It’s Margarita Time!
If you want to know more, read on. If you’re just here for a recipe, here it is. Mix away, and Cheers.
Margarita on the Rocks
- 2 oz. clear Tequila
- 2 oz. Lime Juice
- 1 oz. Triple Sec
- 1 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
- Salt for the rim
- Lime slice for garnish
Shake with ice until cold, pour into a glass with a salted rim. Add lime slice for garnish.
It’s Cinco de Mayo, or it’s Taco Tuesday, or it’s any random day of the week. The Margarita is always up for a party and will always bring the spicy Tequila, and smooth Orange with just enough citrus to make your lips pucker. The Salsa music plays between your ears from the first mention of a salted rim and before you know it, you’ll be dancing in your own mind and shaking your ingredients to an invisible beat. Let the experience take you on the journey into the kind of night that you will fondly remember in three-second flashes for years to come.
You’re not traveling, so get that experience at home.
Decorate your bar with bold warm colors. Red, orange, and yellow compliment the bright colors of your drink and clear glassware lets you show it off. Put on some music with a Latin flavor and invite your friends over (responsibly, of course). The Margarita is a drink that is best when the experience is shared and everybody is on the same party-night agenda.
You don’t need the special glass, but if you have it then by all means get it out of the cupboard and fill it with its namesake concoction.
Drink the Margarita with spicy foods, or down it while you sit around and talk about spicy times. Remember those days when you were younger, and allow yourself the gift of fond recollection. Even if those days are long past and relegated to the partial-memories section of your grey matter, they are still part of who you are and you should be revered and remembered as such. Bring up those memories, share them with whomever will listen, sip the green, salty, sour libation, and remember to embellish ever so slightly.
The history of this drink is as muddled as any, with most websites I can find agreeing that it started around the 1930s. There are stories of women named Margaret, or even Margarita who either invented or had the drink named for them. Some stories refer to bars in Mexico, others in the US, and there is a reference to a drink called a Picador from a UK-based recipe book that uses the exact same ingredients (Tarling, 1937). The story that keeps cropping up (and the one that I am most likely to tell after a Margarita or two) is that a bartender was mixing a Daisy and reached for Tequila instead of Brandy, thus accidentally inventing a new drink. I like stories of happy accidents and that one seems to fit into the general mood of the Margarita. If you’re interested, Difford’s Guide provides a succinct list of the most plausible origin stories.
Regardless of the drink’s history, we tend to drink it to celebrate Mexican history and culture, but not Mexican independence day as we sometimes claim (Mexican independence day happens to be in September). According to history.com, on May 5,1862 Mexico’s army defeated the French during the Battle of Puebla fought as part of the Franco-Mexican war. It’s a war and a battle that you probably never heard about in history class, but if your history teacher ever gave you a “quiet assignment” on May 6, you can be sure that he or she was celebrating it.
Of course in the US we don’t want to miss out on a good reason to drink Margaritas, so thanks to General Zaragoza and an outnumbered Mexican army we all have a reason to get drunk with our tacos in early May.
Enough of that, let’s mix it up!
The “official” Margarita recipes from IBA, Liquor.com, and Difford’s guide tend to make quite a strong cocktail and use only Lime juice as the citrus component. These make delicious drinks, but if you’re going to be enjoying more than one or two, you’ll want to stretch them out over several hours.
If you buy a Margarita in a bar during Happy Hour, you’re likely to get a larger serving, rail Tequila, and a glass full of the lemon/lime based sour mix that many bars use as their standard citrus component.
My recipe above attempts to straddle the line between the official oh-my-God-that’s-a-lot-of-Tequila and the chain restaurant can’t-taste-anything-but-the-spicy-salsa versions. After several delicious experiments and almost as many terrible lime-based math jokes, I propose a flavorful, well-balanced drink that you can pour for your friends from a pitcher and not have your morning after turned into several hours of Tequila-based regret.
First, what to the experts say?
Ratios listed here are Tequila: Triple Sec: Lime Juice
The International Bartender’s Association (IBA) gives us the most Tequila-heavy recipe with a 10:4:3 ratio (start with 5 cl of Tequila).
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville combines Gold and Silver Tequila, Roses and fresh squeezed lime juice, Curacao and Triple Sec. This one plays havoc on your measuring skills and boils down to about a 5:1:3 depending on how much juice you can get out of three lime wedges.
Oh man, I haven’t had any Tequila yet and my head hurts already!
Yes, and I’m sorry, but I am here to help. By giving you a math headache, I have saved you from a Tequila one. Seriously, that joke was actually funny after more than one Margarita experiment and you do not want to get to that point.
Start with a shaker full of ice and add a shot of Tequila (1 1/2 to 2 oz.) and the same amount of Lime Juice. Add half that amount of Triple Sec, then Lemon Juice in the same amount. Add a squeeze of Agave nectar (more if you like things sweeter), and shake until it’s all cold. Home tip: start making them with less Tequila as the night goes on. Your guests won’t notice until tomorrow morning when they will both thank you and sing the praises of your prowess with the shaker.
Pour the whole thing into a tall glass with a salted rim and enjoy. Yes, you need the salt, you’re not a caveman.
Of course, these are one man’s opinions and sanctioned only by me and those who drink at my home bar. Get out your shaker, it’s time to celebrate the Battle of Puebla! Yeah, that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Tarling, W. J. The Café Royal Cocktail Book, Coronation Edition, Pall Mall Ltd., London, 1937
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