This virgin margarita recipe is a perfect non-alcoholic substitute for tequila in the classic cocktail, made with Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative. It was the chosen favorite as a result of testing several versions in Non-Alcoholic Margarita Success: In-Depth Tasting and Recipes.
- 2 oz Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative
- 1 oz lime juice
- .5 oz agave syrup*
- fresh lime wedge (for garnish)
- Optional: Lightly wet the rim of your glass with a lime wedge and dip it in a bed of coarse sea salt.
- Add all ingredients and ice to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
- Strain shaker contents in glass over fresh ice cubes.
- Garnish with a fresh lime wedge.
- *used Madhava Organic Light Agave
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.Read full disclaimer.
Non Alcoholic Tequila
Non-alcoholic tequila is a non-alcoholic drink made to taste like tequila for anyone that doesn’t want to drink alcohol. Each brand has a different method for achieving this flavor, and it sometimes but doesn’t always involve distillation or even agave. This virgin margarita recipe uses Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative, which has proven to be a great non-alcoholic tequila substitute and mezcal substitute in cocktails. For a deeper dive into non alcoholic tequila, read Best Non Alcoholic Tequila with Photos and Mocktails Tested.
Prepare Your Virgin Margarita Recipe Ingredients
It’s always a good idea to have your ingredients and tools handy for quick mixing, especially if you’re entertaining guests or throwing a party that might require larger quantities and more time for mixing. First, decide how many virgin margaritas you need to make and calculate the amounts with the recipe tool above. If making more than 2 margaritas, jump to Pitcher of Margaritas.
Here are all the tools you will need to have ready for making a virgin margarita:
- Measuring cup or jigger
- Lime squeezer
- Cocktail shaker
- Cutting board
- Plate or flat dish for salt bed
Fresh Lime Juice
When it comes to freshly squeezed lime juice, grab the Bearss varietal of lime, which you might just consider a “regular” lime at the grocery store. It can also be called a Persian lime. The flavor of key lime juice won’t work very well in a margarita, not to mention how small they are – too much squeezing! Read a more detailed explanation on lime types in the Virgin Mojito recipe. Don’t even think about using lemon juice.
Fruit juice, even citrus juices, in a bottle can often have added sugar, which may or may not be your thing. Santa Cruz makes a lime juice that’s pure and organic, if you’d rather buy a bottled version.
Agave Nectar vs Agave Syrup
Agave nectar comes from the juice of an agave plant. Agave syrup is often the same thing because it is syrup-like in consistency, but can sometimes include other ingredients. Because the terms can be used interchangeably, always check the label. The only ingredient should be agave nectar.
How to Make a Virgin Margarita
Now that you have all the ingredients ready, make a bed of salt in a flat dish or plate. Wet the rim of your glass and dip it in the bed of salt.
Add lime juice and all other measured ingredients to your cocktail shaker with ice and give it a shake. Strain into your salt-rimmed margarita glass filled with ice for a delicious virgin margarita.
Pitcher of Virgin Margaritas
If you’re making more than 2 virgin margaritas, it might make sense to batch the recipe. While pitchers of margaritas sound nice, the ice always melts the recipe down before you can enjoy it all.
In order to avoid this, calculate how much of each ingredient you need and put them in a mixing glass or pitcher. Stir with a bar spoon. Now, you have a batch of virgin margaritas ready for shaking. Pour enough for 1-2 drinks in a shaker full of ice and follow the rest of the original recipe. Keep the batch chilled in the refrigerator.
Non Alcoholic Margarita Variations
This virgin margarita recipe is just one version of many. It was selected after taste-testing several variations with Ritual Tequila Alternative in Non-Alcoholic Margarita Success: In-Depth Tasting and Recipes. With only a few ingredients, the key variant used in this test was the sweetener.
Simple syrup, agave syrup, and honey syrup were tested, along with various ratios of tequila alternative to lime juice to sweetener. With this particular non-alcoholic tequila, the margarita mocktail with the most balanced flavor was this virgin margarita recipe.
