A Really Good Non-Alcoholic Margarita Recipe - Skillful Cook
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A Really Good Non-Alcoholic Margarita

15 reviews / 4.9 average

This non-alcoholic margarita is AMAZING! Made with jalapeño cilantro simple syrup, lime juice, tonic water, and zero alcohol.

In This Post: Everything You Need For a Non-Alcoholic Margarita

Lindsay's Notes

This is my favorite non-alcoholic margarita!

There are 101 reasons why someone might not want to consume alcohol - right now, personally, we are in a season of less alcohol consumption for a number of reasons: physical health, mental health, young kids at home, etc. And in this season of less drinking, I've realized that having a fun, nuanced, actually good margarita in your back pocket that is more than just juice in a glass and doesn't rely on alcohol is a really great life upgrade.

So basically, I make this all the time now. Multiple times a week. I keep my lime juice stocked, my simple syrup stocked, and it's ready for me whenever.

How this started: we were having friends over for the Super Bowl and we wanted a non-alcoholic margarita option for several of the friends in attendance. And I started googling.

A lot of the non-alcoholic margarita recipes I found online relied really heavily on just juices and sparkling water, and while I'm sure those taste great, they don't have that signature bitterness OR anything really interesting happening with the flavor to make your mouth just light up with excitement and make up for the lack of alcohol. I really wanted something more fun and special than just lime juice and orange juice with sparkling water.

So where we ended up is right here:

  • lime juice
  • jalapeño cilantro simple syrup - for heat, and also for a fresh herbaceous flavor
  • tonic water - for a bit of bitterness and depth
  • a Tajin rim - for texture, saltiness, and a fast punch of heat

Three ingredients, no alcohol, one really really happy mama over here.

I love this drink so much - now officially declaring this my Drink of Summer 2023.

White hand pouring non-alcoholic margaritas into a glass

For another knockout NA summer drink, this cucumber lime agua fresca has been made in our house at least 78 times. I love it so much.

Non-Alcoholic Margarita Video

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A picture of A Really Good Non-Alcoholic Margarita

A Really Good Non-Alcoholic Margarita

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: amounts for 1 margarita (but enough syrup to make many) 1x


This non-alcoholic margarita is AMAZING! Made with jalapeño cilantro simple syrup, lime juice, tonic water, and zero alcohol.


Units Scale

A Single Non-Alcoholic Margarita:

  • 1.5 ounces lime juice (about 3-4 limes)
  • 2 ounces jalapeño cilantro simple syrup
  • tonic water to taste (see notes for subs, especially during pregnancy)

For the Jalapeño Cilantro Simple Syrup:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 small bunch cilantro (leaves and/or stems)
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced into chunks

For the Tajin Rim:

  • 1 teaspoon Tajin (affiliate link)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. To make the simple syrup: Bring the sugar, water, cilantro, and jalapeño to a low simmer in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes. You want the sugar to dissolve and some of the flavor of the cilantro and jalapeño to steep into the liquid. Strain out the cilantro and jalapeño, and reserve the syrup in a jar or small pitcher in the fridge for several weeks. I love having this on hand to throw fast, fun, easy drinks together!
  2. For the Tajin rim: Mix the sugar, salt, and Tajin on a small plate. Brush a bit of lime juice or simple syrup on the side or rim of the glass and immediately dip it into the Tajin mixture so it sticks to the side or rim of the glass. Beautiful!
  3. To make the NA margaritas: Throw a few ice cubes in the glass. For each marg, I typically use 1.5 ounces lime juice, 2 ounces simple syrup, and tonic water to taste. You can also use a shaker here to mix, or just pour it all into the glass and give it a gentle swish to stir. ENJOY YOUR MOMENT.


Tonic Water: Tonic water doesn't have alcohol, but it contains small amounts of quinine which gives it that deliciously bitter flavor that mimics alcohol. Some people can be sensitive to quinine, and it is recommended to avoid it during pregnancy. If you are quinine-averse for any reason, don't worry, you have other options. If the bitterness is important to you, I would sub a sparkly water with some kind of bitter element to it, like grapefruit. You can also add a dash of your favorite bitters, which technically are alcoholic but they are used in such small amounts that many people use them in mocktails. If you don't mind a drink that's on the sweeter side, this is also delicious with any of the sparkling juices at Trader Joe's (I *love* their sparkling watermelon juice in this) or any other retailers that sell fun varieties of sparkling drinks. A plain sparkling water like Topo Chico would also be great.

Limes: I buy a huge bag of limes for this and then just juice all of them at once so I have a bunch of lime juice in the fridge. I use this little juicer for juicing!

