olive garden italian margarita
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Italian Margarita (Olive Garden Copycat)

This Olive Garden Italian Margarita Recipe is a little tart, a little sweet, and completely refreshing. It’s a fun twist on a classic margarita, with a shot of amaretto and freshly squeezed orange and lime juices. Perfect for summer sipping!

a close up photo of an Italian margarita cocktail garnished with an orange and lime wheel

Love unique margarita recipes? Try our Copycat Chili’s Strawberry Margarita or our new Hennessy Margarita recipes too!

The Best Italian Margarita with Amaretto

As much as we love classic margaritas, we love switching things up sometimes too. Take this version of Olive Garden’s Italian Margarita, for example. By swapping orange liqueur for Italian liqueur (sweet amaretto, in this case), you create a whole new flavor.

This Italian Margarita, thanks to the amaretto, is a bit sweeter than your classic margarita but with the fresh citrus juices it’s still tart and refreshing. It’s perhaps the best cocktail offered at Olive Garden, though you can certainly find it at another Italian restaurant as well.

If a homemade margarita seems intimidating, don’t worry – this is definitely an easy recipe. All you need to do is combine the ingredients and shake shake shake!

What Is An Italian Margarita?

Italian Margaritas were made famous by Olive Garden, where they’re a popular cocktail on the menu. They are similar to your classic margarita with one main difference. Instead of orange liqueur like Triple Sec, an Italian Margarita is made with Amaretto, an almond liqueur.

In some cases, the amaretto is served on the side in a shot glass for you to pour in but in other cases, like this recipe, it’s already mixed into the drink.

There are some variations on this recipe, such as an Italian Limoncello Margarita, where the amaretto is replaced with limoncello or other Italian liqueurs.

ingredients to make italian margarita cocktail

What You’ll Need

This amaretto margarita is made with tequila, amaretto, and a handful of fresh ingredients (or fruits, at least).

  • Orange juice – Freshly squeezed is best.
  • Tequila – Blanco or reposada will both work. Use a good quality tequila that you enjoy drinking.
  • Amaretto – The Italian twist that makes this different from a traditional margarita. Sweet amaretto liqueur is used in place of triple sec or other orange liqueur.
  • Lime juice – Again, freshly squeezed! Fresh lime juice is a MUST.
  • Margarita salt – In a pinch, you can use really coarse salt. We really like this classic margarita salt or you can get a variety pack with lime and citrus flavors.

What’s The Best Tequila To Use?

You can use either tequila blanco (aka silver tequila) or reposado tequila, depending on your preference. Olive Garden uses Jose Cuervo Blanco Tequila.

In general, if you’re not a huge tequila drinker, opt for a quality blanco tequila. The flavor is much lighter and more crisp than a reposado. However, the reposado is really nice in this Olive Garden Italian margarita as the aging process infuses it with hints of vanilla and oak, which complement the almond liqueur well.

But honestly? Just use your favorite tequila! If you enjoy drinking it, you’ll enjoy it in the margarita!

pouring amaretto into a cocktail mixer with ice

Why Is There No Simple Syrup or Sour Mix?

Many margarita recipes call for simple syrup to sweeten the cocktail but I left it out in this recipe. Why? Amaretto is a very sweet liqueur so, in my opinion, no additional sweetener is required. The flavor is perfect as-is. However, if you like super sweet drinks, feel free to add in simple syrup to taste.

Sour mix is typically added when using a premade margarita mix to add the citrus flavor but in this case it’s not needed, as we’re using the real thing – fresh orange and lime juice.

Love margaritas? Check out our Gift Guide for Margarita Lovers!

Margarita Essentials

Here are a few of our favorite must-haves for making margaritas!

  • Margarita glasses – You can’t have a margarita without a margarita glass! Stick with classic crystal margarita glasses or try these stemless, insulated glasses perfect for hosting!
  • Margarita salt – Try a classic margarita salt or get creative with spicy or citrus margarita salt.
  • Salt rimmer – If you find yourself making margaritas, definitely invest in a bar glass rimmer. It’ll make your life and salting the rim of a margarita glass much easier and keep your bar looking clean!
a photo of the ingredients used to make an Italian margarita, disaronno, espolon, orange juice, margarita salt, oranges, limes and ice cubes

How to Make an Italian Margarita

Here’s how to make this easy Olive Garden copycat recipe.

  • Shake the ingredients. Add the tequila and amaretto to a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Squeeze in the lime juice and add the OJ. Shake well.
  • Add the salt rim. Coat the glass with lime juice and roll in margarita salt. Pour the drink into the glass. Garnish with an orange wedge and/or lime wedge.

Tips for the Best Margarita

  • Pick fresh, ripe limes and oranges. Select oranges and limes that are firm but still give a bit when you squeeze them. Avoid any that look dried out or are too mushy.
  • Roll the limes before squeezing. To get the most juice out of your limes (and your oranges too), roll them under your palm on the table for a few minutes. I find using a lemon press also helps to get every bite of juice out.
  • Adjust the flavor to your preference. As mentioned above, I find no need to add any simple syrup to my Italian margarita. However, feel free to add some if you prefer sweeter drinks. You can also experiment using a combo of orange liqueur with the amaretto.
italian margarita cocktail next to a bottle of white tequila and some oranges and limes

Can I Turn This Into A Big Batch Cocktail?

Absolutely! For a big batch Italian margarita, simply combine the tequila, amaretto, and citrus juices in a pitcher. Stir and refrigerate.

Prepare the margarita glasses with the lime wedges and margarita salt, then pour the margarita into the prepared glass over ice. I do not recommend adding ice directly to the pitcher as it will water down the margarita.

Can I Make A Frozen Italian Margarita?

You can certainly turn this margarita into a frozen margarita! Combine all ingredients then blend with ice until your desired consistency. Easy peasy! Garnish with orange slices or lime slices and enjoy.

More Margarita Recipes:

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olive garden italian margarita

Italian Margarita (Olive Garden Copycat)

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This Olive Garden Italian Margarita Recipe is a little tart, a little sweet, and completely refreshing. It's a fun twist on a classic margarita, with a shot of amaretto and freshly squeezed orange and lime juices. Perfect for summer sipping!

  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 Ounce Orange Juice
  • 2 Once’s Tequila
  • 1 Ounce Amaretto
  • 1 Ounce Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice.
  • Ice Cubes
  • Orange Slices
  • Lime Slices
  • Margarita Salt

Instructions

    1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
    2. Pour in tequila & amaretto.
    3. Squeeze in the lime juice.
    4. Top off with orange juice.
    5. Shake well.
    6. Coat the rim of a glass with lime juice and roll in margarita salt.
    7. Pour into a glass and garnish with orange and lime slices. Cheers.
  • Author: Easy Party Cocktails
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Additional Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Category: Summer Cocktails
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 605
  • Sugar: 42
  • Sodium: 1013
  • Fat: 1
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 55
  • Fiber: 3
  • Protein: 2
  • Cholesterol: 0

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