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Favorite Margarita Mix Recipe?

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Hello all,

Now that summer is just about here in Boston, I'm ready to lounge by the pool and drink some margarita's! I'm sick of buying the mix at the store (though I like the one at Williams Sonoma), and am ready to make my own mix! Any and all suggestions for how to make your favorite margarita mix are most welcome! (Good tequila brand suggestions are also very appreciated!)

Thanks in advance! Cheers!

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  1. I like: 1 part tequila; 1 part triple sec; 1 -1 1/2 parts lime juice; 0-1 parts simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it). Shake and serve over ice in salted glass.

    I like a basic Sauza gold. I've always thought it was a waste to use top-shelf tequila in margaritas. Their nuances will be covered up by the lime/triple sec/sugar. Save them for sippling and use the cheap stuff for the margaritas.

    11 Replies
    1. re: sku

      I've never been a fan of the mixes and, not being a fan of cloying sweetness, I omit the sugar/simple syrup. Plenty of sweetness comes from the orange liqueur. My pared down recipe:

      1.5 oz tequila
      1 oz orange liqueur
      3/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

      I agree with the "no top shelf" dictum, but I'd warn against low-balling. A mid-range like Sauza Hornitos or Cuervo 1800 will give a much better final product.

      If you're having a mellow party, triple sec is fine. But if you want a better drink, a better liqueur is key. Cointreau and Grand Marnier are both good choices. Of late, I've been using Gran Gala, an Italian version that's excellent at about half the price of Grand Marnier. I've been substituting it wherever the others are called for and have zero complaints.

      Fresh lime juice. No substitute.

      If the ingredients are good, it makes a good cocktail straight up. Of course over ice and blended are easier outdoors on a hot day, so the drink stays cool as you make your way to the bottom. Straight up you'd just have to imbibe more in smaller doses.

      I recently read somewhere that the Margarita is one of the few "food" items to combine salty, sweet, and sour. As such, it goes fairly well with more cuisines than you'd suspect ... might come off as an odd pairing, but before some Thai or Middle Eastern food, it's not a bad aperitif.

      Out_

      Rien

      1. re: rien

        From another purist - I NEVER use a mix! Also, don't like sweet drinks, so never use simple syrup.

        1 part triple sec
        1 part FRESH lime juice
        2 parts tequila

        That's it! Maybe a tad more triple sec for smoothness if your limes have a harsh edge, but you don't need anything else. We've been winning converts for years with this recipe.

        1. re: Judybird

          Here's a fact: margaritas are very seldom quaffed by men in Mexico. They're considered to be a lady's drink, and even then it's more usual to see a woman drink tequila straight up with a sangrita to sip on the side, or a paloma (as mentioned in another post)--where I live that's usually tequila, Squirt, Fresca or Kas, a squeeze of limón, ice, and a dash of salt.

          It's rare that we see a margarita made with a mix here, and then it's all but sneered at. Limones are plentiful, Controy (Mexican cointreau) is inexpensive, and tequila is...well, tequila is the potion of the land. It's also unusual to see a margarita made with anything but bottom-shelf tequila; the local philosophy is that the really good stuff should be savored on its own and straight up.

          We have literally hundreds of brands of tequila available, from rotgut that you wouldn't feed a dog (as it were) to well over $100USD/bottle smoothness.

          If you're ever in the Guadalajara area, ask about the Tequila Express, an excursion train that will take you to the source--the town of Tequila--so that you can see the whole tequila-making process. And yes, it's all-you-can-drink, plus mariachis, a massive buffet, and folkloric dancing

          1. re: Cristina
            m
            Michael Alderete

            Cristina rocks. She has got the true flavor of the margarita -- tequila -- in her posting. While I've certainly had truly excellent margaritas in the Tequila region, for the most part, to get the best product, I've had to order straight tequila.

            Not to say that margaritas in the Guadalajara region are bad, just to say that the tequila is outstanding, and fresh ingredients abound.

            Drinking a bad margarita in the area is your own fault.

            1. re: Michael Alderete

              Thank you for the kudos.

              I wish everyone on the board could try some of the incredible tequilas that are made here for in-Mexico consumption and not for export. However, if you have access to a Don Julio Añejo and a bottle of good sangrita, you're on the right track.

              1. re: Cristina

                What is a good brand/bottle of sangrita? I'll be inMexico nest week and I'd like to bring some home. I love the Don Julio reposado as well.

