Best margarita mix?
- Christina D
I hope I've got this on the right board.
I'm throwing a party on Saturday and I've done sangria to death. I thought margaritas might be a good alternative.
My problem is that I'm a margarita purist. When I make them for just hubby and me, they're nothing more than fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice, tequila, triple sec and simple syrup. I have no desire to spend God knows how long juicing lemons and limes to make a large batch. But, I also have no idea which mix to use in its stead.
Does anyone here have a recommendation for a margarita mix that's not cloyingly sweet and might be an acceptable substitute to the real thing?
My favorite margaritas (at a few select restaurants I know) are all made with either a frozen, or fresh pastuerized, straight lime juice, but not limeaid or Roses. Maybe because we're in NY, so we don't have an abundance of fresh, juicy limes anyway. The brands I know are Sun Orchard (fresh) and Neilsen's (frozen). I've seen them at specialty stores
I've tried liquid and frozen concentrate mixes from Cuervo, Sauza, Bacardi, Margaritaville, Mrs. T's, etc. They're all consistently terrible.
There's one mix that I love, but the name completely escapes me right now and I can't find it on safeway.com. Maybe someone can help. It's in a clear long-neck bottle (like every other mix), but the liquid is noticeably not uniform. If you let it sit, the particles in the lime juice settle to the bottom. Not to say that it's pulpy, but it's definitely real lime juice.
The label is tan, with a drawing of two down-home lookin' cowboys on it. Dr. so and so and Boone? It's driving me crazy. The name is very silly. Help?
You could just go to a big supermarket and try to find it. Some of the smaller markets don't have it. It has a long description on the back about why it's the best. And really, it's the best I've come across. It tastes like lime juice in a bottle, very little sugar added, no strange chemical taste like with Mrs. T'.s
First, nix the triple sec - its too sweet and hides the flavor of the tequila. Then, replace the simple syrup with agave nectar (see link below), its not too sweet, compliments the flavor of the tequila and is better for you than sugar.
Regarding margarita mix, nothing is as good as fresh lime juice. Tommy's Heavenly Mix comes close, but its not available nation-wide. When I don't have time to juice my own, I go to the nearest Latin neighborhood and look for a market with fresh juice or a juice stand.
My most frequent ploy when I can't make a perfect margarita is to not make margaritas at all, but to make a cocktail native to the Guadalajara/Tequila region (which the margarita is not) - either a Paloma or a Batanga. Both drinks are made the same way, the only difference is the mixer.
Paloma - grapefruit soda, juice of 1/2 a lime, pinch of salt, tequila
Batanga - kosher Coca-Cola, juice of 1/2 a lime, pinch of salt, tequila
Take a glass, put ice in it, add a pinch of salt, squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lime, add tequila, give the glass a shake to mix the ingredients, fill the remainder of the glass with soda. Stir. Enjoy.
At my last tequila party, guests preferred the Palomas to the Batangas 2-to-1. But my husband loves the Batangas so we still make them on occasion. In Mexico, they tend to use either Fresca or Squirt; here in SF, I tend to use Trader Joes brand grapefruit soda which is much less sweet.
Tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar may be good, but it ain't a Margarita anymore.
The problem is in adding the simple syrup. Triple sec is a sweet liqueur; adding simple syrup to the equation is going to result in a powerfully sweet, unbalanced cocktail. Go with 2 ounces of tequila, 1 ounce of triple sec, 3/4 ounce fresh lime, shaken very well over ice, and served traditionally straight up.
And when you salt the rim of the glass, rub a lime wedge *only* on the outside of the glass, then dip the rim into kosher salt. That way, you don't get half a teaspoon of salt dissolving in your drink.
Incidentally, I'm guessing that Mexican Coca-Cola is kosher? I'm not a big fan of American Coke, but if I get my hands on a Mexican one, it's heaven in a bottle.
We use grand marnier or even cointreau when drinking a good enough tequila to justify the additional cost. Otherwise just triple sec. Our proportions are 2 parts tequila to 1 part liqueur to 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice, shaken and served with salted rims. Never lemons and never sugar syrup or agave nectar.
To the OP: if you and hubby share the job the night before, squeezing enough fruit shouldn't be a problem (altho it can get costly).
I have gotten one from Williams Sonoma made by the Old El Paso Chili Co. that is pretty tasty. They use some Meyer lemon juice it that adds an interesting note.
It's not exactly authentic, but we like margaritas made with Minute Maid limeaid concentrate. It has the advantage of being cheap, easy to find, and fairly straightforward -- no weird chemical taste as from the mixes.
Another thought is to use your recipe with a decent lime juice -- there's one that's sometimes available at Trader Joe's (Aunt Nellie's, I think).