On last month’s Mexico trip with the Piedmont Community Church, where libations are “prohibido,” we adults fantasized about sipping a cool margarita on ice after a day working in the hot sun.
I know a lot of people like their margarita blended, but for me, I prefer it on the rocks. I want to taste the tequila! Not much chance of getting too watered down when I drink it fairly “rapido.”
- 1 lime cut into 1/8th inch slices.
- 5 or 6 limes for muddling in the cocktail shaker, one slice reserved for garnish
- 1.5 oz. lime juice in addition to what was muddled
- 1.5 oz. agave nectar or simple syrup
- 1 oz. good triple sec
- 2 oz. tequila (Sometimes I cheat and add a little extra.)
- Just a float of Grand Marnier or Grand Imperial Orange
Note: Don’t think the lime juice will get you by: A good margarita depends on quality tequila. I’m partial to Tres Agaves.
Ready your glass: Pour some kosher salt or other coarse salt onto a small plate, take a slice of lime and wet the top edge of the glass, then dip it lightly into the salt. After you salt the rim, run your clean finger or a napkin around the inside of the rim so as not to have much salt drop into the drink and change the flavor. Set aside.
Next, start by creating a simple syrup, with sugar or an agave nectar as the sweetener. I like agave nectar as a supplement to the agave tequila — it adds just a hint of earthy flavor that white cane sugar does not.
SIMPLE SYRUP: The beauty of simple syrup is that it’s simple, requiring only two ingredients in equal portions: sugar and water. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Muddling the rind of the lime is key: Juice 3 or 4 limes and set aside. Cut one 1 lime into 1/8 thin slices and place 5 or 6 of these slices in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. The rind has a distinct delicious flavor as it releases the oil of the skin into the mix. Muddle these slices well, then add a handful of ice.
Mix the sweetener with the limes, adjusting to taste. Put a handful of ice into your shaker, enough to cool the mix thoroughly but with room to add the remaining ingredients.
Pour the lime juice, triple sec, and tequila into the shaker with the sweetened muddled lime skins and ice.
Shake well and taste-test the shaken cocktail, adjusting the flavors as you wish. I like it more on the tart side. Give it a final shake.
Fill your waiting salt-rimmed glass generously with ice, pour the drink, add your garnish.
Optional: I like a tiny float of either Grand Marnier or Grand Imperial Orange Liqueur on the top of the finished cocktail.
Just for fun: check out this video to see how a great tequila is made by (friend of Piedmont Exedra) Tres Agaves.