Cookin' With Leo
A Drink For All Seasons
I guess I just like the way Texans, Mexicans and TexMexs, whoever, assemble their Margaritas. And this bein' the festivity season I guess a symposium on Margarita mixology ought to be in order. If you remember, a while back I educated ya'll, my faithful readers, on such things as how Tequila was made and which kinds were for what. Well, I guess it's time to further your perception of such advanced expertise and put it to good use for the upcoming holidays, whenever. All my redneck buddies sorta' take me as some sort of connoisseur, whatever kind of a sewer, when it comes to food and drinks. Well, it so happens I ain't one a' them, 'sewer' types but I have done my scrutinizin' into such finer things of life and have come up with the various ways to mix a Margarita to make happy the masses. One thing I did not find out is who named the drink or who first invented it. Seems to date back to the 20's or 30's when we was watchin' them fancy movie stars show us the good life on the silver screen or maybe the 'speaks' found it to be cheaper to run south of the border to get their booze than to take a chance on 'Big' Al and his bunch supplyin' 'em with cut Canadian whiskey. Anyway, whether it was some movie star named Margaret who drank the first one at some fancy Big Apple Establishment in a movie about the good life, or some good lookin' hacienda hustler named Margarita who first peddled the drink to her bar buddies I have not been able to affirm. In any case good and bad Margaritas have been with us for some time. So enjoy any or all of them.
The basics of a margarita are:
Triple Sec (very sweet flavored Liqueur)
Citrus Juice (usually lime)
Salt or sugar, optional.
So let's mix one like you might find in a lot of TexMex restaurants.
My redneck buddies will probably slop this up with a bunch of chili dogs and claim they never knew they had a drink. Probably so, because there isn't too much good booze in 'em anyway. As a once upon a time bartender I used to mix up Margaritas in a big pitchure. Used maybe a cup and a half of the cheapest Tequila (Silver), about ¾ a cup of Triple Sec. And about ½ cup of RealLime Juice which comes in a big bar sized bottle.. Now you dumped the whole mess into the blender with enough ice cubes to fill the big picture and when you served one in a great big cocktail mug, more ice was added to make a frozen drink . You could ask if they liked the rim of the glass coated with salt or sugar and since this was a relatively sweet concoction with most of the booze cut with the ice, no one could get too rambunctious with even several drinks. Might cause their sugar level to raise to the excitement stage but for most healthy patrons that would pass. That was a great money maker because very little cheap booze was used and the whole drink probably wouldn't cost more than about a quarter, while the bar charged at least a buck and a half or even two bucks. Well, my showmanship was worth something too, you know.
Well, would you like something better than ice and sugar? Ok, let's make a real good Margarita.
In the more fancy bars and clubs where the best was expected a Margarita was made with Tequila labeled Reposado or even Anejo (the very best) if the customer stated a preference. We also asked the customer if he/she preferred the drink straight up or on the rocks. Some bartenders did, but I did not, blend the drink with the ice cubes in a blender - a good Margarita is not to be done that way. That is what I might call bruising the drink. After all we are using top notch ingredients here so let's do it with distinction. Whether or whether not on the rocks, the drink is mixed in a bar hand mixer, not a blender mixer.
Prepare a 4 or 6 ounce cocktail glass by rubbing a wedge of lime around the top, and drop that into the glass. I never did, but nowadays it might be prudent to ask if the rim of the glass was to be coated with salt, I usually made the drink the way it was supposed to be made. Into the bar mixer pour 1 ½ oz of Tequila, ¾ oz of Triple Sec, and the juice from one fresh lime. If the drink is to be on the rocks use the 6 oz glass, or else if not, a 4 oz glass will do. Stir with a bar spoon to cool the drink. However, put in at least 4 ice cubes as the drink does need to be cooled even if it is served straight up. Use the bar strainer to pour off the mix into the cocktail glass. If the drink is to be served with ice do not pour in the ice used in the mixer rather use about 3 fresh ice cubes and pour the drink through the strainer into the glass. The drink should be somewhat syrupy due to the heavy sweetness of the Triple Sec.
And, dear readers, you should be proud to serve this drink. Your guests will love it because most folks really have not had a very good Margarita served to them, mostly my northern redneck buddies because they just don't know no better. However I hope they took my suggestions.
In between the worst and the best are several concoctions purported to be Margaritas, some are good and some are trash.
Basically you need Tequila good or bad. (Some folks even try to use Mescal but then how cheap can you get?)
Lime or citrus juice.
Triple Sec, or a richer Cointreau can be used.
However, lime juice, lemon juice, or even orange juice can be used, and all that may please some palates, but they sure ain't no Margaritas!
Enjoy your holiday parties