Seasonal Spotlight - "National Margarita Day"

In celebrating “National Margarita Day” on February 22nd, I give you a fully loaded post with info and recipes galore.

Today, the Margarita is still one of the most popular drinks in the world. Cinco de Mayo marks the day when they are drank the most. The time, place, circumstance, or season does not matter to sip this Tequila-based cocktail. Unbeknownst to most people, the Margarita traditionally was made with 100% blue agave tequila and lime juice. Yes, that’s it! That’s what defines a Margarita. If you decide to visit a ‘hole in the wall’ tavern off of a dirt road in Guadalajara and order a Margarita, that is what you’ll get. Without those two essential ingredients, a drink is not a “Margarita”. Side note - International law states that the blue agave plant and tequila production cannot be transplanted, grown, and produced outside of Mexico. It is purely the property of Mexico.  

The Margarita has many variations and twists to please everyone’s taste and flavor profile. To keep it simple, I will list only the more common ones and the concoctions that I find truly magnificent and delicious. There are just too many Margaritas mixed up around the world to keep track of and many of them are called “Margaritas” even though by definition they are not by name.

In the U.S. and many of other places, the Margarita is typically a mix of tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and margarita mix, sour mix, etc…. This base mix has been adapted to include almost any fruit and liqueur combination imaginable. Always garnish with a lime wedge, unless otherwise specified (flavored margaritas). Other options for a Margarita are to serve it straight up/neat, on the rocks, or frozen/blended (I despise this version) and rimming it or not with salt or sugar.

The following collection of Margarita recipes span the flavor spectrum and are my personal favorites. Warning – A lot of recipes. I am dedicating this blog post to my very dear cousin, Shannon McClimans Olivetti, who is a big fan of Margaritas any time of year and truly appreciates the Mexican culture.

 

Standard Margarita

  • 1.5 oz Blanco Tequila (I recommend Lunazul or Sauza Hornitos)
  • 1 oz Triple Sec (Cointreau is recommended)
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • Margarita Glass – on the rocks/Cocktail glass – straight up
  • Salt or sugar to rim the glass (optional)

Prep – Build all ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass or tin. Shake well. Strain into an ice-filled margaritas if on the rocks or strain into a chilled cocktail glass w/out ice. Garnish lime.

Below this recipe is an alternative that uses sour mix (awful stuff) and, if you like it a little sweeter, add a dash of simple syrup or agave nectar to the first recipe. Make your own lemon sour by combining equal parts simple syrup and fresh lemon juice. Avoid buying a pre-bottled Margarita mix - you will find that it’s loaded with preservatives and the fresh juice makes a far superior drink anyway.

 

Alternative Margarita

  • 1.5 Blanco Tequila (see above recommended brands)
  • ¾ oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • 2 oz fresh lemon sour (1:1 simple syrup and lemon juice)
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • Margarita or Cocktail glass
  • Salt or sugar to rim the glass (optional)

Prep – Build all ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass or tin. Shake well. Strain into an ice-filled margaritas if on the rocks or strain into a chilled cocktail glass w/out ice. Garnish lime.

The list below are variations of a standard margarita -

Gold Margarita

Same as Standard Margarita or Alt, just substitute the Blanco Tequila with Gold Tequila, i.e. Sauza Gold or 1800

Grand Gold Margarita

Same as Gold Margarita, just substitute the Cointreau with Grand Marnier (more golden-color).

Blue Margarita

Same as Standard Margarita or Alt, but substitute triple sec/Cointreau with Blue Curacao. Add splash of pineapple juice (optional)

Cadillac Margarita/El Dorado

Same as Grand Gold Margarita, but add ½ oz of Chambord and use 50/50 lemon sour and orange juice.

 

Specialty Margaritas -

 

Strawberry-Basil Margarita

  • 3 or 4 Medium strawberries
  • 3 Basil leaves
  • ¾ oz Lime juice
  • ½ oz Simple syrup (1:1)
  • 1.5 oz 1800 Tequila
  • ¼ oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur (optional, but recommended)
  • Lime wheel and basil leaf for garnish
  • Margarita glass

Prep - In a shaker, muddle the strawberries, basil, lime juice and simple syrup. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Margarita glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and additional basil leaf.

 

Blue Lagoon

  • 1.5 oz Blanco Tequila
  • ¾ oz Blue Curacao
  • ½ oz pineapple juice
  • Splash of lemon-lime soda
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • Garnish lime wedge
  • Chilled Cocktail glass

Prep - Build all ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass or tin. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass w/out ice. Garnish lime.

 

Watermelon Margarita

  • 3 seedless watermelon chunks
  • ¼ oz Agave syrup (1 part agave nectar, 1 part water)
  • 1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila or Patron Silver Tequila
  • ½ oz Fresh lime juice
  • Splash of watermelon syrup (optional)
  • Garnish Watermelon slice with outer layer
  • Chilled Cocktail glass

Prep - In a mixing glass, muddle the watermelon, agave syrup, and watermelon syrup (opt). Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake well and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a watermelon slice.

 

Blackberry Margarita

  • Muddled 3 Blackberries
  • 1.5 oz Sauza Silver Tequila
  • Splash of Blackberry Liqueur or Blackberry Syrup (optional)
  • ¼ oz Agave syrup (1 part agave nectar, 1 part water)
  • ½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • ½ oz Fresh Lemon Sour
  • Garnish 3 blackberries and lime wedge
  • Margarita glass or tulip glass

Prep - In a mixing glass, muddle the blackberries, agave syrup, and blackberry syrup (opt). Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Margarita glass or pint glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with 3 blackberries and lime wedge.

 

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