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The Best Pineapple Margarita

Pineapple, cilantro, and lime juice infuse this Pineapple Margarita with refreshing summer flavors. Make a small batch or prepare in a pitcher for parties! Read on to learn what makes this pineapple margarita special, the ratios for preparing large batch cocktails, and even how you can make a mocktail version of this pineapple margarita recipe!

photo of a pineapple margarita with cilantro garnish

What Is a Margarita? 

Part of the “sour” family of cocktails — which are made with any combination of liquor, citrus juice (typically lemon or lime), and a sweetener — the margarita has been one of the most popular cocktails in the US since the mid-1900s.

The exact origins of the margarita are uncertain. One popular theory is that the first margarita was invented by Carlos “Danny” Herrera in 1938 in his Tijuana restaurant.

He supposedly created the margarita for a visiting actress who was allergic to all types of alcohol except tequila. So, he combined the traditional elements of a tequila shot — tequila, lime, and salt — into a cocktail. 

Another popular origin story is that the margarita was invented by the Dallas socialite Margaret “Margarita” Sames. She made it for her friends while on vacation in 1948.

Tommy Hilton, of the eponymous hotel chain, was one of the guests who first tried this refreshing cocktail. He loved it so much that he introduced it to his hotel guests. 

One last theory is that the margarita was spawned from a popular type of drink called the “daisy.” The “daisy” was any combination of liquor, citrus juice, and grenadine served over ice.

It was especially popular in the ‘30s and ‘40s and spawned many variations, including a tequila version. “Margarita” means “daisy” in Spanish, so some believe this origin story to be the most probable. 

Regardless of who invented the margarita and when, it’s a classic cocktail that’s experienced many iterations over the years. While the classic three-ingredient margarita still reigns supreme, it’s easy to find flavored and / or frozen versions at pretty much any bar in the US. 

Pineapple Margaritas vs Classic Margaritas

Classic margaritas are made with just tequila, lime juice, and Triple Sec or Cointreau with a salted rim. 

This pineapple version also includes pineapple juice, muddled pineapple, fresh cilantro, and uses both Cointreau and Grand Marnier (which is very similar to Triple Sec) rather than one or the other. 

The result is a refreshing summer cocktail with a unique flavor palette. 

What Does a Margarita Made with Pineapple Juice Taste Like? 

This pineapple margarita recipe offers a tropical spin on a regular margarita. The pineapple juice and fresh pineapple makes this cocktail sweeter than the original. The fresh cilantro adds a pop of fresh, herby flavor without overpowering the sweetness of the pineapple flavor. 

In short, this tequila and pineapple juice margarita is a sweet and sour cocktail with a distinctly fruit flavor. It is the perfect cocktail to sip on this summer (or at a Cinco de Mayo party!).

photo of tools needed to make a pineapple margarita

Tools Needed to Make a Pineapple Margarita 

You can definitely DIY many of these cocktail-making tools, but it’s much easier to prepare pineapple margaritas if you have the right supplies on hand.

Here’s what I recommend purchasing to make margaritas with pineapple juice if your bar cart isn’t fully stocked yet:

  • Shaker — This recipe makes two pineapple juice margaritas. It’s easiest to measure the ingredients directly into the shaker. 
  • Strainer for shaker — Most cocktail shaker sets come with a strainer included, but if you don’t have one you need it for this recipe. 
  • Jigger — Makes measuring out cocktail ingredients quick and easy.
  • Citrus juicer — Makes juicing limes and other citrus fruits much easier. Be sure to roll your limes on the counter before slicing and juicing them to help release even more juice. 
  • Cocktail muddler — Both the fresh pineapple and cilantro need to be muddled.
photo of muddling pineapple and cilantro for a pineapple margarita

Pineapple Margarita Ingredients

Although this pineapple tequila cocktail uses more ingredients than a classic margarita, the ingredients list is very straightforward.

Here’s what you’ll need to salt the rim and make the margarita with pineapple juice. 