                1. re: Heid Claire

                  If you can find 'Sangrita de la Casa', buy that. It's the original. Failing that, buy 'Sangrita de la Viuda Sánchez'.

                  1. re: Cristina

                    Muchas gracias.

          2. re: Judybird

            Yes--you have the recipe right. I start by squeezing limes (2-3 per person) into a measuring cup. I then add an equal part of Mexican Controy (triple sec is pretty lousy, so I would use European orange liquour if I didn't have Controy). Then add reposado, 100% agave tequila (such as Hornitos, but down here on the border I can buy good reposados for 10-15 dollars a bottle). I add as much tequila as I have lime juice and Controy together. If I want more sweet, I add more Controy. More tang, more lime juice. But in general these classic proportions are usually right on. Pour over as much ice as your glass (with salted rim optional) can hold. Drink. Do not drive or operate machinery after more than one of these. Seriously.

            I have experimented with cheaper tequilas, gold tequilas, and triple sec and found that any of these changes result in inferior margaritas. Mix, limeade--shudder--now we're talkin gringo tourist swill.

            ed

            1. re: e.d.
              m
              Michael Alderete

              You have the right philosophy. You rock!

              1. re: e.d.

                Your margarita recipe is exactly what I use too. Wonderful! My parents have a winter house on Baja near Mulege - that is where I first drank margaritas the RIGHT way. My question is, in the states, have you found a place to buy/ order online Controy? My parents bring up as much as they can for me, but I always run out. Any ideas would be much appreciated! Thanks! Sarah

        2. Use some frozen LimeAde as the mix. Minute maid brand, or actually any generic kind is fine. For a pitcher of margaritas, use half of a large can, poured into the blender, with ice, tequila, and triple sec. It's up to you for the measurements, it just depends on how you like them!

          4 Replies
          1. re: messycook
            b
            Boris Carlitov

            :( This sounds just like the mix the poster is trying to avoid.

            I agree with many of the previous posters. The key is to use fresh limes.

            I don't know the exact recipe as my wife always makes the margaritas around our place. But i do know she doesn't add sugar or simple syrup.

            Also if you have the time, zesting the lime and letting it soak in the juice for a couple of hours adds more lime aroma to the drink and is quite nice.

            Boris

            1. re: Boris Carlitov
              m
              Michael Alderete

              Nothing wrong with simple syrup, if that's the best sweetener that you can manage. Better a simple syrup, with minimal flavor other than sweet, than triple sec or Cointreau, or something else that will obscure the flavor of the tequila.

              Unless, of course, you're drinking crappy tequila. Then, by all means, obscure the flavor with the extras!

            2. re: messycook
              m
              Michael Alderete

              No, no, no.

              That's too much sweetener, and too much else. If you really want a good margarita, drink a good tequila. 100% agave tequila, *fresh* lime juice and a bit of sweetener (the least you can stand). That's *all* that goes into a quality margarita!

              1. re: Michael Alderete

                Hi Michael,

                Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Friends visiting from the States (I'm living in Tokyo) brought me a bottle of Cabo Wabo this week. I've just come back from my local supermarket, where I purchased a few (very ripe)limes. Using the fresh-squeezed juice, and about 1/8 tsp of baker's sugar, I'm now enjoying the best margarita I've ever had!!

                Also enjoying sipping the Cabo Wabo straight, BTW :)

                Have a great weekend!
                Andy

            3. Just so you understand where I’m coming from - let me say that I love tequila! I’ve tasted well over 100 tequilas. I’ve toured the highland and lowland tequila regions of Mexico and been a guest at a number of tequila fabricas.

              When I make a margarita, I want to be able to taste the tequila. So I don’t use anything that will mask it – triple sec, Rose’s lime, sweet & sour mix, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, salt – to me, those ingredients do nothing to enhance the tequila so I NEVER use them.

              I use 100% agave tequila, Mexican lime juice and just enough simple syrup to balance the acidity of the limes. I find that when a make a margarita this simple, I can use really good tequila because I can taste it. FYI – I tend to go buy a big box of Mexican limes, juice them and store the juice in nalgene containers in the freezer so I can make margies at a moments notice.

