Margarita Recipes [Split from Margarita bar thread on Calif]
If I'm jonesing for a good maggie, I always sit at the bar and participate in the construction. Otherwise, you're going to get lots of sweet and sour, and even worse, Rose's lime juice.
Like Sean, I make my own, using 4 oz. decent tequila (Hornitos or better), 2 oz. of my own blend of lemon juice/simple syrup, 1/2 oz. cointreau (or to taste), 1/2 oz. OJ, 1 oz. fresh lime juice (or to taste). The key for me is that the maggie be 1/2 tequila, so you can actually taste it. Stole and then tweaked this recipe from the champion mixologist at the Bellagio (more tequila, less cointreau and OJ), and we love it, though a second may require surrendering car keys.
For a great blended margarita follow this really simple recipe:
1. Empty a can of frozen limeaid, any brand, into the blender
2. Fill the can with 50% good blanco tequila like Don Julio
3. Fill the other 50% with Gran Marnier or Cointreau (if you are going to Mexico get a bottloe of "Controy" and split this 50% into half Controy and half Gran Marnier/Cointreau)
4. Add tequila/Gran Marnier mix to blender
5. Add 1-2 teasponns of sugar
6. Fill belender with crushed ice
9. Refill glass
I worked in an NYC Mexican restaurant (like that has any authority), but we were known for having some of the best, and without question, strongest, margaritas around. We sold so many that we would make them by the "tank" in the back in the mornings and early afternoons. When I make them for friends at home, I just adjust the proportions with shot glasses.
That said, one "tank" called for:
3 750mL bottles of tequila (We used a terribly cheap wholesale brand for the house stuff.)
3.5 750mL bottles of TripleSec
2 large size (that they have in any supermarket--maybe 32oz?) bottle of Lemon Juice
For the tanks we put in the frozen machinese we would later add water. Obviously, if you are doing the blender method, you add ice, so same effect...
I also noticed, but this depended on the customer, I would add less triple sec if the customer requested Grand Marnier, since it's so sweet.
For the flavored margaritas, we just add the flavors to the basic mixture, whether it be flavored shnapps (sour apple, peach, wild berry, raspberry, etc.) or fruit puree or juice (strawberry, pomegranate, guava or my personal favorite--blood orange).
Another in home tip--if making the margaritas for a few people, and not pitchers for a party, then skip the bottled lemon juice, buy a bunch of limes, and squeeze it yourself! I usually do one whole lime per drink to offset how strong it is with this recipe. Sometimes I'll up the lime and reduce the tequila a bit if my guests can't hold their liquor well.
Trick to making lime squeezing easier if you are sans juicer---slice it in half down the middle the short way (so each half has one pointy end, not the way you'd do it to make wedges for garnish), take an old fork you dont care much about, poke the flesh of the lime a bit, then hold the half-lime in one hand, using the fork to poke with the other hand, twisting hands in opposite directions.
I have no idea if that explanation made sense. But I picked that up watching our waiters make tableside guacamole at unbelievable speeds.
As for tequilas, if you want to make it on the cheap, do NOT ever use Cuervo. It's really just crap. Sauza (gold and blanco) are much superior and often cheaper because so many dumb people by cuervo that liquor stores lower the prices on Sauza to get rid of it. I personally am a fan of both El Tesoro and Corazon.
also-- DO NOT EVER BUY THE PREMADE "MARGARITA MIX"!!! (of any brand) It's terrible and the artificial flavorings and sweeteners will give you a hangover that is quite deadly and unfortunate.
As usual I probably go a little overboard on the ingredients in my margaritas, but to each his own. I certainly enjoy this version.
2ozs Don Julio Reposado
2ozs fresh squeezed lime juice
1oz Agavero Tequila Liqueur
1/2oz Agave Nectar
Shaken over ice and served in a salt-rimmed margarita glass.
I'm always tinkering, but a few things are constant: shaken over a lot of ice, served up in a chilled cocktail glass. Ingredients include a 100% blue agave blanco tequila (El Tesoro Platinum is my current best bang for the buck), fresh juices, and good orange liqueur.
I recently switched from a longstanding reliance on Cointreau to Marie Brizzard Triple Sec, about 30% cheaper, not too sweet, delicious, unlike cheap Triple Secs. I used to use pure lime juice, have found a small amount of fresh OJ is actually very nice, a trick I copied from a neighborhood bar (Boston's Tremont 647) that does a great Margarita.
My current proportions:
1 fresh OJ
2 simple syrup
3 fresh lime juice
4 Marie Brizzard Triple Sec
Like you, I'm a 50% tequila man. But I keep it simple, if sour: 3 parts tequila, 2 parts fresh lime, 1 part cointreau. No sugar. No simple syrup.
As for getting a really good margarita in a SD restaurant . . . I've given up on that one. Ten years ago Guava Beach had great margaritas, cheap too. Now when I get one in a restaurant, I just make sure the tequila itself is good quality. And if it's not too sweet I'm content.