Orange Juice in a Margarita Mocktail
Some bartenders use orange juice in their margaritas, which gives them a richer flavor and sometimes masks a very sour-tasting lime juice or sour mix. However, I prefer a purer, more lime-forward margarita with fewer ingredients.
In the case of this virgin margarita recipe, the Ritual Tequila Alternative carries enough richness. With quality fresh lime juice, there is a perfect balance among the three ingredients. Not even fresh orange juice is necessary.
For another variation on the virgin margarita, try a Ranch Water mocktail – skip the agave nectar and mix some Topo Chico, sparkling water, or club soda into the drink instead.
Frozen Margarita Mocktail
Finally, you can make this virgin margarita recipe, but throw it all in a blender with ice to make a virgin frozen margarita for those really hot summer days.
Customize the Flavor
There are many ways you customize the flavor of your virgin margarita, just as you would with an alcoholic margarita.
Salt or No Salt Rim
Most people prefer a margarita with salt on the rim, but one without salt can alternatively be clean and pure in every sip. You can also choose to use various flavors of salt to further customize your virgin margarita. For instance, coarse salt is a classic choice, but Tajin offers a spicy, lime-packed punch. Another variation on salt rim would be to mix up a custom kosher salt/herb blend or chili powder and rim your margarita glass with it.
A popular version of a virgin margarita has a kick. Throw in jalapeño slices or serrano if you really like a kick. Ritual Zero Proof has a great version of a spicy margarita called Heat Wave, and it has been tested and approved as a delicious virgin margarita with a kick.
The common options for sweetener in a margarita are honey syrup (richer flavor), agave syrup, (rich and sweet), and simple syrup (clean and balanced). There are two ways you can approach going sweeter: pick a specific type of sweetener, or simply use more. Tip: agave syrup will give you more sweetness with less volume. It really doesn’t take much for agave syrup to cut through tart flavors in fresh lime juice.
Cocktail garnish is not only for looks, but for smell. Smell affects the way we taste dramatically, so be thoughtful with your garnish. Lime wedges are a classic choice, but cucumbers can offer a brightness to the drink if you are sensitive to the acidity of lime juice.
Non Alcoholic Spirits
The base substitute for tequila used in your virgin margarita will most affect its flavor. While Ritual Tequila Alternative makes a delicious version, there are so many non-alcoholic spirits one could choose from to mimic or even create a totally new version of this classic cocktail.
Often an afterthought, ice is a very visible part of your beverage. Will you used crushed ice, nugget ice, or large cubes? See some great molds for making beautiful mocktail ice.
Can you buy a non-alcoholic margarita?
There are a few ready-to-drink non alcoholic margaritas available for purchase, but they are more “in spirit of” rather than great non-alcoholic flavor substitutes for the cocktail. Some prefer to simply buy a quality non alcoholic margarita mix and shake that with ice, skipping the spirit altogether.
It’s possible to do this, but the flavor won’t be as balanced, since those products were intended to be mixed and not the main flavor.
What is a non-alcoholic substitute for tequila?
The best non-alcoholic substitute for tequila is one of the non-alcoholic spirits, as they have been to mimic the flavor of tequila in cocktails. However, another option to mimic a deeper flavor like mezcal is to use the juice from a fire-roasted pineapple, but that’s a lot of work.
What are the best margarita glasses?
If you want to present your virgin margarita the best way possible, you will need the right glassware. There are two popular options: a rocks glass or a margarita glass. For a rocks glass, try the Libbey Heavy Base Rocks Cocktail Glasses and for a margarita glass, one of the best stemmed margarita glasses is this Set of 4 Handblown Margarita Glasses.
More Mocktails with Ritual Tequila Alternative
Check out the full review of Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative for more taste tests and mocktail recipes.
Hope you enjoy this virgin margarita! If you made this recipe or another variation, tag us @masterofmocktails or #masterofmocktails on Instagram.