Pitchers: I use these adorable little glass milk pitchers (affiliate link) every summer for storing my simple syrups, agua frescas, iced coffee, lots of different things. For these margs, I juice a bunch of limes ahead and then keep one pitcher of lime juice and one of the simple syrup in the fridge for super fast margs anytime the craving strikes! Ultimate life hack.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shake
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired

Keywords: zero proof cocktail, non-alcoholic margarita, mocktail recipe

Can I Drink This Margarita If I'm Pregnant?

Yes, but you should use something else in place of the tonic water.

As written, this margarita uses tonic water which contains quinine. It's what gives it a bitter flavor and prevents it from being overly sweet. Since quinine is not recommended for consumption during pregnancy, I would probably recommend making this with some kind of alternative.

Alternatives to tonic water:

  • A sparkling water like Topo Chico
  • Quinine-free tonic water
  • A bitter-forward sparkling water like grapefruit Spindrift or something similar
  • Sparkling juice, like watermelon juice from Trader Joe's

I promise it'll still be delicious - I make it with tonic water subs all the time!

And congratulations! ❤️

Can I Use Non-Alcoholic Tequila For This Margarita?

You could! I would just replace the tonic water with your tequila.

Personally, I don't buy or drink non-alcoholic spirits just because they are expensive and we don't use them often enough and historically I haven't always liked the taste of them. So personally, I don't use any NA subs.

I find that this combination of some “regular” ingredients will make an amazing stand-in for a margarita if you want to skip the alcohol, which is why I love this recipe! No special products required.

How Spicy Is This Margarita?

Not spicy at all. There's heat, and you can definitely taste the jalapeño in the syrup, but it's not hot in your mouth spicy. If you WANTED it to be spicier, I would use a higher ratio of Tajin to salt / sugar on the rim, and I would also add another jalapeño or two to the simple syrup!

More Non-Alcoholic Drinks We Love

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love NA recipes!! As a non drinker who still wants to have fun too😏, I love this!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am a cocktail drinker but this was a nice NA option to throw in the mix! I did halve the simple syrup to my taste.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

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  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you so much for sharing your blog post. It was very interesting to read and I appreciate the effort you put into it. Your insight and knowledge are invaluable.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay, this is as good as a real margarita. I halved the sugar in the syrup and still incredible. Thank you so much!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Margaritas (but with mezcal and a spicy rim) are my jam. This was so good! I used two jalapeños and the syrup was spicy and delicious, plus chose plain tonic water. I asked my husband to take a drink without telling him it was NA and he thought it tasted like alcohol haha. Love this alternative!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am trying out this recipe and I can’t find Tajin at the store, can you suggest a DIY combination I can put together to replace this ?
    thanks again

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Such a winner!! Add a couple jalepeno slices as floaters to the finished drink and it is summertime perfection 🍹 thanks for sharing this delicious NA go-to!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for posting NA drinks! I’m about to start my second batch of simple syrup. The whole family has been enjoying these!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    So refreshing and satisfying, not to mention pretty. I love serving them to guests as much as I enjoy sitting down with one myself to enjoy on a warm afternoon.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for making mocktails less boring!! Curious how long the simple syrup lasts refrigerated? I want to keep this on hand for the future!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love a good cocktail and this fits the bill for when I don’t want alcohol—the tonic water is key to not making too sweet. We’ve taken to using the simple syrup and takin rim with our regular margs!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    INCREDIBLE. I was so skeptical of this. Not a big savory drink kinda gal, but I had the ingredients on hand so I gave it a try. Flavors are so complex! A little spicy, sweet, salty. Amazing. Love that the simple syrup can be stored for a while for quick drink assembly!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you so much for this NA margarita recipe! It was the perfect drink for honoring Jimmy Buffet’s memory today.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I already had simple syrup from previous margarita making so I used that and lime juice with a la croix grape fruit and it hit the spot. Next time I’ll grab a jalapeño from the grocery store to make the jalapeño simple syrup.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    My friend served these tonight. Soooo delicious. Everyone loved them. The mild heat of the simple syrup was perfect. She used fresh limes from her Bearss lime tree.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love alcoholic margs but have been trying to cut back on drinking. This recipe is freaking delish and totally hits the spot – didn’t miss the alcohol at all! Thanks so much

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe is so delicious. Doubled up the jalapeños when making the syrup because I like mine spicy. Ad

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Meant to say added a couple drops of liquid smoke and holy cow, this tastes like a mezcal marg! Just a couple of drops though or it gets too “meaty” tasting. Lol

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        This was delicious. I used normal simple syrup and 3/4 ounce and added liquid smoke and was really good. Even my husband who doesn’t even like regular margaritas said it was really nice