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There are sorbets, and then there are sorbets with benefits. This sorbet, inspired by the classic cocktail, is one of those. Besides being delicious, refreshing, and easy to make, this gives you a low-key buzz, as there's just enough tequila to make you grin, but not enough to make you giggle.


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

20 mins
5 mins
10 hrs
10 hrs 25 mins
1 quart

As I may have mentioned before, I worked at a Mexican restaurant while attending culinary school. In addition to learning a lot about the realities of life in the kitchen, I was also able to gain some valuable experience as a bartender. I use the term loosely, since I was only allowed behind the bar when someone called in sick — and I only knew how to make like three drinks.

That was fine, since 95% of the orders were either beer or our famous Margarita. The owner was quite proud of it: He used to make a big show of going across the street to his house to mix up a batch of his top-secret sour mix. Anyway, people loved it, and most ordered it over ice, as he highly recommended (almost demanded). But occasionally someone would insist on having it blended into what's commonly referred to as a "frozen Margarita."

We'd do it, begrudgingly, but we'd also make fun of these poor, unsophisticated souls who apparently didn't know any better. However, what snobby bartenders consider a terrible cocktail can make for an amazing frozen dessert, with just a little tweaking of the formula. By the way, if you don't have an ice cream maker, don't worry! There are so many hacks for how to make this without one. All you need are some ice cube trays and a blender, then you're all set. But, no matter how you produce this delicious treat, I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Margarita Sorbet
Credit: Chef John

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Pour sugar into a saucepan, add lime zest, and shake to combine. Let sit for at least 1 hour.

  • Add water to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Stir over the heat until the mixture is clear and very hot, but not quite simmering yet. Remove from heat and strain the lime syrup into a container. Let cool all the way to room temperature.

  • Stir in freshly squeezed lime juice, triple sec, and tequila. Refrigerate mixture until ice cold before transferring into your ice cream machine.

  • Churn sorbet according to machine directions, and then transfer into an airtight container. Freeze thoroughly before serving. Overnight is best.

  • Serve in a salt-rimmed glass, with a small wedge of lime if desired. More tequila can be drizzled over the top, depending on your mood.

Chef's Notes:

If you don't want this alcoholic, you can boil tequila and Triple Sec for 1 minute in a pan to cook off the alcohol (be careful, as it can flame up), and then cool and add to the mixture. But the lack of alcohol will affect the texture, and the sorbet may have an icier, less soft, and smooth texture.

You can add a pinch of salt to the sorbet mixture if you like.

Nutrition Facts

273 calories; protein 0.7g; carbohydrates 62.2g; fat 0.2g; sodium 8.1mg. Full Nutrition