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Margaritas --- Just Add Tequila

CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 09:01 AM

I know, I know ... there's been a LOT written here on making the "best" margarita. But I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. There's a local Mexican restaurant we go to fairly often that's BYO. On many occasions I've brought along ALL the margarita fixin's -- salt and all -- and mixed margaritas at the table. But to make things a bit less cumbersome, I'd like to bring a pitcher of everything-but-the-tequila margaritas that will enable us to pour our "mix" plus our tequila over ice, stir, and drink. No, I'm not interested in the limeade recipe, or any other ready-made mix. I want to end up with the real deal. One of the things that's throwing me off is that when I make margaritas at home, I generally put the ingredients into the blender with ice. But if I do that at home and then bring the frozen concoction to the restaurant, by the time we drink them they'll be watered down. I'm recipe challenged here, folks. Can you help me?

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    ESNY RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 09:06 AM

    It sounds like you want frozen margaritas, which will be impossible unless they restaurant will blend for you.

    For regular margaritas, I use equal parts fresh lime juice, triple sec and tequila. Shake and serve over ice. That would easy enough to bring. I guess you could pre-mix the lime juice and triple sec and then take two parts of that mix to one part of tequila, or just bring lime juice, a bottle each of triple sec and tequila. Any measuring device will do, since its all about the ratio...The key though is really fresh lime juice... take the time to squeeze it and dont use a bottle of Roses.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ESNY
      CindyJ RE: ESNY Apr 29, 2009 09:20 AM

      That's what I'm trying to simplify. In the past I've packed a cooler with limes, tequila, triple sec, salt, salt dish, shot glass ... everything but the blender. There's GOT to be a better way!

      1. re: CindyJ
        invinotheresverde RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 11:25 AM

        That "better way" is to not drink them frozen, of course. :)
        The watered down flavor is never good.

    2. b
      bnemes3343 RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 09:19 AM

      Ok, so here is the best Margarita recipe ever. It is a fair amount of work, but worth it. Combine 4 tsp lime zest, 1/2 cup lime juice, 4 tsp lemon zest, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup of superfine sugar and a pinch of salt in a jar. Cover and let set for 4 - 24 hours. Strain - this is your mix. At the restaurant, add 1 cup Tequilla and 1 cup Triple Sec. Pour over ice. Salt optional

      2 Replies
      1. re: bnemes3343
        corneygirl RE: bnemes3343 Apr 29, 2009 09:51 AM

        Add the tequila and triple sec at home, it won't hurt anything. Just pour over ice at the restaurant.

        1. re: bnemes3343
          CindyJ RE: bnemes3343 Apr 29, 2009 01:24 PM

          Thanks, bnemes3343! This is EXACTLY the kind of information I was hoping for!

        2. tommy RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 09:40 AM

          Why don't you just make them at home and bring them in a tupperware container. pour them over ice. I guess I'm not understanding the issue. a margarita is tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. that should be easy enough to bring separately or make ahead. i don't see that there's any other option.

          7 Replies
          1. re: tommy
            invinotheresverde RE: tommy Apr 29, 2009 11:27 AM

            The issue is that the OP wants them frozen/blended/whateveryoucallit.

            1. re: invinotheresverde
              tommy RE: invinotheresverde Apr 29, 2009 12:14 PM

              ah. so the question is: how do i transport frozen crushed ice.

              i have no idea how to do that.

              1. re: tommy
                CindyJ RE: tommy Apr 29, 2009 01:26 PM

                No, no, no, no... that isn't what I wanted at all.

                1. re: CindyJ
                  invinotheresverde RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 01:34 PM

                  But you said you blend them at home. Am I missing something here?
                  Otherwise you're just looking for a regular old margarita recipe.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde
                    CindyJ RE: invinotheresverde Apr 29, 2009 01:59 PM

                    I'm sorry I'm not making myself clear. There are a couple of factors at work here. I wrote about the take-home thing below. In addition, when I blend them at home, I pour from the blender into glasses. There are small "chunks" of ice that get poured along with the rest of the stuff. Usually, a good portion of those ice chunks remain in the glass after the drink has been consumed. Were I to mix the same mixture at home, pour it into a portable container and bring it to the restaurant, by the time the first drinks were poured, most of the ice would have melted, diluting the drinks, which would be even further diluted because the mixture would be poured over (fresh) ice.

