Margarita

Margarita

Few cocktails are more recognizable than a classic margarita from Mexico. Though it may show up in many shapes, sizes, and colors, one thing about the margarita will always be true: this is the original treat yourself cocktail.

There are endless variations on this Mexican cocktail, but here, we’ll focus on its roots and the classic (and often under appreciated) margarita.

What Is a Margarita?

A margarita is a sweet, sour, and citrusy cocktail, typically made with a blend of tequila (usually silver), fresh lemon and lime juices, and served with a salted rim. It’s often served blended, though more traditionally, in Mexico, it’s poured over ice. Margaritas can also be an excellent accompaniment to a variety of common food and snack options. Tacos, enchiladas, dips, and gumbos tend to pair well as margarita-friendly food choices.

The History of the Margarita

Like many famous recipes, the origin of the margarita has long been contested. The margarita is believed to have been invented some time during Prohibition, and brought back to America by eager American tourists visiting Mexico.

However, there are a couple of pieces of history that help to piece together the margarita’s timeline. In the 1870s in New York City, there was a popular cocktail known as a Daisy, which was made using orange cordial, lemon juice, and a shot of liquor. Coincidentally, the word margarita is also Spanish for daisy.

One story that places the beginnings of the margarita at a bar in Tijuana, Mexico describes the event as a happy accident. According to this account, a man walked into the Turf Bar on Main Street and asked the bartender for a gin Daisy. When the bartender accidentally poured silver tequila instead of gin, the patron was delighted by the result.

So many accounts place the credit for inventing the margarita with plausible stories and recipes that it’s possible that the drink did in fact originate in many different places — however it is heavily associated with Mexico. To this day, no one can be quite certain.

Margarita Ingredients

The big diluted bowl-like glasses that Americans are used to getting in bars and restaurants bear little resemblance to the traditional margarita recipe. Typically served on the rocks and in a short cocktail glass, traditional margaritas contain only tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and a salted rim.

What Kind of Tequila Should I Use to Make a Margarita?

Traditional margaritas are made using only 100% blue agave tequila, such as Patron Silver or Don Julio Blanca. Since they are simple cocktails (and relatively easy recipes), you’re meant to truly taste the tequila in a margarita, and a cheap blend is better off buried behind a few flavored syrups than center stage in a traditional recipe like this.

What Is Mezcal?

Technically, any spirit made from the agave plant is considered a mezcal. This means that tequila is also considered a mezcal. However, just as all bourbons are considered a kind of whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbon, not all tequila is mezcal.

The key difference between tequila and mezcal is in how they are made. With tequila, agave is steamed in large ovens before distillation. With mezcal, the agave piña is cooked in earthen pits lined with lava rocks, and then smoked using wood and charcoal before distillation.

Mezcal and tequila can typically be used interchangeably in most margarita recipes, with consideration to their differences in flavor. Whereas tequila has a very clean, crisp taste, mezcal has a smokey, earthy flavor that is both intoxicating and far from the norm of the typical commercial margarita’s taste.

Buy a small bottle of mezcal from your local liquor store and take it for a spin in your kitchen. You’ll find that the flavor, while subtle, is intensely unexpected, and lends itself to a very intriguing margarita experience.

Margarita Recipe Variations You Can Try

While traditional margaritas are usually made with orange liqueur and lime juice, there are endless possibilities for different recipes and flavor variations.

Mango margarita: Blend the margarita ingredients with mango chunks, omitting the orange liqueur. Shake, pour, and serve in a chilled glass with a salted rim.

Skinny margarita: The original margarita recipe is already pretty light on sugar since it omits agave or simple syrup, but you can reduce the sugar even more by replacing the orange liqueur with an ounce of orange juice instead.

Spicy margarita: Add two jalapeno coins with the seeds removed and 1/2 ounce of agave syrup to your shaker with other margarita elements. Shake, pour, and serve over ice with a salted glass. Garnish with a jalapeno coin.

Cadillac margarita: Add in 3/4 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice and a 1/2 ounce of agave or simple syrup to the other margarita ingredients. Shake, pour, and serve over ice with a salted rim.

Passion fruit margarita: Add 1/4 cup of passion fruit nectar and two teaspoons of superfine sugar to your drink shaker with your other margarita ingredients. Shake, pour, and serve over ice with a salted rim.

Margarita Salt Options

We sell a lot of unique artisan rimmers for cocktails here at Bartesian, but the truth is, rimming options for margaritas aren’t limited to salt. Here are a few of our ready-made margarita rimmers:

Pink Himalayan Margarita Salt Rimmer

Spicy Salt Margarita Rimmer

Triple Berry Sugar Margarita Rimmer

How to Make a Margarita

Recipes for margaritas on the rocks only require a shaker to make. If you don’t have a drink shaker, you can always substitute with an old mason jar.

To get started, you’ll need:

    Margarita glass or lowball glass, chilled

    • A drink shaker
    • 1 ½  oz tequila
    • ¾  oz lime juice
    • 1 oz Cointreau, triple sec or other orange liqueur

    Optional: lime wedge, coarse kosher salt

    1. If you would like a salted rim, pour some salt into a dish that’s at least as wide as the mouth of your glass. Cut a notch in a lime wedge and run it around the edge of your glass. Then, tilting the edge of the glass down so that the salt only goes on the outside, turn it slowly into the salt and set the glass aside.
    2. Add all of your drink ingredients to your shaker and shake them vigorously.
    3. Place a few ice cubes (or one large one) in your margarita glass, and pour your drink over the ice.

    Enjoy promptly.

    Use a Cocktail Maker to Make a Margarita

    Worried about serving the perfect drink to your guests, or fishing for the perfect recipes? The Bartesian cocktail maker takes the guesswork out of the equation for you.

    Make a perfect margarita, every time, with the Bartesian cocktail maker.

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    Margarita Recipe

    Serving size: 1 drink

    Drink strength: 27% ABV

    Prep time: <15 minutes

    Equipment needed:

    Margarita glass or lowball glass, chilled
    A drink shaker

      Ingredients:

        • 1 ½  oz tequila
        • ¾  oz fresh lime juice
        • 1 oz Cointreau, triple sec or other orange liqueur
        • Optional: Fresh lime wedge, coarse kosher salt

        Directions:

        1. If you would like a salted rim, pour some salt into a dish that’s at least as wide as the mouth of your glass. Cut a notch in a lime wedge and run it around the edge of your glass. Then, tilting the edge of the glass down so that the salt only goes on the outside, turn it slowly into the salt and set the glass aside.
        2. Add all of your drink ingredients to your shaker and shake them vigorously.
        3. Place a few ice cubes (or one large one) in your margarita glass, and pour your drink over the ice.

        Notes:

        • 100% agave tequila is essential.
        • A single large ice cube will prevent your drink from getting watered down by ice melting too quickly.
        • High quality orange liqueur can make a big impact on the overall taste — get the good stuff.

        Margaritas At the Push of a Button

        If you like this drink, try our Margarita capsules in the Bartesian cocktail maker — the mixologist that gets it right every single time.

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        If you like this drink, try:

        Mai Tai 
        Cosmopolitan 
        Long Island Iced Tea 
        Mint julep 

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