The Perfect Margarita

I have few, if any, claims to fame but I must brag that I make a mean margarita. After years of perfecting my craft, I am ready to offer my margarita secrets to the world. I believe a better margarita makes for a better world.

The Margarita—Nectar to the Gods……

The first margarita rule is to never, I repeat, never go anywhere near a bottle of Rose's Lime Juice. Rose's Lime Juice, even one tiny drop, will ruin a margarita.

The second margarita rule is to never, ever consider using sweet and sour mix. I can barely write those words without a shudder. No Sweet and Sour!!!

A true margarita is very simple. It is one third tequila, one third Cointreau Liqueur and one third lime juice. Sometimes it is 2 oz. tequila, 1 oz. Cointreau Liqueur and 1 oz. lime juice. Either version is for the purist. When I was younger I was very strict about this but now I believe that in order to not pass out after one drink, the formula needs to be tweaked.

There are several ways to tweak the basic formula, but first, let's discuss the tequila. You do not need to have an expensive tequila in your margarita. But with that said, you do not want a rot gut one either. One tequila I use often is Sauza Conmemorativo Anjejo. It is reasonable in cost and is a good quality. Anejo means aged and I like the smoky flavor it adds.

Another key point is the Cointreau Liqueur. Triple Sec is often substituted because it is cheaper. But Triple Sec has a harsh taste and I prefer to not use it. I have found a cheaper alternative to Cointreau and it is Citronage. Both Cointreau and Citronage are orange liqueurs. Citronage is cheaper and I think as good.

Now for the third ingredient, which is the lime juice. This is where we are going to tweak. I have several tweaks. I will start with the most difficult and end with the easiest.

The best, and most time consuming to do, is to add fresh squeezed orange juice with your fresh squeezed lime juice. I find adding fresh orange juice knocks down the acidity of the lime juice. I also like to add a little Agave Nectar or cane sugar if you want the margarita sweeter. I don't make my margaritas with the method of one third tequila, one third Citronage and one third lime juice. I put in more juice than I do the tequila. Here is an example. I am going to use cups rather than ounces. No sense not making extras. Mix one and a half cups tequila, one cup Citronage and three and a half cups fresh squeezed orange juice, a few squeezed limes and a squirt of Agave Nectar.

An easier version is to use a prepared bottle mix, with some fresh squeezed oranges to the mix. My favorite prepared bottle mix is "Stirrings Simple Margarita" ( www.stirrings.com). It comes in a jar and can be found at World Market and Rice Grocery. I bet Specs has it too since they have everything associated with alcohol. In this version, you still add fresh squeezed orange juice to cut the tartness a little. Orange juice you squeeze yourself (no I am not Martha Stewart) is best, but you can often find fresh squeezed orange juice at Central Market and Rice Grocery. Please do not use frozen orange juice. That ruins the entire concept. You don't need exact measurements, just taste as you go. If you want it stronger add more "Stirrings Simple Margarita" and orange juice.

If you are pressed for time, you can fall back on a very easy third tweak. Take a can of frozen limeade from your local grocery. Dump the contents in a pitcher. Next, fill the can up with tequila and add it to the pitcher. Throw in a little extra tequila, maybe half a can. Continue with a can of Citronage. Then add a can of water to the mix. Maybe two cans of water if you want to soften the impact. Squeeze a couple of limes in and you have the fastest –not the best– but passable margarita.

If you have any margarita left- overs, just put them in a container and pop into the freezer. Who knows when you will need a handy margarita.

The Margarita—Nectar to the Gods……

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