                    So yes, I'm looking for a "regular old margarita recipe," but one that can factor in ice melt. In other words, do I combine my ingredients in the blender with NO ice? Or with half the ice? Or do I maybe freeze some of the alcohol-free mixture into ice cubes and bring those along? Am I making any more sense now?

                    1. re: CindyJ
                      ESNY RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 02:14 PM

                      Nope. You first say you dont like or want frozen margarita and then you write you are looking for frozen margaritas. Whether you blend it completely or there are still small chunks of ice, as soon as you put it in a blender, you have made a frozen margarita. A margarita on the rocks has no need for a blender.

                      1. re: ESNY
                        CindyJ RE: ESNY Apr 29, 2009 06:18 PM

                        Okay... now we're talking semantics. When I think of a frozen margarita, I'm envisioning a thick, slush-like consistency. That's not what I get when I mix margaritas in my blender. The blender chops the ice but doesn't really incorporate it into the mixture. Maybe that's why I seemed to be contradicting myself. I don't think I ever said I wanted to bring frozen (i.e., blended) margaritas to the restaurant; rather, I cited a reason why blended margaritas would NOT work for that purpose.

          2. j
            jmullen1251 RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 11:15 AM

            ok, i'm so hijacking this post and i apologize but...since everyone is posting recipes, does anyone have a good one for a serrano margarita? its quite possibly my favorite thing in this world and i only get it when i go down to austin - would love to be able to recreate - thanks!

            1. alanbarnes RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 11:45 AM

              ESNY and tommy have touched on it. Here's what I do when taking margaritas on a picnic:

              Squeeze a bag of key limes into a measuring cup. Add equal amounts of orange liqueur (I prefer Patron Citronage) and good tequila. Chill the mixture, then pour it into a thermos.

              Once you get where you're going, rim the glasses with salt if desired, add ice, and pour your ready-made margaritas over. Done and done.

              7 Replies
              1. re: alanbarnes
                kattyeyes RE: alanbarnes Apr 29, 2009 12:16 PM

                Citronge is key. I make my ruby red margaritas similarly.

                Do you use a lime squeezer? I thought my hand was going to fall off the last time I reamed a bag of key limes.

                1. re: kattyeyes
                  alanbarnes RE: kattyeyes Apr 29, 2009 12:28 PM

                  A lime squeezer is key. The cheap cast aluminum ones work great.

                  1. re: alanbarnes
                    kattyeyes RE: alanbarnes Apr 29, 2009 12:33 PM

                    Definitely on the shopping list. Thanks for confirming I'm after the right thing.

                    1. re: kattyeyes
                      ESNY RE: kattyeyes Apr 29, 2009 12:37 PM

                      I need to get one of these.... Last time I squeezed 20 limes by hand, dumb mistake. I sort of go there using a pair of tongs and squeezing the limes using the tongs like a nut cracker... better, but still wasn't ideal.

                2. re: alanbarnes
                  CindyJ RE: alanbarnes Apr 29, 2009 01:28 PM

                  Does the Citronage provide enough sweetness for all those limes?

                  1. re: CindyJ
                    alanbarnes RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 02:47 PM

                    Citronage is very sweet. But there's also the fact that key limes have more natural sugar than the Bearss / Tahitian / Persian limes that are more often seen in US grocery stores. So equal parts lime juice, Citronage, and tequila makes a drink that's perfect to my taste. If you like it sweeter, or if you substitute ordinary limes and find they aren't sweet enough, just add some simple syrup. Quality control is half the fun!

                    1. re: alanbarnes
                      CindyJ RE: alanbarnes Apr 29, 2009 06:21 PM

                      I've been seeing key limes in the supermarket lately. I'm going to pick up a bag in the next day or so and begin experimenting. Thanks!

                3. chowser RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 12:21 PM

                  I only like margaritas on the rocks so don't make them frozen but if your concern is a watered down mixture with ice, what about freezing a strong lime simple syrup (I ilke it sweet so use simple syrup) and using that instead of ice? Mix it together with the tequila and triple sec in a plastic container ziploc bag and put it on ice in a cooler.