              I totally disagree with the “no top shelf” rule of the other posters. When I first started tasting tequila, I would get both a margarita and straight in a snifter. First I would taste margarita and think of a couple of words to describe the drink. Then I would sip the tequila. It was very easy to distinguish unique characteristics of whatever tequila I had ordered.

              Regarding tequila brand recommendations, my favorites this week are Herradura, Oro Azul, Pueblo Viejo and Chinaco but there are plenty of great tequilas out there. Basically, as long as the label says "100% Agave" on it, you should be safe. (Mexican law requires that all tequilas contain at least 51% fermented sugars from the blue agave plant. The remaining 49% is usually some other type of cheap alcohol. So if the label on the bottle of tequila does not specificlly state "100% Agave", then it isn't and its more likely to be something that gives you a mean hangover.)

              I usually use blancos and reposados in margaritas, but just last week I had a Chinaco Anejo Margarita that knocked my socks off.

              I’ll also mention there are two common tequila cocktails offered in Mexico are:

              Paloma – (grapefruit soda, tequila, juice of one lime, salt) Fill a tumbler with ice, put in a shot or two of tequila, squeeze in the lime, put in a dash of salt (balances the sweetness of the soda) and then full remainder with grapefruit soda. I use the term grapefruit soda because that while most places in Mexico where I ordered this drink used Fresca (my favorite), a number of places did use Squirt. At our last tequila party, this drink was a HUGE hit because its so easy to make and is very refreshing.

              Batanga – (Mexican coke, tequila, juice of one lime, salt) Fill a tumbler with ice, put in a shot or two of tequila, squeeze in the lime, put in a dash of salt (balances the sweetness of the coke) and then full remainder with Mexican coke (which is still made sugar). This is a tasty drink and easy to make.

              30 Replies
              1. re: pssst

                wow! a true tequila afficionado (sp?) quite impressive, thanks for the tips :)

                1. re: eating out

                  I know she won't tout herself, so I will. We should call her Dr. Pssst, as she has earned her PhD in Tequila.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Yes, it was years of serious study ;-) I've done all four levels of the club and highly recommend it.
                    Below is a couple of articles about the Blue Agave Club if anyone is interested...

                    SF Weekly Article
                    http://www.sfweekly.com/issues/2000-0...

                    Link: http://www.time.com/time/global/feb20...

                    1. re: Pssst
                      m
                      Michael Alderete

                      "Serious study". Yeah. That's *exactly* what it was.

                      We have spent over $5000 *each* drinking tequila. That's definitely "serious" study!

                      Link: http://aldoblog.com/blog/352

                  2. re: eating out

                    Okay, okay, with appreciation like that, I'll give you a little more info....Something that has been making it into the fresh mixes of very high end tequila bars and the homes of tequila freaks is - Agave Nectar which you would use instead of simple syrup or triple sec.

                    If you're in Boston, you'll probably have to mail order it but Agave Nectar is a sweetener naturally extracted from the pineapple-shaped core of the Agave. It contains the plants natural minerals Iron, Calcium, Potassium & Magnesium. With 90% fruit sugar content, Agave Nectar absorbs more slowly into the body decreasing the highs and lows associated with sucrose intake. Agave Nectar is about 25% sweeter than sugar so you can use less and save on calories.

                    1. re: Pssst

                      Hey, Pssst, do you have a source for agave nectar in the Bay Area? It sounds incredible.

                      1. re: Missy P.

                        It is very nice. Its not just popular with Tequila Freaks - Diabetics, Vegans, Raw Foodists and Carb Counters are amoung its fans. You might want to look for it at an health food store like Rainbow or Whole Foods but they don't seem to always have it in stock and I'm lazy so I tend to order online or get it from a friend who has a large supply.

                        FYI - here's another tequila article w/ recipe http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/livi...

                        Link: http://www.madhavahoney.com/agave.htm

                        1. re: Pssst

                          so margaritas are now a health food. Love it!

                        2. re: Missy P.
                          m
                          Michael Alderete

                          Just go and find Tommy's Nectar of the Gods mix. It's already got the agave nectar in it, and is the perfect balance of flavors for a quality tequila.

                          Seriously, in the Bay Area, if you want to serve a quality margarita, Tommy's mix is all you need to know.

                          Link: http://aldoblog.com/blog/352

                        3. re: Pssst

                          There's a doctor in the house!

