What’s the Best Tequila for Margaritas? Gold vs. Silver

Best Type of Tequila for Margaritas

One of the most popular cocktails in Texas is the classic margarita, which is traditionally made with fresh lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur. Served blended or over ice, they offer a perfect marriage of sweet, sour, and salty. Best of all, they can come in an infinite array of flavors, such as strawberry, mango, jalapeño, basil, and much more.

austin Margaritas

However, the confusion about light and dark tequila, and which is the proper choice for a margarita, is a mutual problem among novice margarita makers. If you love margaritas but have no clue which kind of tequila to use, you are not alone. Continue reading to learn the difference between silver and gold tequila, and some tips on using them to make margaritas.

Gold Tequila for Margaritas

Gold tequila is colloquially referred to as dark tequila or aged tequila. This version is made by distilling the juice from a blue agave plant and turning it into liquor. Most dark tequila brands that are not aged are not 100% pure agave. They usually mix that only contain around 51% agave tequila.

Gold Tequila
Jose Cuervo Especial Gold

Dark tequila can get its color from two different places: wood barrels or caramel additives. For instance, Reposado (rested) in 200-liter white oak barrels for at least 2 months, while Añejo (aged) tequila is aged for 12 months. Reposado and Añejo are the only tequilas that have to be aged according to regulations.

Aside from wood barrels, the dark color can also come from caramel coloring and sugar that is added to the batch before fermentation. Most of the time, these additives are for the purpose of mimicking the gold hue of high quality aged tequilas. However, they are also attributed to giving the tequila a smoother taste, which is why they are the preferred choice for taking shots.

Silver Tequila

Silver tequila is also known as light, white, or blanco tequila since it has a clear, transparent color similar to vodka or gin.

Silver Tequila
1800 Silver Tequila

It is distilled in stainless steel containers and can be either 100% pure agave or a mix. Similar to dark tequila, it is derived from the blue agave plant and distilled into liquor, but rather than aging, it is usually bottled right after distillation. In fact, it is rarely ever aged, and if so, only for a very short amount of time. This makes many tequila drinkers believe that it has a harsher taste, given that it is not aged like higher quality tequilas.

 Gold or Silver Tequila for Margaritas?

When it comes to making a great, classic margarita, the truth is that both light and dark tequilas are well-suited for the job; it really comes down to personal preference. But if you were to ask the professionals, they will likely tell you to go for the Gold. Gold tequila tends to have sweeter notes and a smoother finish, making them especially perfect for frozen margaritas.

Golded Margarita Recipe


  • 6 – 8 oz. tequila
  • 6oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 -3 oz. triple sec ( or Cointreau )
  • 2 tsp. sugar ( optional )

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Add ice last to top off the blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass with a salted rim and garnish with a slice of lime.

History of the Margarita

Although there are many variants of the regular and frozen margarita recipe, the original is still the favorite of margarita lovers: tequila, fresh lime juice (preferably from Key limes), triple sec (or higher-priced Cointreau), and ice, all of which are served in a glass rimmed with salt.

So, what are the real roots of the now-loved frozen margarita recipe? Anything as famous and near-perfect as that frozen concoction that helps us hold on is bound to attract a lot of people who demand credit for their birth.

One very popular tale is that the original margarita was invented back in the late 1930s in Tijuana, at the restaurant of Carlos “Danny” Herrera known as Rancho La Gloria. As is always the case with new cocktails, the original purpose was to disguise the harsh taste and burn of the liquor involved, in this case, tequila. Since tequila has been enjoyed with lime and salt for a long time, all it took was a complimentary sweet ingredient and the margarita was born. It wouldn’t be long before it was all thrown into a blender and the first glorious, slushy, frozen margarita recipe was adapted.

But Herrera doesn’t get bragging rights so quickly. Others believe that the margarita was created by a Dallas, Texas, socialite named Margarita Sames. Ms. Sames was said to have mixed her namesake cocktail for some friends, while vacationing in Acapulco, in the late 1940s. While her argument is considerably later than Herrera’s, it is still believed by many – probably because one of her guests, hotelier Tommy Hilton, began selling a drink in his hotel chain, which certainly contributed to his popularity.

Not so fast, Ms. Sames. Ever heard of (or drank) Jose Cuervo tequila? Of course, you have – if you’ve ordered a margarita at most bars in America (and eastern Mexico). The spirit’s first U.S. importer, Anthony Dias Blue, is credited with writing the advertising slogan, “Margarita: it’s more than a girl’s name,” back in the mid-1940s, several years before the Sames vacation party.

But the frozen margarita recipe may not have come to its full glory until 1971 when the world’s first frozen margarita machine was invented by Mariano Martinez, the Dallas Restaurant owner.

In the end, does it really matter? As long as you’ve got a blender or a margarita machine, a perfect frozen margarita mix, and the right frame of mind, the home of the margarita is everywhere you enjoy it!

Salt, salt, salt!

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