Is there anyone else that gets super annoyed when ordering a margarita at an upscale dining restaurant and then served a super-sized syrupy drink made from lime juice concentrate? I'm less offended, and much less picky, when it involves patio sitting and nacho eating. However, a good margarita should have some bite from the tequila and only use freshly squeezed lime.
So that covers at least two of the key ingredients: tequila and fresh lime juice. Many recipes feature triple sec or Cointreau (a fancier French triple sec), ice, and salt. I'm a bigger fan of Cointreau, as it lends a dry, just sweet enough finish, but I think any triple sec will do. Salt or no salt? I prefer no salt, it is not bringing out any flavor essences, or adding depth. The addition of salt to the rim of a glass is often zealously overdone. On one too many occasions, I've scraped the salt off the rim of the glass to find it measuring out to about a teaspoon. Salt is good for a lot of things, but in my opinion, keep the salt out of these top shelf margs.
I recently picked up a bottle of Don Julio Anejo, which is a quite good sipping tequila. Armed with my Williams and Sonoma Bar Guide book, a new Boston mixer, and the proper ingredients I have been attempting various versions of a classic margarita (more to come). My suggested pairing is for serving these margaritas whilst waiting around for the Tex-Mex chili gravy enchiladas (you're welcome, Sara Wobs).
Adapted from Williams and Sonoma The Bar Guide
Yield: 1 drink, approx 3.5-4 oz
2 fl oz tequila such as Don Julio Anejo
2-3 tbsp triple sec, such as Cointreau
freshly squeezed lime juice from about 1/2 a lime (depends on size)
mint or basil for garnish along with a wedge of lime.
1. In a Boston mixer, or other cocktail mixer, mix all ingredients together except garnishes. When I did not have a mixer, I just used a Mason jar that I could shake the crap out of.
2. Shake back and forth until well mixed. Pour into a chilled glass, add a few ice cubes, and garnish with some lime slices, and mint or basil if you wish.
Side note: do you ever buy mint or basil from the market or grocery store to add to a few dishes, and then it gets piled under several other things, and it comes up later black and moldy? I often add them to drinks as a garnish.