                          I have to say, I find the smell of jose cuervo offensive. Of course, this is the rotgut variety, and unfortunately I am not too familiar with anything else. I have been lookin to expand my knowledge of fine alcohol of the sipping variety, and with the guidance of such a knowledgable hound as yourself, perhaps I could begin with tequila.

                          Dr. Psst, is there any recommendation you might have for a beginner such as myself, in boston, to foray into the world of tequila? Is there a certain (less than bank-breaking, still high-end) bottle of tequila that I could start my own taste testing with, or a place in boston that might give such guidance that you know of?

                          Thank you!

                          1. re: eating out

                            Boston Tequila Bar Recommendations
                            Since I'm going to be in Boston the first week of August (business convention), it was something I've sent feelers out on. I'll let you know when I get a recommendation.

                            But maybe the below will help you out in the meantime...

                            Signs of a Good Tequila Bar
                            Ask the bartender:
                            1) if they serve "sangrita". Sangrita is a tomato-based chaser traditionally served with straight tequila. Most top-notch tequila bars serve a house made sangrita. Plus, I have found that since it is so unknown in the U.S., it will often get you props from the staff.
                            2) for menu/list of their 100% agave tequilas. Even if they don't have a separate list, the bartender should be able to tell you what they have that is NOT a mixto. If the bartender says "All tequilas are 100% agave, trust me, I'm Mexican." (an exact quote once tried on me) GET UP AND WALK OUT.
                            3) for a recommendation. If you really want to test him/her, say "I'd love to do a highland (Los Altos region) and lowland (Town of Tequila) tasting comparison. Could you set me up with a shot of reposado from each area?" If the bartender can do this (for example, gives you shot of Oro Azul & Arette), lean over the bar, kiss him/her and become a regular.
                            4) for a recommendation based on flavor - fruity, with a lot of vanilla, or smokey tequila - there are a lot in all three categories. A bartender who knows his tequila should be able to do that.

                            General Tasting Recommendations
                            1) Tequilas vary substantially so until you learn some general personal preferences (Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, Highland, Lowland, etc), I would recommend tasting them in a good tequila bar instead of investing in bottles of your own.
                            2) Sit at the bar (you can ask questions and watch the bartender)
                            3) Ask to look at the bottle (allows you to see "100% agave for yourself, you can start learning to look for the NOM & you're more likely to recognize it in another bar/store later)
                            4) Do a full brand tasting - order the blanco, reposado & anejo of a single brand.
                            5) Order your tequila up in a snifter (allows you to, doh, smell the aroma better and is less skeezy when you do number six below.)
                            6) Order all your drinks at once so you can compare them. If you order them one after the other you'll be too drunk to properly judge the last one.
                            7) Time your sipping. I give myself 20 minutes per 2 ounce shot. That is, if I order three shots, I sip slowly, taking the time to taste and compare them over the next HOUR. (Hey, I'm a 5ft girl and I do want to remember what I liked and why).
                            8) Get a small notepad, write down the name of the tequila & your tasting note no matter how lame you think they are. I have "Hot burn. Ick." on some pages but I know what I've tasted. I cannot tell you how many times someone has said to me "I had the best tequila in Baja/at a party/at xx Bar" and I say "Really? I love a good rec, what was it?" and they say "I don't remember". Dude, that's sad and lame.

                            Additional Reading
                            A couple of website that are pretty informative -http://www.ianchadwick.com/tequila/ & www.itequila.org
                            From Amazon -
                            The Book of Tequila: A Complete Guide by Bob Emmons (a little stiff, but educational
                            )The Tequila Lover's Guide to Mexico and Mezcal: Everything There Is to Know About Tequila and Mezcal, Including How to Get There by Lance Cutler (easier, more fun read)
                            Tequila: A Natural and Cultural History by Ana Guadalupe Valenzuela-Zapata, Gary Paul Nabhan (I just ordered this book last week but it has a good rep.)

                            Okay that's all I can think of for now.

                            1. re: Pssst

                              Psst, you might be surprised to know that, traditionally, sangrita contained no tomato juice. Indeed, the main commercial sangritas still do not. Instead, you'll see the ingredients include orange juice, chiles and salt. Apparently, the original recipe called for pomegranate juice. Below is a link from a NT Times artice that was picked up by a Mexican paper.

                              If you ever make it to Chicago, you're in for a treat as far as Mexican restaurants with tequila bars go.

                              Link: http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/pls/imp...

