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Fresh Home-Made Margaritas

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  1. Tequila (Sauza Commemorativo, Cuervo 1800, Herradura)--1 and 1/2 ounces
    Triple Sec or Cointreau--1/2 oz.
    1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
    juice the rim of the glass
    dip in salt
    put ice in the glass
    shake the juice and liquor and strain into the salted glass of ice
    drink slowly

    1. Great margaritas are so easy, and one of the finest things on this planet.

      2 parts good tequila
      1 part Cointreau, NOT Triple Sec
      1 part freshly squeezed lime juice.
      Throw some ice in a shaker cup, add ingredients, fit with a shaker glass, shake, and pour into glasses with pre-salted rims (run a bit of lime around the outside of the rim and upend into a saucer of kosher salt)

      A note about tequila: for God's sake use a good one, none of this Cuervo Gold make-believe stuff.
      If you're on a budget, if you have to mix margs for lots of guests, or if those guests might not fully appreciate quality, Sauza Hornitos does just fine. If you want to go deluxe, get a nice silver El Tesoro de Don Felipe, Don Julio, Chinaco, or Herradura.

      Put some Flaco Jimenez or Manu Chao on the stereo and have fun.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Tobias

        Put some Flaco Jimenez or Manu Chao on the stereo and have fun.
        I was thinking Freddy Fender doing "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights."

        1. re: mc michael

          For later on, sure....BUT FIRST, WE DANCE!!!

          Just no Jimmy Buffett, it's been done.

          1. re: Tobias

            Excellent point. If you play the Texas Tornados, you get Flaco and Freddy.

        2. re: Tobias

          Cointreau is merely a brand name triple sec.

          It's kind of like saying "1 part Jose Cuervo, NOT Tequila."

          In other words, all Cointreau is triple sec but not vice versa.

            1. re: BobB

              I know. Better late than never. I found the link by clicking on a more recent thread (can't remember which one now) and ignorance doesn't help anybody so I figured I should correct it. Nobody else did, and even one person below reiterated the statement...

        3. With all due respect to the other posters, I find that margaritas made with fresh lime juice and appropriate ratios of tequila and cointreau/triple sec are usually too tart. I make some simple syrup (two parts sugar to one of water, heated until the sugar melts), which I keep in the fridge. After I make my lime j, tequila, and orange liquer mix, I pour a slug of simple syrup into the pitcher and keep tasting/adding until it's just right. If the mixture is dependent just on the orange liquer for sweetness, the blend can get overbalanced in the orange direction to get it sweet enough, especially if the limes are real tart.

          1. A couple tequilas for maragaritas that I like are:
            Herradura silver - for a very smooth margarita
            Patron silver - for a smokier flavor

            I prefer mine without any simple syrup.


            1. Down here on the border, I'm spoiled, but I'll give you a basic recipe with ingredient preferences.

              First, I squeeze the limes (1-2 at least per person).
              I then measure the lime juice.
              I then add an equal amount of Mexican cointreau. If you can't get to Mexico to buy this, use real cointreau because triple sec is a nasty industrial product.
              Then I add as much tequila as I have lime juice and cointreau. If anything, add slightly more tequila than other ingredients combined--never less. The best tequilas for Margaritas are ones called "Reposado"--they are white or slightly golden and they are aged. Do not use Gold or basic white tequilas. Reposados are 100% agave. Other tequilas can be up to 50% grain neutral spirits--nasty industrial hangover makers. Hornitos is a good, widely available Reposado, but in Mexico, there are a wide range of brands and many are less than $10 a liter and still very good for Margaritas.
              If the liquor mixture is a little tart, add a touch of cointreau. Too sweet, add lime.
              I prefer my Margaritas on the rocks without salt, but as long as you use good ingredients, frozen margaritas with salt are great too.

              Warning: these margaritas are potent and very drinkable. Be sure your guests have designated drivers because these could make them tanglefooted very easily.

              4 Replies
              1. re: e.d.

                e.d., I totally agree with your recipe but would like to point out that IMHO, key limes are a key ingredient. The Mexican Cointreau is called Controy, and for me, it can only be Hornitos.

                1. re: Greg Spence

                  Never tried it with key limes. Maybe next time I will. I've just never seen them on the other side of the border here. And you are right about the spelling of Controy. I was just too lazy this morning to get up and go look at the label. As for Hornitos, it is good, but Jimador and Cazador are also good and sometimes available in the US. And I think Ollitos is even better. A friend of mine swears that Hornitos was a lot cheaper before it was featured in an
                  American movie, and that it is the movie that made it so popular. I don't know about that, but in Margaritas, I can't taste the difference between Hornitos and the $8 a liter reposados. In Mexico, they also have reposados that are priced at two or three times Hornitos, but I have never tried them.

                  1. re: Greg Spence
                    Rochelle McCune

                    I'm a big fan of Controy also.

                    I agree that limes are key. Here in San Francisco they sell "Persian Limes" in the Mission which come from Mexico (go figure) that are not as tart as regular grocery store limes. I'm not sure if Persian limes and Key Limes are the same.

                    1. re: Rochelle McCune

                      Persian limes are the norm in the US. Key limes are smaller (just under the size of a golf ball) and much more intensely flavored than persians.

