What Is a Top-Shelf Margarita: Explained

What Is A Top-Shelf Margarita?

You may be curious to know what a top-shelf margarita is and what makes it unique.

Well, if it’s coming from the top shelf, it has got to be great since we know that only the best of the best drinks are placed on the top shelves. Apart from being made from the finest alcohol, it has a blend of perfect ingredients that makes it so tasty. 

What is a top-shelf margarita?

Top-Shelf Margarita is a tequila cocktail that gives out beach vibes. It is common at beach parties during the summer. The top-shelf margarita is made from high-quality tequila and has a perfect blend of sweet and sour ingredients, making it tasty and boozy.

Different ingredients can be used to create a perfect top-shelf margarita. We have explored different options and have come up with the easiest way to make this drink at home. 

Ingredients for a Top-Shelf Margarita

Ingredients For A Top-Shelf Margarita

Top-Shelf Margarita being a tequila-based cocktail, make sure you have some tequila with you. The drink is made from the top-shelf tequila brands.

Purchasing a high-quality bottle of tequila like the Aged Anejo Tequila is essential. Quality ingredients are everything for this drink.

Top-Shelf Margarita Ingredients

  • 2 oz of high-quality tequila (Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Añejo Tequila)
  • 1 oz Triple sec orange liqueur
  • 1½ cups of ice cubes
  • Simple syrup
  • 1½ ounces lemon or lime juice
  • Salt
  • Finely grated lime zest
  • Lime slice or wedge

You’ll also need some tools to mix the ingredients all together.

Bar Tools:

  • Shaker 
  • Bar spoon
  • Strainer
  • Margarita glass
  • Saucer  

Making the Sweet and Sour Mix

Making The Sweet And Sour Mix

First, you need to make the sweet and sour mix. If you do not have ready-made simple syrup, you can make some from scratch.

Simple Syrup:

  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • Medium-sized saucepan


  1. Place a saucepan over medium heat and add the water and sugar. 
  2. Stir the mixture until sugar dissolves. 
  3. Switch off the heat and all the mixture to cool. 
  4. Pour the cooled mixture into a glass jar. 

Once the simple syrup is ready, you can proceed to make your sweet and sour mix.

  1. You will need simple syrup and lemon or lime juice.
  2. Add the lime/lemon juice into your sugar syrup and stir.
  3. Voila, you have your sweet and sour mix. 

It is vital to get this step right. As much as the top-shelf margarita is made from high-quality ingredients, you cannot mess up the sweet and sour mix.

This mix is like what salt is to food. It brings out the flavors of all the other ingredients. It may be made from simple ingredients itself, but this is what makes or breaks a Margarita.

Making the Cocktail

Making The Cocktail

Making cocktails is an art. You need to pay attention to detail. The ingredients must be in the exact measurements. While attention to detail is essential, making cocktails is easy and fun. 

1. Have the Right Tools With You

The right tools will ensure the ingredients are well mixed. It also ensures the drink’s temperatures are maintained at cool/low. Higher temperatures mess up the taste of the ingredients as they tamper with the alcohol. 

2. Prepare The Glass

Presentation of cocktails is also important. Use a margarita glass to present this drink. A margarita glass is wide-mouthed and beautiful. It brings out the sophistication of the drink. Its size and shape also keep the drink cool for a longer time. 

Start by chilling the margarita glass. This is done by either placing the glass in a freezer or pouring large chunks of ice into it. Let the glass sit in the freezer for about 30 minutes. If you are using ice to chill the glass, let the ice sit for about 10 minutes. Remove the glass from the freezer or pour out the ice. 

Place the salt on the saucer. Add in the lemon zest and mix. Notch the lemon wedge/slice and run the notch along the rim of the margarita glass. While the glass rim is wet, dip it in the saucer with the salt and lemon zest. Let the mixture cot the rim of the glass. Set the glass aside.

3. Mix Up The Perfect Top-Shelf Margarita

Add the tequila, orange liqueur, ice, and sweet and sour mix into the shaker. Shake it vigorously for 30 seconds to one minute until the outside of the shaker becomes cold. Use a strainer to strain the drink into the margarita glass. Voila! You have your perfect top-shelf margarita. 

You can decide to take your drink to the next level. This is by adding a little lemon flavor to it. Use a paring knife to cut out a lime or lemon peel section. Squeeze the peel over the margarita glass to release its essential oils into the drink. 


A top-shelf margarita is a tequila cocktail made from the finest ingredients. To really call the Margarita top-shelf, you must use high-quality tequila and orange liqueur. You must also not compromise on the other ingredients’ quality.

Making the drink is actually quite simple. Get yourself the ingredients and enjoy some top-shelf margaritas in the comfort of your own home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are these drinks referred to as top-shelf?

At a bar, it is common practice for bartenders to place expensive and high-quality drinks on the higher shelves.

The common and more affordable drinks are on lower shelves because they are in more demand. And the bartenders need to reach them quicker. So if you are ordering from the top shelf, you are ordering a higher-end drink. 

Is top-shelf margarita too sour?

No, it is not. The drink has the perfect balance of both sweet and sour. It is a manageable drink but preferred mainly by people with higher alcohol tolerance.