The margarita has become one of the most well known of the tequila based cocktails and has given birth to a number of different variations. In its most basic form, it consists of tequila, triple sec such as Cointreau and either lime or lemon juice. It even has a glass named after it, a distinctive two level version of the classic cocktail glass also known as the champagne coupe.
The exact origins of the margarita is something of a mystery but one claimant to its invention is a man called Carlos Danny Herrera in his restaurant between Tijuana and Rosarito, Mexico in 1938. He made it for a customer, a former Ziegfeld dancer named Marjorie King who was allergic to almost all spirits but not tequila.
Another story was that it was invented in October 1941 by Don Carlos Orozco, a bartender at Hussong’s Cantina in Esenada, Mexico. He made it as an experiment and served it to the German ambassador’s daughter, Margarita Henkel using one part tequila to one part orange liqueur and lime with salt rimming the glass. She tried it, liked it and he named it for her.
According to the IBA official list of cocktails, the correct ratio for a margarita is 7:4:3 – this is 50% tequila, 29% Cointreau and 21% lime juice. Alternatively, my cocktail bible tells me that 1 ¼ measures of tequila with ¾ measure of Cointreau and 1 ¼ measure of lime juice with 4-5 ice cubes will also do a good job.
In addition to this, a number of different versions have been created. Firstly, these include substituting the Cointreau for another orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier, Gran Gala or even a blue curacao, making a blue margarita. In the Grenadines, starfruit liqueur is used in its place. If fruit juice or puree is added to the mix, the orange liqueur is often removed entirely.
Fruits such as strawberry, peach, banana, melon, mango and raspberry have all been used in fruity margaritas, sometimes with a splash of orange juice.
Frozen margaritas are where blended ice slush is used in place of the ice cubes. The ingredients are poured over ice then mixed up in the blender to reduce the ice to slush before being served into the glass.
What’s your favourite way to drink a margarita?
- 3 cups seedless watermelon cut into small chunks
- 2 tsp lime zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (around two limes)
- 4 ounces white tequila
- 2 ounces triple sec
- ginger syrup to taste
- 1 small watermelon wedge
- 3 tsp Himalayan sea salt crushed
- 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
To line the rim of the margarita glasses, grind some coarse Himalayan salt in a coffee grinder or blender. (It will get dusty). Add the ground salt and chili pepper (if desired) to a shallow plate. Then, moisten the outside rim of each glass with a piece of fruit. Turn the glass at a 45-degree angle and roll it around in the salt or salt mixture on the plate.
Use a damp paper towel to tidy up the bottom edge so you have a nice line. Adding the salt to the outer edge only will prevent it from getting into your drink and affecting its taste.
To make the ginger simple syrup, add 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar to a medium saucepan. Peel a 3” piece of fresh ginger and chop into small pieces before adding the pan. The smaller you cut each piece, the more surface area you will expose to the boiling sugar mixture. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Place all ingredients except the simple syrup into a blender. Blend on high until pulverized. Pour into a small testing glass to taste. Adjust ingredients to balance the flavors to your liking. If needed, drizzle some simple syrup into the blender and blend until you reach the desired sweetness.
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