                              1. re: JeffB

                                Thanks for the article, it was interesting. I beg every person I meet that knows what sangrita is for their recipe. Every recipe is different, sometimes dramatically. I've been working on MY sangrita recipe for years. I'll have to do a round of variations with POM.

                                Last October, when I was down in Tequila, Los Altos & Guadalajara, the sangrita was much less tomatoey but a many of them had a very "processed" taste. I got the feeling that a really, really good sangrita was becoming a lost art.

                                Last time I was in Chicago, I was busy eating my way through town and didn't do a lot of tequila drinking other than a drink or two Bayless' places and Chilpancingo. I have sworn to make it to Salud next time I'm in Chicago but I'll take any Chicago tequila bar recs you have to give, as well as any sangrita recipes you care to share.

                                Link: http://www.michaelandrochellessite.co...

                                1. re: Pssst

                                  Wow, I remember seeing a link to your page regarding the 2000 Chicago trip. Still very impressive.

                                  I actually had the Bayless, Bahena, et al. spots in mind for tequila. However, there are some interesting corner bars and taquerias where you can get a good shot of Cazadores.

                                  No sangrita recipes here. In fact, I thought for sure even the bottled ones I was drinking had tomato juice until I read the labels, which led me to read up on the drink. A fine, tasty tradition it is.

                                  1. re: JeffB

                                    When I am in the Yucatan my beverage of choice is tequila reposado with a side shot of sangrita. The bartenders there most often use grenadine for the sweetness - I'm now thinking of bringing a bottle or two of POM with me (next week!) to stash at my favorite bar. I sometimes order a Bandera, which is a shot of tequila, one of sangrita, and one of fresh lime juice lined up. This array of sipping pleasure mimics the colors of the Mexican flag.

                                    1. re: JeffB
                                      m
                                      Michael Alderete

                                      > I actually had the Bayless, Bahena, et al. spots in mind for tequila.
                                      > However, there are some interesting corner bars and taquerias
                                      > where you can get a good shot of Cazadores.

                                      While I like Cazadores in a margarita. and had a wonderful experience when I visited the fabrica in Mexico, I have to say that Cazadores is a great tequila for margaritas, but not for straight tequila. Overall, I prefer Heradurra.

                                      Link: http://aldoblog.com/blog/352

                                    2. re: Pssst

                                      So, pssst, are we going to get your sangrita recipe?

                                      1. re: sku

                                        Now that I have to start over doing variation with POM, it may be awhile.

                                        I guess I could post a "Pre-POM" recipe. I'll make a new batch this weekend and make sure the amounts are accurate - I don't really measure when I make it - just taste and adjust, taste and adjust.

                                  2. re: Pssst

                                    I'm sitting here in the middle of Mexico in the very *municipio* (township) where sangrita was invented. I write for a magazine every month and recently interviewed the owner of the first sangrita in the country, named for the owner's late mother, *La Viuda de Sánchez*. That brand was sold to the Cuervo company--the tequila people--within the last year or so, and now the original sangrita has changed its name to "Sangrita de la Casa".

                                    I'm sitting here looking at the label of the bottle of sangrita that he gave me at the end of the interview. Here's the list of ingredients: orange and grapefruit juice concentrates, water, natural syrup, iodized salt, and salsa picante--plus a couple of preservatives. The red color of sangrita is from chile de arbol, not from tomato.

                                    1. re: Cristina

                                      Yes! Thanks for the ingredient list, it will help me with my experiments.

                                      When I was at Cuervo last year, they mentioned that they had just bought La Viuda de Sánchez. What a shame they're giving up the name. They were the first people to bottle and sell it, yes? Its been around much longer hasn't it? Or did they invent it?

                                      While I've been trying to gather every known Sangrita recipes and have been asking people what they know about, I still feel like I don't know much. When will your article come out? I'd love to read it.

                                      I was served La Viuda de Sánchez at Cuervo and a few other places but was not a big fan - I guess I'm too in love with the Americanized version. I would like to develop my own recipe that is closer to the Mexican original but which still has the flavor profile I enjoy.

                                      The chile de arbol makes so much sense. At several events on our trip, we were served jicama dusted with chile de arbol (I asked) which I thought was an excellent palate cleanser for tequila.

                                      Note: If you read my 300 Pimento Cheese Recipes post, you'll understand how obsessive I can get!

