I love Champagne with a steely tang that brings all my taste buds alive, that makes anyone’s mood a good one — and that makes me hungry for a few salty nuts or practically any rich mouthful. Same goes, at least for me, when it comes to margaritas: tangy is enlivening, sweet really isn’t.
And, if you put the two together — a bracing Champagne and a limey margarita — you’ve got what I’d consider the best of both sides of the Atlantic.
- Zest of 1 lime, finely grated, plus ½ for moistening the glass rims
- 1 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 cup Cointreau
- 1 cup 100% agave silver tequila, preferably Cazadores, Herradura, or Tres Generaciones
- Superfine sugar, if needed, for added sweetness
- Salt, for rimming the glasses
- 1 bottle chilled brut Champagne or other sparkling white wine
In a pitcher, combine the lime zest, lime juice, Cointreau, and tequila. Taste the base; if you like the bracing flavor (it will be quite tart), leave the mixture as is; if it’s too tart for you, stir in a little superfine sugar. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
To serve, strain the mixture to remove the zest. Moisten the rims of eight 6-ounce champagne glasses with the cut side of the lime half. Spread coarse salt on a small plate, and then dip the glasses into the salt to crust the rims. Fill each glass half way with the margarita base (it’ll take a generous 1/3 cup). Slowly fill the rest of the way with Champagne or sparkling wine, then hand to one of your lucky guests.