Aaah the smooth cool margarita. Be careful gentlemen, this drink is easily translated to a ladies drink. So the rules here are no blenders, no strawberries or other assorted fruity aberrations. What we are speaking of here is a traditional lime margarita on the rocks whether at a summer shindig or a Tijuana all-nighter, this beverage is sure to satisfy. I am in no way promoting the latter event, just painting a word picture.
The margarita is a popular mixed drink consisting of tequila, orange-flavoured liqueur and lime juice, it is usually served in a salt rimmed glass. It is the most common tequila-based cocktail in the US. The beverage can be served shaken with ice, on the rocks, or blended with ice. There is no identifiable “inventor of the margarita, however like many great things there is some rich lore relating to its inception. The most accepted of all stories is that the Margarita was invented in 1941, at Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico by Don Carlos Orozco. One slow afternoon, he was experimenting in his bar, mixing new cocktails when a woman named Margarita Henkel came into the bar. She the daughter of a German ambassador, and she lived near by with her husband in the city Rancho Hamilton. Don Carlos concocted a mixture of equal parts tequila, orange liqueur and lime, served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass, he offered the drink to Margarita, and named it after her for being the first person to taste it.
Another explanation, is that the Margarita is merely a popular American drink and not of mexican descent at all. The Daisy, which became popular during Prohibition as people drifted over the border for alcohol being remade with tequila instead of brandy. There is an account from 1936 of a newspaper editor finding a similar cocktail in Tijuana, years before any of the other Margarita “creation myths”. Margarita is Spanish for Daisy, so it is likely that Orozco, may have just perfected the “Tequila Daisy”. Margaritas are served in a variety of glasses, often the stereotypical margarita glass, a variant of the classic champagne coupe, is usually associated with blended margaritas. In formal settings margaritas served in a standard cocktail glass on the rocks, I prefer a basic tumbler.
Tequila– Derived from the agave cactus juice, this spirit is the foundation of this particular cocktail. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of varieties of tequila, and many with some serious merit. I would certainly enjoy a glass of Petron for sipping, but it’s not right for mixing. I would stick to something that is 100% agave, consistent in flavor, affordable, and yet holds up the rest of the drink. my choice is 1800 Select Silver. The Goodist describes it like this: A full fruity green and cocoa agave flavor that avoids being earthy evolves into a clean citrus note and finishes crisp. All the agave flavor you’re looking for in a Margarita without any of the funky notes that can seem out of place.
Orange– This one isn’t up for debate. There are so many people who simply grab any bottle of triple sec orange liqueur, which is fine, but for a truly exceptional Margarita it has to be Cointreau. Cointreau Distillery was set up in 1849 by Adolphe Cointreau, a confectioner, and his brother Edouard-Jean. Their first success was with the cherry liqueur called Guignolet, but their success came when they blended sweet and bitter orange peels and pure alcohol from sugar beets. The first bottles of Cointreau were sold in 1875. It is the perfect accompaniment for the 1800.
The Juice– Some may think that I am slumming with my next choice, but remember when your mixing different flavors, the notes that stand out on their own can get lost once in the mix so keep it simple. My choice is simple and available, and I find it has the best flavor for the margarita. Since the late 1800’s Rose’s lime juice cordial has been a staple in fine establishment, and questionable joints the world over. Roses is always in my refrigerator as well, no longer the medicinal tonic it was once sold as, it is the perfect finish to my Margarita.
The Mix– Rub a lime wedge around the rim of your favorite tumbler and invert it on to a small saucer full your favorite sea salt, and add ice. Shake together 1&1/2 oz. of the 1800 silver, 1 oz. of Rose’s lime, and 1/2 oz. of Cointreau, and pour it on the rocks in your tumbler, garnish with a lime wedge. You have the perfect margarita that you can enjoy all summer, make one for a friend and they will know that their bartender knows how to be swell.