                                      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                      1. re: Pssst

                                        Cuervo has purchased the name "La Viuda de Sánchez" for the product they purchased. And no, they didn't invent sangrita. It was invented by the woman who actually WAS La Viuda de Sánchez. Until Cuervo purchased rights to the name, the tiny cameo portrait on the label actually was that of Sra. Sánchez. Now that portrait is a generic woman, a little like a Mexican Betty Crocker.

                                        Sra. Sánchez's son, himself now in his 70s, currently heads up the company that was formed to produce her sangrita commercially. The company name is Productos Sane. They're developing a website now.

                                        They also make the famous *Salsa Cholula* (the little bottle with the round wooden top) that you can find in many US supermarkets. If you can't find it in your big market, look for it in stores serving the Mexican population. Here in Mexico, that same salsa is called *Salsa Chapala*. If you go to the company offices with your own bottle--no matter what size, from a few ounces to a vat--they'll fill it up with salsa at the factory price.

                                        1. re: Cristina

                                          The first time I ever heard of "sangrita" (and promptly ordered it) was at the Buena Vista in San Francisco in, oh, about 1960.

                                          1. re: Cristina

                                            A bit late of a string, but actually was invented by Cristino Salcedo - de Mascota, Jalisco - when he had is "famous" cantina in Chapala, Jalisco. Later Sra. Sanchez established her own take on sangrita.

                                      2. re: Pssst

                                        I really appreciate you sharing your wealth of tequila knowledge with me, and everyone else! Thank you thank you thank you! I am sorry to hear that as of yet no tequila bar worth it's salt has been located in Boston, but I guess it's not too surprising. I'd never heard of sangrita before this thread, but I sure would love to try some! By the way, 20 min per 2 oz shot sounds about right to this 5ft3 gal as well :)

                                        Question: Is tequila the only liquor in which you have received your Doctorate? Or do you have this breadth of knowledge in other fine potions?

                                        Headin to Beantown in August, aye? Perhaps I can be of service, if you need any recs for food or anything else, please don't hesitate to email.
                                        Thanks again!

                                        1. re: eating out

                                          I know a little bit about champagne. My husband & I spent a couple weeks wandering the champagne region (mainly grand cru villages) tasting mostly grower-producer champagne.

                                          And I've meddled with infusing vodkas. But last year I made such a huge batch of organic lemon cucumber vodka that even I am burnt out - Christmas Presents for Everyone!!

                                          And a friend who owns Opal Divine's in Austin, Texas has been schooling us on Single Malt Scotch. Now that's an expensive habit.

                                          I'll definitely email you and post an inquiry on the Boston board. We'll be there the first week of August Tuesday-Sunday. The convention hotel is the Boston Park Plaza on Arlington so mostly I'll want places (preferably "classic Boston") to escape at lunch as well as a dark bar for the evenings.

                                          I know Michael (hubby is tagging along) will want to know where the best cannoli is.

                                      3. re: eating out

                                        My sources tell me that Boston isn't known for having a great tequila bar.

                                        Baja has a big selection of good tequilas, but the bartenders...well...don't seem to know much (anything?) about tequila.

                                        A place that was recommended to me as having great people and making good drinks is "Tremont 647" (can that be right?) but that they don't have a huge selection.

                                        1. re: eating out
                                          m
                                          Michael Alderete

                                          (I have achieved the Demigod of Tequila level at Tommy's, the highest level of the largest tasting club at the best tequila bar in the USA.)

                                          I am a big fan of Herradura tequila. It's the best distributed tequila that's 100% Agave across the board, and their products are *exceptional*. Truly, if you just order Herradura, wherever you go, you will *always* be ordering a very high quality tequila. Anyone who tries to tell you you're not ordering premium (including bartenders, who should know better) know shit.

                                          If you want to branch out a bit, I recommend asking your bartender for:

                                          * El Tesoro (truly, one of the best tequilas anywhere)
                                          * Centinela (which I am drinking at this very moment)
                                          * Don Julio

                                          There are lots of high-quality tequilas in the world, but if you start there, you're better off than most.

                                          A word about Patron tequila: I like Patron a lot, but it's a contracted tequila (they don't own their own fields or production facilities), where the marketing is the key feature. While it's a high-quality tequila, it's also more expensive than some tequilas you might otherwise try. Nothing wrong with it, if you've got the bucks....