                2. It looks like a lot of people have the same idea: equal parts fresh lime juice, good tequila, and triple sec or Cointreau shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker. I usually add 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar to cut the tartness of the limes.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: amoniaD

                    The "new" recipe is as you note: as sweet and sour as frozen limeade concentrate.

                    I prefer the proportions in an earlier version of Joy of Cooking: 9 parts tequila, 3 parts lime juice, 1 part curacao or cointreau.

                    1. re: ironmom

                      It's hardly "new"--those proportions are as old as the hills. I forgot to mentions that I use 2 ounces of each liquor and juice. Adjust the sugar according to the tartness of the limes. Keep at it. You'll get it!

                      1. re: amoniaD

                        When I first started drinking margaritas, they served them tasting more like tequila with fresh lime juice and less like limeade concentrate. Maybe they always have served them that way where you are.

                        It still tastes like frozen limeade concentrate to me when made with as much lime juice as you describe. I prefer a margarita which is a tastes like tequila, rather than one which you can't tell if it has tequila in it.

                        The kind you describe would send me into sugar shock. I'll stick with the Joy of Cooking recipe, thanks.

                        I don't like Cosmos, either.

                        1. re: ironmom

                          What's "sugar shock"?

                          1. re: amoniaD

                            That's where I feel like I need a shot of insulin, or I'd start shaking. (Not diabetic)

                            Not something I experience while eating square meals or drinking moderately.

                  2. I queried a friend of mine who fancy's himself a mix-master and here's his take on tequilas, margaritas, and such:

                    "Our [he and his wife] take is that Cuervo white is about the only thing to mix with. Sauza (I'm not sure if this is the same as the "Suaza Hornitos" under discussion) is a little smoother, which some people like, but it tends to "hide" when mixed. Head that way if you don't want to know how much you're drinking. Cuervo gold is not as "clean" a flavor as the white, but we make do with it when we must, because they no longer make the white.

                    Please note that I do not claim these tequilas are in any way "better" than the others [mentioned to him those listed earlier-SisterT], only that they are more suited to mixing. They occupy the sweet spot
                    between "too awful to drink" and "too good to mix with".

                    The quality of a margarita depends 90% on the citrus, 9% on the triple sec, and 1% on the tequila. A marg made with rotgut tequila and triple sec, but
                    fresh-squeezed limes, will taste much better than one made with top-shelf tequila and sour mix. (But stay away from rotgut, it's sure to give you a terrible hangover.)

                    For tequila shots, I'd go quite a bit better than Cuervo white or gold, and for sipping tequila I'd go well into Anejo tequilas."

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: SisterT
                      Rochelle McCune

                      There is no such thing as "too good to mix with". My husband and I went to Tequila Tasting School. I did most of my tastes in snifters with a sangrita back. My husband did most of his tastes as margaritas (rocks/salt). We shared our tastes with each other and discovered that unique flavor of each tequila was distinguishable in the margarita. As a result, I would not hesitate to use any tequila in a margarita.

                      After doing these extensive tequila tastings, I decided that I will not ever again drink Cuervo or allow triple sec to be put in my margarita. Nor will I ever again do "shots", although I certainly enjoy sipping tequila straight.

                      I also learned that when you're talking about 100% agave tequila, there is no such thing as rotgut but that you have to read the label to make sure you're not getting a "distillation" of tequila that will definitely be crap and give you a hangover. FYI - Cuevo Especial is not 100% agave and is included in my definition of rotgut.

                    2. These are potent and go down very easy.

                      2 parts tequila (use the best that you can afford, most likely a good white tequila)

                      1 part fresh squeezed lime juice

                      1/2 - 3/4 part Triple Sec, the Mexican kind is best.

                      1/2 - 1 tsp bar sugar (super fine) depending upon the tartness of the limes.

                      Place in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Shake until the sugar has dissolved. Pour into glass with ice, salt rimmed glass if desired.

                      A really, really good variation is to replace a 1 part of the tequila with about 1/2-3/4 part of Del Maguey single village mezcal (this stuff is strong so be careful). Single village mezcals are twice distilled and unblended from 100% mature agave Espadin. They are from the Valley of Oaxaca and quite good. There are 5 varieites (none with a worm), all made at different altitudes and all with a different taste profile. Availability is fairly good in the U.S., especially if you live in a major metropolitan area. There is a link below if you're interested, I have no association with Del Maguey Mezcal other than the fact I like their product.........a lot :-)

                      Link: http://mezcal.com

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Gayla

                        try the recipe on barefoot contessa's website for margharita's. They are very very good!

                      2. I like my margaritas citrusy, so I just use equal parts lime juice, Cointreau, and tequila. Besides, these proportions are easier to remember when you're three sheets to the wind :-)

                        Do *not* use triple sec. It's nasty.

                        For tequila, I like Chinaco or Don Eduardo, though any good white tequila will work fine.

                        1. You realize of course that margaritas are a potent drink. Think of them as a south-of-the-border martini. Not for party guzzling!

                          For safety's sake, consider cerveza or sangria.

                          1. Equal parts Tequila (Cuervo 1800 or some such), fresh lime juice, and Cointreau, salt the rim of the glass after rubbing it with lime, blend ingredients and add ice if you want it frozen.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jmckee

                              I agree Margaritas are great, but use a decent tequila. if you are on a budget look for Azul Tequila. It is not at all expensive, and has the quality close to the top tiers. IMO best value. oh also, pueblo viejo in nice too.