                  1. CindyJ RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 01:22 PM

                    One reason I was looking for a way to concoct a tequila-less margarita mixture was because I didn't want to have to bring leftovers home with me. I mean, I'll bring home a started bottle of tequila, but I wouldn't mind leaving leftover mix behind. And it's not that I wanted to end up with a frozen margarita. In fact, I already figured out how do do that. (I mix a half-gallon of margaritas WITH the tequila, pour it into a half-gallon tub, and let it freeze for a few days. I take the tub to the restaurant and use an ice cream scoop for serving into salt-rimmed glasses.) But frozen margaritas give me brain-freeze, and goodness knows I can't afford to lose any more brain cells than I already have. I wanted my margaritas on the rocks, not frozen.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: CindyJ
                      invinotheresverde RE: CindyJ Apr 29, 2009 01:35 PM

                      Sorry, I was confused over your OP.

                      1. re: invinotheresverde
                        chowser RE: invinotheresverde Apr 29, 2009 01:46 PM

                        Yeah, I was confused, too.

                        CindyJ, you said in the OP that you put everything in the blender with ice and bring the frozen concoction to the restaurant, doesn't that make a frozen margarita? If not, I don't understand why you couldn't mix everything but the tequila and pour it over ice then?

                        1. re: chowser
                          CindyJ RE: chowser Apr 29, 2009 02:06 PM

                          Not exactly. I said that I bring the "fixin's" to the restaurant -- meaning, the individual ingredients. I said that when I make margaritas at home, meaning for home consumption, I mix them in the blender, which results in not quite a "frozen margarita," but more like a margarita with small chunks of ice. Arrrgggh!!! I think my brain is a little sluggish today.

                          1. re: CindyJ
                            chowser RE: CindyJ Apr 30, 2009 04:10 AM

                            I think the confusion is because a regular margarita on the rocks isn't put in a blender w/ ice as you stated in the OP. I never use any ice in a regular margarita. But, if you want ice in a margarita, just freeze your lime simple syrup (which I like making rather than using just lime juice and sugar but you could just freeze the lime juice) and use that.

                            1. re: CindyJ
                              JohnE O RE: CindyJ May 1, 2009 05:00 AM

                              Cindy, if I understand you correctly (and I'm not sure I do), your issue is transporting frozen margaritas so that by the time you get to your destination they are a perfect slush consistency. If that's what your after I would think the best solution would be to blend them at home to the proper consistency, but find a container which can keep at sub-freezing temps. I'd recommend placing a thermos in the freezer about 30 minutes + before your departure. Anything placed inside would keep at the nice slushy consistency for hours.

                              As a P.S., I got a jug of "Stinky Gringo" already made margaritas in a gift basket. My wife said that it's as good as any margarita she's had in a bar. I took a couple of sips and it's pretty tasty. So if anyone's looking for an already made drink I'd recommend that.

                              1. re: JohnE O
                                tommy RE: JohnE O May 1, 2009 06:16 AM

                                Margaritas at most bars aren't good at all. They contain green-colored high fructose sugar water that comes out of a gun or out of a bottle, crappy tequila, and crappy triple sec. If that's the benchmark then perhaps Stinky Gringo is quite good. I just can't get my head around why anyone would buy pre-made margaritas (or *shudder*, "margarita mix"), when a margarita contains just 3 readily-available ingredients, and the process includes nothing more than shaking or stirring them with ice.

                                1. re: JohnE O
                                  CindyJ RE: JohnE O May 1, 2009 07:11 AM

                                  Not quite. What I want to bring along is a non-frozen mix of all margarita ingredients minus the tequila. The mix will be poured over ice at the restaurant. The tequila will be added to the same glass with the mixture and the ice at the restaurant. The ice in the glass will melt a bit, thus diluting the mixture. Without the ice in the glass, the mixture would be too concentrated. If I blend the mixture with ice before leaving home, that ice would be melted by the time the drinks were poured; adding that mixture (with the now-melted ice) to a glass with (more) ice would result in a drink that was overly diluted.

                                  I'm sorry. I just don't know how else to explain myself.

                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                    tommy RE: CindyJ May 1, 2009 07:38 AM

                                    To your mind, what is this "mixture" you keep referring to?

                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                      chowser RE: CindyJ May 1, 2009 09:08 AM

                                      Is there a reason you can just use less ice when you make it at home? Or use frozen lime juice?