                                          Link: http://trebuchet.haightlife.com/~alde...

                                    2. re: pssst
                                      m
                                      Michael Alderete

                                      > I totally disagree with the “no top shelf” rule of the other posters.
                                      > When I first started tasting tequila, I would get both a margarita and straight in a snifter.
                                      > First I would taste margarita and think of a couple of words to describe the drink.
                                      > Then I would sip the tequila. It was very easy to distinguish unique characteristics of whatever
                                      > tequila I had ordered.

                                      No lie. A truly good margarita does not disguise the flavor of the tequila. If you're adding Cointreau or triple sec, you're disguising the flavor of the core spirit. That's a sure sign of a bad margarita.

                                      Seriously, I *love* the flavor of tequila. I've drunk over 200 tequilas myself, many of them not available in the USA any more, and all I can say is that if you think your margarita sucks, it does. Most bars cannot make a good margarita to save their lives.

                                      Drink 100% Agave tequilas, and you'll be fine. If you can't drink 100% agave, drink something else.

                                      1. re: Michael Alderete

                                        While I'm doing introductions here, I'll add that Michael Alderete is also a PhD in Tequila. And, he's lucky enough to be married to Doctor Pssst!

                                        Thanks for sharing your knowledge with me personally and our board.

                                    3. Quick, simple, not expensive.
                                      A local Mexican place that has good margs wouldn't tell me how they made them, so I sat at the bar, ordered a pitcher, and wrote down what they used.
                                      Juarez Gold tequila. 9 oz.
                                      Juarez Triple Sec. 4 ozs
                                      Batches Lime juice. 9 ozs

                                      I was never able to find Batches lime juice, nor was I able to find anyone that ever heard of it. Do not use Roses. To syrupy. I think it is Master of Mixes that makes one that works fine. These aren't top o the line high dollar Margs, but I think you'll find them pretty damn good.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Bobfrmia
                                        m
                                        Michael Alderete

                                        Mixto headache. All yours...

                                      2. hub uses the frozen "lime-aid" trick for parties, but i like 'em less sweet, so i am going to try some of these recipes.

                                        m'time, what's up w/ the egg whites? not mentioned here, yet, but some recipes call for egg whites, to "froth" the drink, i suppose... i'm a rocks girl, so don't need the froth. but, curious, as to pros and cons of the egg whites. i've never tried it, and maybe never will, unless someone can convince me. maybe it's too "gourmet magazine" for margarita purists....

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: fat kitty
                                          b
                                          Boris Carlitov

                                          I don't know about margaritas in particular but occaisonally I've made a drink with grapefuit juice, gin, and eggwhites. I use one of those hand blenders to froth it. It's quite good. The frothed eggwhite is "creamy" but without any heavyness.

                                          It's worth a try (but maybe not in a margarita).

                                          Boris

                                          1. re: fat kitty
                                            m
                                            Michael Alderete

                                            Egg whites are an abomination. ABOMINATION.

                                            Well, in a margarita, at least. Works great in a souffle...

                                          2. regarding top shelf tequila vs. real limes, my most recent experience is that the top shelf stuff is not wasted, but the limes might be. I tried $45/bottle Herradura resposado, Cointreau (two to one), and a little commercial limeade concentrate mixed to specifications. It was really good, and the smooth Tequila dominated over the lime.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: shortorder

                                              I agree that the tequilla should be great to begin with,I use Sauza Conmemerativo about $25, and that Cointreau $35 is a must. Third ingredient in my house is "Rose's lime juice" just the right sweetness.

                                              1. re: Phantomdoc
                                                m
                                                Michael Alderete

                                                Sauza Conmemerativo is not 100% agave. Shocking, but true, read the label. If it's not 100% agave -- on the label -- it's not worth drinking. IM!HO.

                                                If you drink better tequila than Sauza, you won't need the Cointreau.

                                                Seriously, a good margarita just needs *good* (100% agave) tequila, *fresh* lime juice (Rose's? Please!), and a light sweetener, and you're done.

                                              2. re: shortorder
                                                m
                                                Michael Alderete

                                                You don't want a good tequila to disappear or be masked. Add fresh lime juice (don't make margaritas if you can't get it) and a bit of sweetener, and you're done.

                                                Cointreau is the real waste; you're paying $45 a bottle, and you're masking the truely interesting spirit, the tequila. Save Cointreau for Cosmos.

