Cinco de Mayo: State-by-state guide to margarita costs

FILE - A classic margarita cocktail, complete with a salted rim and a slice of lime. (Photo by Gado/Getty Images)

As Cinco de Mayo approaches, margarita enthusiasts across the United States might be contemplating whether to mix their own festive drinks at home. 

Today's Homeowner, a prominent home improvement media brand, has researched the cost of making a homemade margarita in each state. The brand regularly updates its data to reflect changing economic trends, with the most recent update on October 2023.

How are margarita costs calculated?

To determine the most and least expensive states for crafting a margarita, the study gathered prices for essential ingredients: tequila, triple sec, margarita mix, limes, and salt. Using standard margarita recipes, the costs per ounce of each ingredient were calculated, revealing significant regional pricing variations. 

The average cost of a homemade margarita nationwide is $2.56, but this varies depending on where you buy your ingredients.

The cost of making a margarita by state:

Where to mix a margarita on a budget?

If you're looking to save, head to the Southwest and West Coast. Arizona tops the list with the most affordable margarita at just $2.01 per drink, largely due to lower tequila costs. Other states with cost-effective options include:

  • Texas: $2.30
  • New Mexico: $2.22
  • California: $2.12
  • Nevada: $2.28
  • Oregon: $2.54

These states benefit not only from lower tequila prices but also from cheaper margarita mix options.

Priciest states for homemade margaritas

On the flip side, some states see higher costs due to inflated prices for spirits and other components. The most expensive states include:

  • Alabama: $3.00
  • Tennessee: $2.86
  • North Carolina: $2.84
  • New York: $2.84
  • Connecticut: $2.80

In these regions, triple sec and tequila are notably pricier, driving up the overall cost per drink.

Understanding the ingredient price breakdown

Tequila is the main cost driver, accounting for the majority of the margarita's price. It's followed by triple sec and the cost of the margarita mix. Prices for limes and salt contribute less significantly to the total cost but still vary by state.

Is DIY margarita mixing worth it?

While making margaritas at home requires an initial investment in spirits and equipment, it can be a cost-effective alternative to bar prices, especially in states where ingredients are cheaper. Home mixing also allows for customization of flavor and strength, potentially enhancing the drinking experience.

Budget-friendly, easy to make margarita recipe

For those looking to enjoy a delicious margarita without breaking the bank, here's a simple and cost-effective recipe perfect for Cinco de Mayo celebrations or any casual gathering.


  • 2 ounces of affordable tequila (like Jose Cuervo Especial Silver)
  • 1 ounce of triple sec (generic brands work well)
  • 3 ounces of store-brand margarita mix
  • Fresh lime juice from one lime (optional, for a fresher taste)
  • Salt for the rim of the glass
  • Ice


  1. Prepare Your Glass: Start by rubbing a lime wedge around the rim of your glass. Dip the rim in salt and spread on a plate, ensuring it is evenly coated.
  2. Mix Ingredients: In a shaker, combine the tequila, triple sec, margarita mix, and fresh lime juice. Fill the shaker with ice, covering the liquid.
  3. Shake: Secure the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. The goal is to chill the mixture thoroughly.
  4. Serve: Fill your prepared glass with ice cubes. Strain the margarita mixture into the glass, ensuring that it does not disturb the salt rim.
  5. Garnish and Enjoy: Add a lime wedge on the rim of the glass for garnish, and enjoy your homemade margarita.

This recipe balances quality and cost-effectiveness, maximizing flavor while minimizing expenses. This margarita will surely be a hit whether you're serving one or a crowd.