                                      1. re: chowser
                                        quazi RE: chowser May 9, 2009 12:38 PM

                                        why not just use no ice a put it in the fridge ahead of time?

                          2. q
                            quazi RE: CindyJ Apr 30, 2009 09:00 AM

                            there is a terrific recipe at jeffreymorganthaler.com you could mix everything but the tequila. the ratios are just right and the recipe is for a gallons worth. just add ice to the glasses as you pour for delicious cold margaritas

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: quazi
                              CindyJ RE: quazi Apr 30, 2009 12:36 PM

                              I wasn't able to find the recipe.

                            2. kchurchill5 RE: CindyJ May 1, 2009 05:25 AM

                              I make it all the time for parties at the beach. Per serving, I use 1 1/2 oz tequilla, 1/2 oz cointreau rather than triple sec I find it so much better and 1 oz lime fresh squeezed, I do like a little lime zest but usually just a peel of a lime. I like a silver tequilla as well. I hate lemon in my tequilla. Salt around the rim is great. Take some good bar salt in a baggie, mix everything but the tequilla in a jar, add the tequilla when you get there and shake well. Pour over ice in a salted glass. Also there is a great salt already in a container you can buy at the liquor store, just wet the edge and dip, the salt flavored with lemon or lime is already in the salt and just shake remove the lid and dip the glass in.

                              1. Alcachofa RE: CindyJ May 1, 2009 12:15 PM

                                Why don't you just make your margarita exactly the way you usually make, but just strain out the ice chunks before putting the drink into a thermos?

                                1. p
                                  phantomdoc RE: CindyJ May 7, 2009 09:28 PM

                                  I think I saw this on chowtip video. Make your margarita as you want to drink it and pour the mixture into the frozen basket of your ice cream maker. It will keep the drinks cold for a long while and not dilute due to melting.

                                  1. w
                                    white light RE: CindyJ May 8, 2009 04:42 PM

                                    As far as your ice texture is concerned, I would bring a cocktail shaker and just shake them up as needed. I make them home that way all the time either strained over some fresh ice or served up but with some of those pieces of ice still floating in them.

                                    1. c
                                      CrazyOne RE: CindyJ May 14, 2009 06:23 PM

                                      I'm not sure what the big deal is here. In being able to take it to the restaurant, I'd say the key is you want your mixture (and maybe the tequila as well) to have been cold. Otherwise you'll never get it cold enough without melting too much ice.

                                      I don't use a blender; I shake with ice in a cocktail shaker. Not too coincidentally (as it caused me to come looking at the Spirits forum again) I made a pair of margaritas tonight. I was thinking that maybe I want the tequila to be cold first instead even at home. Dunno, was going to see if anyone else did that.

                                      Anyway, point being whatever your normal home recipe is should work fine, apart from the ice bit. You don't really need the blender part, though you could use it. And in making ahead of time, you don't need the ice part. The ice is only to make it cold. Instead, you want this done enough ahead of time that the refrigerator will make it cold.

                                      Now, in leaving out the tequila, you'll be adding the element of getting the proportions right. So you might want a measuring instrument or two of some kind. If you're only concerned about saving leftover tequila, then I don't see why you can't have the triple sec in with the juice already. If there are other concerns, such as laws about transport of open alcohol, etc, then you might want to leave all the alcohol out, but it'll make the mixing harder. If you have leftover mix with the triple sec in the flavor may evolve a bit I suppose but I can't see that it would hurt much. Even if you put the tequila in ahead of time I'm not sure it would be THAT horrible having some the next day or whatever. (Anyone ever try this? I'm not really sure.)

                                      So if you like your recipe, seems like the only key is skip the ice and use the fridge to cool it instead. Get your ice at the restaurant (or bring it, if you need to) and use it only for serving.

                                      1. CindyJ RE: CindyJ May 15, 2009 06:23 AM

                                        Thanks for everyone's help. I've created a kind of "hybrid" solution that includes mixing the fresh lime juice with Cointreau and getting it well chilled before I leave home. I keep the tequila in the fridge, too. At the restaurant I pour the lime/Cointreau mix into a glass of ice, add the tequila, top with a slice of lime and stir. It works!

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