Although margaritas are often relegated to breezy spring happy hours and sipping near the beach, the drink’s official day of recognition is on February 22. The chilly weather and freshly fallen snow might have you daydreaming about hot cocoa and Irish coffee, but sometimes the only way to beat the cold is to transport your mind to summer and no drink does that better than a margarita.
If you don’t want to venture out to your favorite Mexican restaurant to get a marg, you can easily make one just as high quality from the comfort of your home. All you need for the foundation of any good margarita is four ingredients: tequila, triple sec, lime juice and ice.
Just add the ingredients to a cocktail tin, give it a good shake back and forth until the metal is cold, then strain the mixture into a glass with fresh ice. This will give you a classic, fresh lime margarita suitable for any tequila lover. But if you want to sprinkle a little extra magic into your marg try some of these additions that will make the cocktail really shine.
If you’re not a huge fan of tequila, an easy way to mask the somewhat pungent alcohol is to sweeten it up with pureed fruit, like mango, pineapple or strawberry. The sugary sweetness from the fruit complements the tart citrus flavors of the lime and orange liqueur. Add your chosen fruit into a blender with simple syrup and lime juice. Blend until smooth, then taste the puree and adjust the simple syrup and lime juice accordingly. Once the fruit is pureed just scoop about two tablespoons into a cocktail shaker with the rest of the ingredients, shake until well combined and strain over a glass with fresh ice.
If you like sweet drinks but you don’t want to use fruit (which can sometimes mask the sought after flavor of a margarita), try using agave instead. Agave nectar comes from the agave plant and is sometimes used as a substitute for honey or maple syrup. Because tequila is distilled from the blue agave plant, it’s sort of a no brainer that agave nectar would work well as a natural sweetener in a margarita. Just add one tablespoon of agave to a cocktail shaker with tequila, triple sec and lime juice, shake, strain and enjoy!
Who doesn’t need a little spice in their life from time to time? If you’re not down with cocktails of the fruity variety, you can still get creative with your margarita. For all of you hot sauce loving, hot pepper eating, want to burn a little bit of your taste buds off people — you can bring that same energy to your marg with one simple ingredient: jalapenos. Just slice, deseed and muddle a few slices of the pepper into a cocktail shaker. Fill the tin with the rest of your ingredients, shake, and strain over a glass with fresh ice. The heat from the pepper will pair perfectly with some tacos or chips and guacamole.
Orange liqueur (orange flavored and sweetened alcohol) is a staple ingredient in any margarita. But each version of it has a different level of sweetness that can change the flavor profile of your margarita. Triple sec is possibly the most well-known type of orange liqueur, so much so that it’s become a generic way of referring to the alcohol. Triple sec is made with sweet and bitter oranges, which gives it a very poignant orange, citrusy flavor that can make your margarita light and fragrant. But if you want something a bit heavier with hints of oakiness, try using Grand Marnier, which is made with cognac and bitter oranges. Grand Marnier can be enjoyed in a rocks glass neat, but when added to your margarita it will make the cocktail heavier and sweeter.
Margaritas are already a refreshing cocktail, but one way to make the beverage shine even brighter is to add cucumber to the ingredients list. Not only is the water based fruit absolutely revitalizing but its cool flavor will add a nice touch to your marg without loading it with extra sugar. You can even try adding coconut water with the cucumber, like this recipe does, to guarantee you won’t get a National Margarita Day hangover. But if the idea of having a margarita on a Monday is a little too agressive for you, check out some of these low-alcohol cocktails that are equally as delicious.
Step 1: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces silver tequila, 1 ounce triple sec and 1 ounce lime juice. Shake vigorously.
Step 2: Rub a lime wedge around your cocktail glass and dip the glass in salt for a salt rim (optional). Then fill the glass with fresh ice and strain the margarita mixture into the glass.
Step 3: Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.