sweet and refreshing margarita recipe finished with a salt rim best served as the ultimate cocktail drink to enjoy with the girls – and guys!
If you know me well enough, you know I am a big fan of the margarita. I have made Frozen Strawberry Margaritas, Mango Margaritas with Chili Rim, Grapefruit Rose Gold Margaritas, Classic Pitcher Margaritas – even a DIY Margarita Bar!
I will take any excuse to whip up a batch of these bad boys – whether it’s alongside Mexican food or just because.
Believe me when I say that this Cadillac Margarita is the best one yet. The secret – top-shelf reposado tequila and a finishing touch of Grand Marnier to bring restaurant-quality margaritas to you!
Get ready to make the margarita of your dreams with a few tequila tips and special techniques along the way!
What is a Cadillac margarita?
The original Cadillac margarita is just as the name suggests – a premium version of a traditional margarita, so named after the Cadillac, one of the most well-revered luxury vehicles.
It features top-shelf tequila, fresh lime juice and Grand Marnier.
Cadillac margarita vs classic margarita
A Cadillac Margarita is basically like a premium version of the classic. Both are considered a sour cocktail (liqueur + citrus juice) and the ratios are the same, yet the ingredients vary slightly.
A Cadillac margarita is made with reposado tequila and Grand Marnier whereas a classic margarita is simply made with silver tequila and triple sec. Both create two different flavor profiles and colors.
The liquor is part of the reason the drink is sometimes referred to as a Golden Cadillac Margarita.
Three tequila types
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of tequilas out there all made from the blue agave plant. Tequila varies based on juice extraction and aging. When it comes to making cocktails at home, I like to focus on the three main types of tequila:
- Blanco (Silver, Plata, White). Blanco tequila has a strong, grassy, citrusy flavor and it’s the youngest of them all. It is also never aged in oak barrels – the reason for its clear color.
- Reposado (Aged, Rested). Reposado is tequila that has been aged for 2-12 months in oak barrels. This gives it warm flavors of caramel and honey and produces a tequila that is straw-like in color.
- Anejo (Vintage, Extra Aged). Taking it a step further, Anejo tequila is aged for 1-3 years in oak barrels, which allows it to take on more flavor from the wood. It has notes of honey, nuts and coffee and makes a tequila that is darker, richer, and more nuanced in flavor.
The unique aspect of the Cadillac margarita is its use of high-quality liquors. You will need:
- reposado tequila
- fresh lime juice
- agave nectar (optional)
- kosher or flakey salt
- Grand Marnier
Reposado Tequila. As mentioned before, reposado tequila is more nuanced in flavor and color. Make sure to purchase a bottle that reads 100% agave – this is pure tequila. My favorite is Espolon, but purchase your preferred bottle.
Fresh Lime Juice. We want the best of the best here, so make sure to use fresh lime juice and not pre-bottled or lime juice concentrate. The juice of one lime is enough to make one cocktail. Make sure to have one more lime on hand to salt the rim and slice a wheel for garnish.
Agave Nectar. Although not traditional, I like a touch of sweet from agave syrup. Feel free to omit it and add more Grand Marnier, if desired.
Salt. Salting the rim is totally your call (which we will discuss in a bit), but this is when you can get creative. Keep it simple with kosher or flakey sea salt (such as Maldon) or change it up with Pink Himalayan salt. When I am feeling up for it, I like to add a touch of chili powder or lime zest to change up the flavor.
Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier is a fabulous, high-quality orange liquor from France. It’s basically like a brandy-based version of triple sec, hence the reason for its tinted, golden color. If unavailable, Cointreau is a great substitute.
How to make a Cadillac margarita
All it takes is a cocktail shaker and 5 minutes to make the best Cadillac margarita recipe. Simply:
- Chill the glass. Place a margarita or low ball glass in the freezer to chill.
- Shake, shake, shake! Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, tequila, lime juice and agave nectar, if using. Shake margarita for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass filled with or without ice (whatever your preference).
- Salt the rim. If desired, run a lime wedge across the top (or half portion) of the glass and dip into a small plate of salt.
- Finish. Pour or ‘float’ the Grand Marnier over the top of the margarita before serving. Enjoy!
Salt the rim with style
To salt or not to salt, this choice is totally up to you! I am a salt-my-rim margarita girl. Feel free to salt your rim in one of two styles:
- Full: Go the classic route and salt the entire surface of the rim. Run a lime wedge around the rim and dip it in a small, shallow plate of salt.
- Half: Run the cut side of a lime wedge along half or a portion of the glass rim and dip that in the plate of salt. This way, only a portion of the glass is salted.
The Grand Marnier floater
A cocktail floater is when you pour the liquor on top without mixing it in. The Grand Marnier floater on this margarita recipe adds that special finishing touch and is the secret to making restaurant-quality margaritas at home.
Serve it for happy hour
The Cadillac margarita is best served ‘up’ in those signature margarita glasses. The addition of ice or rocks is more about personal preference.
I love to serve these during happy hour or late-night drinks with the girls – and guys! I simply multiply the recipe by the number of drinks I need and place it in a large pitcher to chill in the fridge.
- Use 100% agave tequila. A high-quality, top-shelf tequila puts the Cadillac in this Cadillac margarita. Reposado tequila adds a wonderful golden color with extra flavor.
- Change up the salt. Salting the rim is totally up to you, but feel free to get creative with Maldon flaked salt, Himalayan pink salt, or chili or lime zest seasoned kosher salt.
- Serve up or on the rocks. Strain the cocktail into your glass with or without the addition of ice. If you really want to get fancy, you could even try cracked ice by crushing the ice by hand.
More Mexican recipes you’ll love!
- Mexican Corn in a Cup
- Plant-Based Red Enchilada Mexican Casserole
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn
- Mexican Fruit Salad with Chili Lime Seasoning
- Mexican Kale Caesar Salad
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!Print
This classic Cadillac Margarita features top-shelf reposado tequila, fresh lime juice, sweet agave and a Grand Marnier floater for the ultimate cocktail.
2 ounces reposado tequila
Juice from one lime, about 1-ounce lime juice + lime wedge for salt rim
1–2 teaspoons agave nectar, optional
kosher salt or flakey salt
1 ounce Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
- Place a margarita or low ball glass in the freezer to chill.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, tequila, lime juice and agave nectar, if using. Shake margarita for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass filled with or without ice (whatever your preference).
- If desired, run a lime wedge across the top (or half portion) of the glass and dip into kosher salt.
- Pour or ‘float’ the Grand Marnier over the top of the margarita before serving. Enjoy!
If Grand Marnier is unavailable, Cointreau is a great substitute.
Keywords: grand marnier, top-shelf tequila, lime