Spicy Salt Rim

  • Flaky Salt
  • Tajín
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

Pineapple Margarita

  • Fresh pineapple
  • Ice
  • Reposado tequila
  • Pineapple juice
  • Cointreau
  • Grand Marnier
  • Lime juice

What Is Tequila? 

At the most basic level, tequila is a distilled spirit made from the agave plant.

Much like Champagne can only be labeled as such if it’s made in the Champagne region of France, true tequila can only be produced in certain regions with the following Mexican states: Jalisco, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacan, and Tamaulipas. 

There are three main types of tequila, all of which have an earthy flavor: 

  • Blanco (sometimes called silver tequila or white tequila) — A clear spirit with the purest flavor. It’s aged for a maximum of 60 days, making it more affordable. It’s a good all-purpose tequila to keep on hand. 
  • Reposado — “Rested” tequila is aged for at least two months in oak casks. Reposado tequila is typically lightly golden in color, with a mellower flavor than white tequilas. 
  • Añejo — “Old” tequila is aged for at least one year. This results in a darkly colored, richly flavored tequila with hints of butterscotch and caramel. 

Good tequila brands to know include: Jose Cuervo, Patrón, Don Juilo, and Herradura. 

If you don’t have tequila on hand, a good substitute would be mezcal. Mezcal is the term given to any distilled spirit made from the agave plant. So, although all tequilas are a type of mezcal, not all mezcals can be classified as tequila. 

However, for the purposes of this pineapple margarita recipe, you can use mezcal if you’re out of tequila. 

What’s the Best Kind of Tequila for Margaritas? 

I recommend using reposado tequila when making pineapple margaritas. It imparts a slightly softer flavor than a silver or white tequila would, and the flavor profile is more complex (although still incredibly smooth!). 

What Is Cointreau?

Cointreau (pronounced “kwan-troh”) is a colorless, orange-flavored liqueur. It’s a type of triple sec, but it’s stronger and smoother in flavor than name-brand Triple Sec. 

When buying cointreau for making margaritas, I recommend sticking with Cointreau brand cointreau (hey, at least that’s easy to remember!). 

Acceptable cointreau substitutes are: Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, or Orange Curaçao.  

step by step photos showing how to make a pineapple margarita

How to Make a Pineapple Margarita

Making this pineapple tequila cocktail couldn’t be simpler! Here’s how to make a fresh pineapple margarita for two: 

  1. To rim a margarita glass with salt: Fill a small plate or saucer with salt and Tajín. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Cut a small slice in a lime wedge and run the lime around the rim of your glasses. 
  3. Dip the rim of the glasses in the salt mixture and spin around to coat the outer edge of the glass in the salt mixture. 
  4. Fill the glasses halfway with ice. Set aside.
  5. To make the pineapple margaritas: Add the cilantro and fresh pineapple to the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Using a cocktail muddler or wooden spoon, muddle the pineapple and cilantro. 
  6. Add 1 cup of ice, tequila, pineapple juice, Cointreau, Grand Mariner, and lime juice. 
  7. Shake the contents vigorously for about 30 seconds. 
  8. Strain the margarita into the prepared glasses. Serve.

TIP: Don’t waste any part of that fresh pineapple! This post shares how to cut a pineapple six different ways, as well as ideas for using the pineapple top and tough skin. 

Is a Margarita Shaken or Stirred? 

Margaritas should always be shaken to ensure the drink is properly mixed. Because this tequila and pineapple cocktail is made with a blend of liqueurs and fruit juices, shaking it brings all the flavors together and also makes for a colder margarita. 

Are Margaritas Served Over Ice? 

Yes, you should serve your fresh pineapple margaritas over ice. Use regular ice cubes, not shaved or crushed ice. You don’t want to dilute your margarita! 

pineapple margaritas on a dark blue table

What Type of Glass Should a Margarita Be Served In? 

