Quite Possibly the World’s Most Perfect Sour*
*In my opinion
The margarita is one of the world’s most popular cocktails – and for good reason. The balance of sweet, tart, and spirit is the perfect refreshment year round, whether it’s a hot summer day or a brisk winter evening. After all – what good is Taco Tuesday without a delicious margarita to wash down all that Mexican food?
But you don’t have to rely on restaurants for this classic cocktail: You can make your own homemade margaritas or even a whole pitcher of margaritas for your next party. Let’s explore, shall we?
ORIGIN STORY OF THE MARGARITA
The origins of this cocktail are probably one of the most contested in the cocktail world. Last I counted, there are no less than nine different references to the creation of this cocktail.
The most common explanation suggests that this cocktail was created as a result of prohibition and thirsty Americans quenching their thirst south of the border – and that its recipe was an early adaptation from the brandy daisy.
There are as many, if not more, variations of this classic drink as there are origin stories:
- the classic version with tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice, and orange liqueur
- the “Tommy’s”
- ones with Jose Cuervo margarita mix (sweet and sour– we certainly prefer real lime juice)
- frozen margaritas
- versions with a splash of orange juice or other fresh juices
- margaritas with simple syrup or other similar sweetener
- the skinny margarita
- ones made with every type of fruit under the sun (including blended fruit margaritas, of course)
- a smoky mezcal cocktail for more smoky, complex flavors
- a spicy margarita with fresh jalapeño
This is just to name a few– I could go on and on about various famous margarita variations. Personally, I also like to throw in extra lime slices for more acidity.
THE GREAT TEQUILA DEBATE
The tequila you choose will be based on personal preference. We have a great chart in our mezcal vs tequila article that explains the different types for a more thorough breakdown.
Basically you are looking at unaged (blanco or silver– sometimes also called white tequila) or aged (reposado, añejo, or super añejo) tequila. Typically, the añejos will be your sipping tequilas because the aging process brings out a richness you want to savor. Blanco and reposado tequilas are better for mixing in cocktails for that reason.
Tequila connoisseurs will have their opinions, and many people have a favorite brand of each type. If you’re new to the world of tequila, here are a few of our personal favorite quality tequilas to get you started:
- Silver/blanco tequilas: Casa Dragones, Riazul, and Tequila Ocho
- Reposado: Espolòn, Herradura, and Cazadores
- Añejo and super añejo: Casa Noble, San Matias, and Don Julio
Can’t go wrong: I also highly recommend Fortaleza and Siete Leguas for any type of tequila.
TO SALT OR NOT TO SALT: COARSE SALT TO THE RESCUE
Of course, not everyone loves their glass rims lined with salt, but this is the traditional way to serve this cocktail. The sweet, sour, and salty combination is ideal for most margarita drinkers, but fine table salt just won’t cut it!
If you’re going to use it, you want a thick salt for your drink. There is marketed margarita salt– typically a thick sea salt that is extra salty in flavor. A lot of cocktail lovers prefer a kosher salt rim– it’s slightly less salty, and you can keep the kosher salt for a variety of baking needs.
THE MARGARITA COCKTAIL: MY FAVORITE MARGARITA RECIPE
Here is one of my favorite ways to make a margarita; it’s a bit of a hybrid recipe rather than a classic margarita recipe, using both Cointreau orange liqueur (triple sec) and agave nectar syrup. To me, it’s the perfect margarita, but I want to know what you think!
Leave us a comment or join us in our Craft Cocktail Club to share your thoughts and recipes with us. Let us know what’s on your own menu! And of course, you need bar tools to make your own cocktails, so head on over to our shop to grab everything you need to make your margarita and so much more.
MAKE A MARGARITA:
- 2 oz Tequila
- 3/4 oz Cointreau
- 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz Agave Syrup
- Salt the rim of a rocks glass, then add ice.
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake well to chill.
- Double-strain into prepared rocks glass.
- (Optional) Garnish with a lime wedge.
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