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Feb 6, 2012 12:35 PM

Margaritas and Sugar [split from Boston]

The addition of simple syrup or agave nectar in Margaritas is often done because people expect tequila to be sweeter. And people do not like tartness (which was more common back in the late 19th/early 20th centuries).

I know that Dale Degroff promotes the addition of simple/agave nectar for this reason (in addition to less citrus than orange liqueur) and taught it that way in BarSmarts. I also know that some places like Eastern Standard serve two different Margaritas depending on who is asking and when -- one is sweet and served on the rocks in a pint glass and the other is served more balanced in a cocktail glass in classic style.

The sugar does overcome the tartness and the flavor of tequila which many people do not care for. Unfortunately, that sells the people who love the taste of the spirit and don't want diabetes a bit short.

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  1. Of course, you do know that consuming sugar does not cause diabetes?

    I generally drink tequila by itself, but I prefer the following ratio for my margarita (3 parts tequila, 2 parts fresh lime juice, 1 part cointreau, 1 part agave syrup).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gabatta

      It's a reference to a Wilfred Brimley image macro that says "Damn, reading your drink recipe alone gave me Diabeetus." But it's a commentary on the over sugarification of cocktails to make them more palatable to a wider audience. Sugar will hide many flaws and flavors including bitterness, spiritous heat, tartness, and cheap booze -- some of which might be okay to hide (cheap booze) but others (like the flavor of funky flavor of tequila) are not necessarily good to hide.

      I have no problems with the recipe you have proposed for sweetness to acid (lime juice) balance. The Degroff recipe I mention above is 3/4 part lime juice, 1 part Cointreau, 1/4 part agave syrup (or to match your ratio 2 parts lime, 2 2/3 part Cointreau, 2/3 part agave).

      1. re: Gabatta

        Of course Cointreau has a TON of sugar. I like mine on the drier/tarter side:

        3 parts tequila
        2 parts fresh lime juice
        1 part fresh orange juice
        1 tsp homemade concentrated unsweetened orange zest infusion
        1 tsp simple syrup

      2. I'm a fan of using a dab of honey to stick the salt to the rim (usually only half) when I make a standard/tart margarita at home. I find that it keeps the salt from coming off as easily and flavoring the drink as strongly, and also adds a bit of sweetness to the sip.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tinnywatty

          Yes! Honey or agave nectar on the rim with sea salt, is a pleasant sweet prelude to a nice blast of of citrus and tequila with every sip. I salt the whole circumference and rotate the glass 30 degrees with each sip.

        2. This is one drink where I do not enjoy adding simple sugar, agave nectar, or orange juice and very much enjoy the Cointreau and fresh lime juice instead.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hawkeyeui93

            Indeed. I am a big fan of 2:1:1 or 4:1:1 proportions, but only tequila and equal parts of lime and Cointreau. I have no problems with Margarita variations to mix things up, but I make my Margaritas with the earliest recipes and balance in mind.

          2. I like to add frozen orange juice to the tequila/lime/triple sec combination. It sweetens and adds strong orange flavor and because it is concentrated does not dilute the booziness as much as straight orange juice.