If possible, I recommend serving your cilantro pineapple margaritas out of margarita glasses

However, if you don’t have margarita glasses on hand and don’t want to invest in them, try serving your margaritas in rocks glasses instead. Or, use any glass you have on hand. It may not look as pretty, but these pineapple margs will still slide down nicely! 

If serving these margaritas in the summer, consider investing in insulated margarita glasses. These are especially great for entertaining or for poolside margarita sipping. There’s nothing worse than a watered-down margarita, and insulated glasses will prevent the ice from melting quickly! 

Margarita Garnish Ideas 

I don’t like to add too many garnishes to my margaritas because the flavor of the cocktail is so delicious as is. However, some garnish ideas to try include: 

  • A fresh sprig of cilantro 
  • A slice or two of lime 
  • Fresh pineapple wedges
  • A cocktail umbrella 
step by step photos showing how to make a margarita salt rim for a pineapple margarita

How to Make a Margarita Salt Rim for this Pineapple Margarita

Salting the rim of a margarita glass is very easy, and you can use this method to salt any cocktail glass. Here’s how to make a salt rim for margaritas: 

  1. Fill a saucer with flaky salt. 
  2. Cut a small slice in a lime wedge and run the lime around the rim of your glasses. 
  3. Dip the rim of the glasses in the salt mixture and twist around to coat the outer edge of the glass in the salt mixture. 

Tips for Salting the Rim of a Margarita Glass 

I recommend wetting the rim of the glass with lime rather than water. Lime juice is stickier and will help the salt stick to the glass more easily. 

Use a flaky salt variety, such as kosher or sea salt. Do NOT use iodized table salt. It has a much stronger, saltier flavor than kosher or sea salt and will totally overpower your margarita. 

If you want to add flavor to your salt rim, try mixing the flaky salt with tajin. Or, use smoked salt or a citrus-flavored salt. You can use the same method in my lemon sugar recipe to make lime salt for rimming your margarita glasses! 

How to Make Pitcher Pineapple Margaritas

If you’re planning a party or barbecue, you can prep a pitcher of pineapple margaritas up to 48 hours in advance. Store the cocktail mixture in the fridge until ready to serve and do NOT add ice to the pitcher. 

Instead, add ice to the individual glasses and pour the margarita mixture over the ice. You don’t want a bunch of ice cubes melting in the pitcher and diluting the flavor of the margaritas! 

To prepare pitcher pineapple margaritas, measure out the ingredients list in the recipe card below using ratios rather than ounces or tablespoons. 

photo of a pineapple margarita with cilantro, lime, and pineapple garnish

Tips for the Best Pineapple Margarita

Want to know how to make the best pineapple margaritas? Hint: a good margarita starts with quality ingredients. Here are my tips for making this delicious cocktail:

  • Use 100% pure pineapple juice — Fresh pressed is best if you can find it, or juice it yourself using a juicer. Otherwise you’ll want to look for a bottled pineapple juice that contains no added sugars. 
  • Fresh lime juice is better than bottled — However, bottled lime juice will work in a pinch. The flavor of the margaritas just won’t be as fresh. 
  • Buy quality alcohol — Your pineapple margs will only taste as good as the quality of ingredients, so avoid buying the cheapest tequila and liqueurs if you can help it. A good quality tequila will make all the difference!
  • Use fresh pineapple, if possible — The pineapple is the star ingredient of this fresh pineapple cocktail, plus by using fresh you can add a pineapple wedge to the glass. However, if it’s no longer pineapple season, try using frozen pineapple that’s been thawed. Whatever you do, don’t use canned pineapple when making this cocktail recipe! 
  • Opt for ice cubes, not shaved or crushed ice – You don’t want to water down the margaritas! 

Can This Margarita Recipe Be Made Non-Alcoholic?

Alcohol-free spirits are great as an alternative if you’re sober curious or don’t consume alcohol. 

I’ve never made fresh pineapple margaritas with alcohol-free spirits so I can’t speak to the exact taste, but here are some highly rated non-alcoholic spirits you can try for yourself: 

You could also try using soda water in place of the tequila and fresh squeezed orange juice and a little orange zest in place of the cointreau/grand marnier! 

