Or Where’s My Lost Shaker of Salt?*
Running in the park with the dog this morning, I was cheered by the sight of countless tiny wild daisies raising their little heads up through the deep green grass. Having just returned from a week in Spain, the language was still riffling through my head. Daisy is Margarita in Spanish. The rare confluence of English sunshine, cheerful wildflowers, and guests coming for dinner had me hankering after making juicy Margaritas for cocktail hour.
Margaritas are so easy to make from scratch, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. They have a mere 4 ingredients, and much can be prepared in advance. You can entertain to a high standard and still enjoy your own party.
You need limes, of course, so start squeezing. I used to use a fork, twisting it violently into the fleshy pulp. I have also fed lime halves into my beefy electric juicer which produced an intensely floral and perfumed juice due to the extra oil extracted from the skin. But I eventually succumbed to the easy elegance of a hinged hand squeezer. To your fresh lime juice, add a pinch of sugar (roughly 5ml sugar per 30ml lime juice) and stir well. Once you’ve squeezed and sweetened your lime juice, prepare your glasses…
As for which Tequila to use, it’s a balance between personal taste and cost. Cheap tequila will wreak its revenge no matter how little you sip. A top-notch tequila might make a tasty cocktail, but you’re far better off drinking the good stuff neat. Choose a reliable tequila for your Margarita making such as the Jose Cuervo Reposado I used above. Granted it’s only 51% agave and the golden colour is more due to its caramel colouring than its required 2 months ageing in wood, but it makes an imminently satisfying and well rounded Margarita.
Measure the following wet ingredients over ice in your shaker or jug:
For each Margarita,
60ml (2 oz) tequila
30ml (1 0z) prepared lime juice
15ml (0.5 oz) Cointreau
Shake or stir with intermittent passion for about a minute. Shaking with small to medium sized ice cubes will add at least 15ml (0.5oz) to each drink volume. Just in case you were wondering, your finished 120ml cocktail will have alcohol by volume percentage of about 25 %. Far less alcohol than a large (250ml) glass of wine. And think of all that Vitamin C you’re imbibing!
Impress your guests by pouring through a strainer into your perfectly rimmed glasses. Garnish with a wafer-thin slice of lime.
You could just use a ready made Margarita Mix. Jose Cuervo is the best I’ve ever tried and will do in a pinch, if you are short of time, entertaining a large crowd, are a teenager, or are happy to nurse a hangover. But for all the artificial ingredients, added sugar, and extra cost, I think you’re better off squeezing your own fresh limes.
INGREDIENTS: Water, corn syrup, sugar, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (to preserve flavor), cellulose gum, polysorbate 60, gum arabic, glycerol abietate and FD&C yellow no. 5. Contains 0% Juice.
* If you like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville:
photo credits: Michélle Lawson