                                              3. Hi all:

                                                I have been drinking Top Shelf tequila for 30+ years when I was introduced to Herra Dura Margaritas.
                                                I agree that you can hide bad tequila in Margaritas but what you get is a Margarita that makes you feel like crap the next day if you have too many.
                                                I've never seen that problem when using Herra Dura or Patron Anejo.
                                                So many people have enjoyed my Margaritas that I named my boat MarKaritaville.
                                                Give your friends top shelf Margaritas and they will appreciate you all the more.
                                                My advice, experiment with the different recipes; my staples are Grand Marnier and Cointreau.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: eodrus

                                                  Usually I just go with Jose Cuervo Reposado, Cointreau, Cane Sugar and most important of all, fresh & good limes. After getting the basic ingredients right, I think its more of putting heart into making it then the recipe.

                                                2. This is a little off the subject but I like Margarita Jello Shooters. Dissolve one 3 oz pkg lime jello and one 3 oz pkg lemon jello w/ 2 cups boiling water. Add in one cup tequila and one cup (Jose Cuervo) margarita mix. Refrigerate. Yum!

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: kcfields

                                                    I like my margaritas very simple-- fresh lime juice, simple syrup or sugar, and tequila. The orange liqueur is traditional, but, imo, doesn't add anything-- it's perfect already. The only important thing is mixing the lime juice and sugar together first, so you can taste for sweetness.

                                                    1. re: jvanderh

                                                      While I'm sure that's enjoyable, it's not a margarita.

                                                      1. re: tommy

                                                        Well it tastes like a margarita, minus the nasty artificial orange aftertaste.

                                                      2. re: jvanderh

                                                        I guess you should call that a tequila daiquiri. it sounds like a nice drink.

                                                    2. I don't know if this would make any difference but my hubby and I used to hate margaritas until my aunt who came to town recently made them without the salt around the rim of the glass and this made all the difference to us. We both love them now.

                                                      1. Margarita Lovers - I have read just about all of these posts and see many fine recipes for that concoction that helps me hang on.
                                                        After many years (40) of trying just about all of yours, here is THE ONE that is best (for me).

                                                        Recipe - 6 parts:
                                                        Three parts tequila
                                                        Two parts fresh squeezed lime juice
                                                        One part Controy

                                                        Process/Comments:
                                                        Tequila - tried about 50 - Sauza Hornitos Reposado works best in this recipe.
                                                        Lime juice - buy the limes ahead of time and let them ripen until the rind starts to turn yellow and even get a little stiff. Small Mexican limes are the best but Persian work almost as well. Hand-press squeeze the limes only when you make the drink, not ahead of time.
                                                        Controy - works best because of the flavor profile being slightly less strong than Cointreau and much better than triple sec (although in an emergency you can use BOLS). Note: Controy has to be brought in from Mexico but you can pay more here in the States and buy Patron Citronage.
                                                        Grand Marnier - have some ready to use.

                                                        There are 6 parts to this recipe (3+2+1) and lime juice is 2 parts. In a measuring cup squeeze the lime juice (figure about 1 oz. per drink). Measure the lime juice and then pour in half that amount of Controy (one part). This gives you half the parts for the drink: 2+1=3. Now double the amount you have in the cup with Hornitos (three parts) which gives you your six parts: 3+3=6.
                                                        Next taste the margarita by pouring just a little into a small glass and taste. If the limes were not ripe enough, the blend will be a little too tart for many people's taste. This is where the Grand Marnier comes into play. Add a little of it into the cup to take that too-tart taste away. Start with a splash and add more if you need it.

                                                        Pour mix into shaker with ice and shake. Partially rim your martini shaped glasses with course ground (margarita) salt. Put a small cube or two of ice in each glass (just to keep the drink cold while you partake) and strain the margarita from the shaker to the glasses.

                                                        Extraordinario!

                                                        1. 2 oz each Tequila, Triple Sec, and Lime juice. Add zest of 1/4 lime, drip of honey and blend til smooth. Serve on cracked ice.

                                                          1. Good tequila (4 Copas organic blanco is fantastic)
                                                            agave
                                                            fresh squeezed limes
                                                            shake and pour over ice (salted rim optional)

                                                            That's it. It's the only way I can drink them now. SOOOOO tasty.