Safety tip: Depending on the brand you use, some alcohol-removed spirits may still contain trace amounts of alcohol. Check before using if you’re pregnant, serving the mocktails to kids, etc. 

overhead photo of two pineapple margaritas with a spicy salt rim

What to Serve with Pineapple Margaritas

Serve the fresh pineapple juice margaritas with your favorite Mexican entrees for a feast, or pair with appetizers for an unforgettable happy hour spread! 

Try this Easy Pineapple Margarita Recipe!

Next time you’re looking for a fun pineapple cocktail, give this pineapple margarita a try! Did you think it was the perfect summertime drink? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this margarita recipe.

On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of this pineapple margarita!

photo of two pineapple margaritas on a dark blue background with a bowl of tortilla chips

More Pineapple Drink Recipes: 

Below are some of my favorite pineapple cocktails and mocktails. Pineapple makes any classic cocktail summer appropriate! 

Strong, tart, and slightly sweet, a Mai Tai Cocktail is a classic rum cocktail that will transport you straight to the tropics!

Another fun pineapple cocktail recipe is this recipe for Fresh Pineapple Mint Moscow Mules

This Pineapple Cooler is so refreshing on a hot summer day and tastes great with your favorite taco recipe! If you prefer an adult beverage version of this pineapple mocktail, this pineapple drink pairs well with tequila, rum, or vodka as a spirit choice – instructions included!

In this recipe for Sparkling Pineapple Mint Juice, fresh ripe pineapples are blended with mint leaves and combined with sparkling water over plenty of ice. The perfect refreshing summer drink, sans alcohol!

The flavors of strawberry, sweet pineapple, and coconut together in this Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie make it taste a little bit like a strawberry colada – only much healthier!

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photo of a pineapple margarita

Pineapple Margarita

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Pineapple, cilantro, and lime juice infuse this Pineapple Margarita with refreshing summer flavors. Make a small batch or prepare in a pitcher for parties!

Ingredients

For the Salt Rim:

  • 1 tablespoon flaky Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Tajín

For the Margarita:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Cilantro Leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped Fresh Pineapple
  • 1 cup Ice
  • 3 ounces Reposado Tequila
  • 6 tablespoons Pineapple Juice
  • .75 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 3 tablespoons Lime Juice

Optional Garnishes:

  • Fresh Limes
  • Pineapple Slices
  • Cilantro Sprig

Instructions

To Make the Spicy Salt Rim

  1. Fill a saucer with salt and Tajín. Stir to combine. Set aside.

How to Rim a Margarita Glass

  1. Cut a small slice in a lime wedge and run the lime around the rim of your glasses.
  2. Then, dip the rim of the glasses in the salt mixture and spin around to coat the outer edge of the glass in the salt mixture.

To Make the Pineapple Margarita

  1. Fill the glasses halfway with ice. Set aside.
  2. Add the cilantro and fresh pineapple to the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Using a cocktail muddler or wooden spoon, muddle the pineapple and cilantro.
  3. Then, add 1 cup of ice, tequila, pineapple juice, Cointreau, Grand Mariner, and lime juice. 
  4. Shake the contents vigorously for about 30 seconds.
  5. Strain the margarita into the prepared glasses. Serve.

Notes

How to Make Pitcher Pineapple Margaritas

If you’re planning a party or barbecue, you can prep a pitcher of pineapple margaritas up to 48 hours in advance. Store the cocktail mixture in the fridge until ready to serve and do NOT add ice to the pitcher.

Instead, add ice to the individual glasses and pour the margarita mixture over the ice. You don’t want a bunch of ice cubes melting in the pitcher and diluting the flavor of the margaritas!

To prepare pitcher pineapple margaritas, measure out the ingredients using ratios rather than ounces or tablespoons.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 2 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 227Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 4299mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 4gSugar 17gProtein 1g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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