The white stuff has melted to patches in our yard and just one strip of snow remains in a roof crevice. That means it’s finally springtime here in the Adirondacks, and it’s time for refreshing cocktails.
Long before I met him, Wayne was a bartender, another of those skill sets that makes him useful around the house. When I hear the clink of ice inside the shaker, some tasty drink is always forthcoming.
His most recent triumph of libation is a margarita from scratch. Margaritas are really easy…to mess up. You know what I mean: cheap tequila plus sour mix from a bottle (high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, color, preservatives and possibly some lime juice from concentrate). Well, they look festive anyway.
Wayne’s margaritas, which use fresh sour mix, are the real deal, like the fancy margarita at your favorite Mexican restaurant, only affordable. Serve them to your guests and they’ll keep visiting.
Enough build up. I’ll let Wayne tell you himself…
First the tequila: DO NOT skimp on the quality of the tequila. Ask your local spirit shop for a reasonably priced 100% blue agave tequila (Blue agave is the traditional cactus for making tequila. My favorite these days is “Lunazul.”)
When making Margaritas you have essentially two varieties of tequila to choose from: blanco or reposado.
- Blanco (white) is young and fresh and bottled right away. Generally has sharp, dusty notes.
- Reposado (rested) is aged in barrels for at least two months before bottling. Generally has a richer, sometimes smoky taste.
Both make great Margaritas. I usually prefer reposado for Margaritas, and blanco for sipping.
The next age grade of tequila is añejo – typically much more expensive and is best for sipping or very special and distinctive mixed drinks. Whatever you do, avoid any kind of cheap “tequila” which is not 100% blue agave (like the popular brand names you see on beachwear and in college town bars).
Wayne’s Marvelous Margaritas
Yields 4 generous margaritas
Fresh Sour Mix:
- 4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 oz honey or agave nectar
- 12 oz water
- Squeeze the lime juice into a glass measuring cup until you get 4 oz.
- Add the honey or agave nectar until the liquid level rises to the 6 oz mark.
- Stir with a small whisk until the honey has dissolved.
- Combine this with 12 oz of water and stir.
How to salt a glass rim:
It is best to use kosher salt, or sea salt that is course ground.
- Sprinkle a layer of salt on to a plate.
- Use a lime wedge to wet the rim of a glass, invert the glass onto the plate and rub it around a bit. Done.
Salt your glass rim BEFORE pouring in the margarita
Margaritas are for drinking with your best friends. So, they are always made at least two at a time.
- Start with your trusty stainless steel cocktail shaker, add about 5-6 standard size ice cubes so that the bottom third of the shaker is iced.
- Pour two shots of good tequila (a shot is 2 oz) over the ice. [See notes about tequilas above.]
- Pour one shot of Contreau (or other premium orange liqueur) over that.
- Pour four shots of Fresh Sour Mix over that.
- Put the top on your cocktail shaker (hold with two hands to keep the top on) and shake for about 15 seconds.
Use the strainer top of your cocktail shaker to pour Marvelous Margaritas into two glasses, alternating with a splash in to this one, a splash in to that one, between the two glasses – on ice, or up. Garnish with lime wedge.