Channel Your Inner Jimmy Buffett for Under $25 on National Margarita Day

Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

National Margarita day is Feb. 22, and you know what that means?

It’s tequila time, ya’ll (with a splash of lime juice, I guess).

On a more serious note, we all know how expensive alcohol is. When it’s all said and done, drinking can leave your wallet with a hangover, too.

We wanted a way to get in on the festivities of National Margarita Day without spending an outrageous amount of money on a bar tab — so we decided to help you make your own at home.

Grab your shakers, and get ready to fiesta!

How to Save Money When You Make Margaritas

At first, I thought about ditching a key ingredient — triple sec — to make some budget-friendly margaritas. Nearly every margarita recipe calls for it, and it really is a key player in the overall flavor.

My initial dilemma was that this citrus-infused alcohol can cost big bucks — ever heard of Grand Mariner? Yep, it’s technically triple sec and can cost around $30, depending on where you buy it and how big of a bottle you want.

Plain ’ole triple sec, which is less fancy and cheaper, will still run you around $16 for a 750-milliliter bottle.

I’m not going to lie — there are a lot of margarita recipes out there.

My first attempt at making margaritas on a budget without the triple sec led me to a recipe on Pinterest that called for dumping an entire bottle of tequila, some lime juice and simple syrup into a pitcher. Yes, It tasted like gasoline.

Plain and simple, don’t ditch the triple sec. And unless you want to play bartender for a few weekends a month, you might want to reconsider exactly how you buy it.

If you just want to enjoy National Margarita Day (and not stretch it into an entire month), go to a liquor store and ask if there are any smaller shot-size bottles of orange liqueur available. I headed to my local ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and found a deal on Cointreau: two shot-size bottles for $3, which the sales associates said was was plenty for what I wanted to make.

After that, ask the associate if they have any smaller-size bottles of tequila. I promise, you don’t need a regular-size one!

A Strawberry Margarita Pitcher Recipe for Less Than $25

national margarita day margarita recipe
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

If you know anything about alcohol, then you might know that good tequila is damn expensive. But let me also say that it’s important to use a tequila that won’t make you hate yourself the morning after.

The associates at ABC recommended 100% agave tequila because it was the smoothest and great to mix with.

But, like I mentioned earlier, the good news is you don’t need a regular-size bottle. A 375-milliliter bottle is just right. I settled on a bottle of 1800 Silver Tequila, which only cost me $15.99 plus tax.

To cut more costs, I decided to make strawberry margaritas, so all I had to do was head to Walmart and purchase Minute Maid strawberry lemonade for $1.50, Realime for 99 cents and one lime for 25 cents.

Here are the ingredients you need:

  • 375-milliliter bottle of 1800 silver tequila: $15.99
  • 2 shot-size bottles of Cointreau: $3
  • Realime squeezed lime juice: 99 cents
  • Minute Maid strawberry lemonade: $1.50
  • 1 lime: 25 cents

Total: $23.17 after tax
Servings: 8
Cost per serving: $2.90

To make this margarita, combine the tequila, Cointreau and lime juice in a large pitcher, then add the strawberry lemonade in small parts until you balance out the flavors to your liking.

After you’re satisfied with the flavor, let the pitcher sit in the fridge for about an hour. If you don’t want to wait around, go ahead and shake them by the glass with ice. Cut the lime in half and squeeze some fresh juice into the pitcher for extra flavor. Cut the other half of the lime into wedges and place it on the rim as a garnish!

Salt is optional, but if you like a salted rim, you can purchase it from Walmart for about $3.79. To stay in the Penny Hoarder spirit of frugality, I say skip it!

This recipe makes about eight glasses, bringing the total cost per glass to $2.90.

Bottoms up!

Kelly Smith is an email content specialist at The Penny Hoarder. She would like to thank her boss for letting her make margaritas in the office.

Jessica Gray, an editorial assistant at The Penny Hoarder, contributed to this post.