The Margarita could quite possibly the most popular cocktail in America. And, it is the third most consumed alcoholic morning beverage!
1 1/2 oz tequila
3/4 oz triple sec
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz agave
garnish: lime wedge
Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into rocks glass with ice. Optional garnish: salt rim
This super customizable drink can be served frozen, straight up or on the rocks, with or without salt and with an endless variety of flavors. It’s even served in a wide assortment of vessels from the eponymous stepped adaptation of the original champagne glass to a rocks glass, wine glass, pint glass, or almost any other drinking receptacle. There’s no wrong when it comes to this one, so have fun and experiment with different styles!
Don’t have agave? Try simple syrup or skip the sweetener altogether for a “skinny” margarita.
Oh the endless possibilities!!! Since the flavors are literally illimitable, here’s a few of my favorites to get started.
Spicy: Infuse your tequila with jalapeños for 3-7 days. (be sure to taste daily to get the desired amount of spice.) If you didn't get a chance to prepare the tequila in advance, you can just muddle the jalapeño. If you don’t keep jalapeños on hand for that random moment you want some spice, try adding some spicy tinctures to your collection. I always have a bottle of Bitterman’s Hellfire Habanero Shrub handy. You’ll only need a few drops so a bottle is well worth the investment. I also really like the way ginger plays in a margarita so again, you can muddle fresh ginger or for less kick, sub the triple sec for a ginger liqueur. My favorite brand is Stirrings but Domaine de Canton, slightly more expensive, is nice too.
Floral: Use elderflower liqueur like St. Germaine or St. Elder in place of the triple sec.
Herbal: Muddle fresh herbs or try replacing Green or Yellow Chartreuse for triple sec.
Fruity: Here we go! Muddle any fresh fruit (especially berries) for great summer sippers. Only have frozen? Fantastic! Throw it in a blender to make your favorite flavored frozen beverage.
Note: Margaritas fall under the category of sours so some people add a splash of egg white to achieve a foamy texture.
Did you know that salt actually enhances the sweet and sour flavors in a Margarita? Try a salt rim!
As with most cocktails, the true origins of the Margarita are unclear but there are a few plausible stories. The earliest starts in 1938 somewhere between Tijuana and Baja California at a restaurant named Rancho La Gloria. Owner Carlos Herrera supposedly created it for the Broadway actress Marjorie King who was allergic to most alcohol but allegedly not to tequila.
Also worth noting, the Margarita falls into a category of drinks known as Daisys which combine spirit, liqueur, and lime. The word daisy translated in Spanish is margarita. Since many Americans traveled to Mexico during prohibition to imbibe, it is possible they brought the “margarita” back with them.
Mexico’s news agency at the time along with many others like to to credit “Pancho” Morales who is said to have first made the drink at Tommy’s Place Bar in 1942 in Juárez.
Still another popular legend claims Margarita Sames, a wealthy socialite from Dallas, created the drink in her Acapulco vacation home in 1948 when she was entertaining her guests. Among her prominent guests was Tommy Hilton who apparently brought the cocktail back to his hotel chain. This is unlikely though because Jose Cuervo began a campaign for the Margarita in 1945 with the tagline, “Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name.” Cuervo claimed the drink was named in honor of a Mexican showgirl named Rita de la Rosa and invented in 1938.