Friday, 27 August 2010

Margarita



Learning how to make a Margarita is as easy as 1, 2, 3. One part lime, two parts orange liqueur and three parts tequila - shaken with ice and served straight up in a fancy glass or on the rocks in a tumbler - with or without a rim of coarse-grained salt.

Those are the basic variations. Some prefer different proportions (more tequila, say, or more lime juice), some add simple syrup, some replace the orange liqueur with fresh orange juice; others throw the whole lot in a blender for a frozen drink. But never mind about anyone else: here's my personal favourite, at least for now:

Margarita

15ml (0.5oz) fresh lime juice.
30ml (1oz) Cointreau
45ml (1.5oz) tequila

Throw the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a tumbler with fresh ice.

When it comes to the tequila, look for something made from 100% agave (which rules out that Jose Cuervo mixto nonsense you find in most British bars). A silver/blanco tequila might taste more refreshing, if that's what you're after on a sunny day, while a reposado will provide a richer flavour. I'm ambivalent about salt: as long as it doesn't run down the inside of the glass it can make a nice addition, but generally I don't bother. As for the glass, I used to like those fiddly martini vessels (pictured top) without ice. Recently I've preferred a tumbler with rocks.

Another dilemma (not all dilemmas are bad, see) is what to pick for the orange element. I tried a little taste test, constructing three margaritas with standard triple sec, Cointreau and brandy-based Grand Marnier (read more about the liqueurs here).

* With the triple sec, the margarita was thin, but the tequila came through. This was the tartest of the three, and might make for a good aperitif.

* Cointreau produced my favourite of the trio: very orangey, with a strong orange aroma, slightly sweeter than the first, and well-balanced with the tequila.

* Grand Marnier stepped up the orange even further. This was more of an orange drink than a tequila/lime one. It tasted altogether different than the others - heavy, thick, sweet: orange brandy with a tequila kick - better as a digestif.

Whatever you choose, choose a Margarita. Did I mention how amazing this drink can be? One of the best.

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