I know tequila fans like to have their say about what tequila is best for margaritas. But as I’ve learned with just about everything, the buck stops here. Ok, just kidding. (Actually, I’m happy to let it stop somewhere else.) But I was having drinks made by a well-known bartender a while back and a few people pointed out online that I wasn’t drinking a margarita, which was a surprise to me because that’s what the bartender told me it was. And one thing I’ve learned is never to argue with someone serving you drinks. Or food, for that matter. So I decided to let the buck stop with him – and if anyone wants to argue with a Parisian barman (or anyone in Paris, for that matter), you have bigger couilles than I.
(And if you fit that bill, please be in touch because I have a couple of other things that I could use some help with around here.)
I recently went to a tequila tasting of a top-quality tequilas made by a Frenchman who told me of his uphill battle in France was convincing people that tequila could be a liquor worthy of serious consideration. Helping to overcome that image, I went to a tequila tasting at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Paris where there were many varieties of tequilas to taste and compare. Unfortunately the downside of a tequila tasting is that you don’t remember what you had, especially when the tasting is followed by an open bar. (Which might lead some to conclude that some of us aren’t doing much to help the image of tequila.) But all the drinks were excellent – whatever you call them – and I’m more and more inclined to drink a little more tequila these days, namely in margaritas.
Some say to use a Cointreau and sugar syrup, some say no orange liqueur, maybe a dab of agave nectar. But I couldn’t resist using an amazing Triple Sec I got in Lebanon when I visited the Domaine des Tourelles winery and saw big vats of marinating oranges and picked up a bottle, which provided the slight sweetness which offset the tangy lime juice. And if you’re still not convinced, who could refuse anything from him? I rest my case.
Speaking of relationships I’d like to have, people have all sorts of relationships to margaritas – some like them up, others frozen or on the rocks. Salt or no salt? (I recently read that salt was initially used to “sanitize” the rim of the glass.) And, of course, what type of tequila to use. My only suggestion is that you whip up a batch of guacamole, open up a bag of chips, and start squeezing some limes. And call yourself happy.
You’ll find lots of opinions about what tequila to use and if you can, you’ll be happily rewarded if you use a tequila that is 100% agave – I like blanco (white.) Mexican or golden limes have more flavor, and yield more juice, than rock-hard green limes. Not everyone thinks that margaritas need Triple Sec, or even orange liqueur, so feel free to leave it out.
I chill glasses in advance, which helps the salt stick to the rim. You can also just swipe the rim with a cut lime then dip it in coarse salt.
- 3 ounces tequila
- 1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
- optional: 1 ounce Triple Sec
Kosher or coarse salt
1. Add the tequila, lime juice, and triple sec (if using) into a cocktail shaker with some ice. You can also mix them by hand in a large measuring cup or pitcher.
2. Put some salt on a plate and rub the rim in the salt so it clings.
3. Shake or stir the margarita ingredients vigorously so they get well-chilled, then divide the mixture into the salt-rimmed glasses.
Serve over ice, if desired, or up.
Related Recipes and Links
All About Tequila (The Tequila Society)
Tequila: A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails, and Bites (Joanne Weir/Amazon)