Cinco de Derby Part 1 (See Here for Part 2)
Cinco de Mayo. The holiday in which tequila is consumed in the United States in honor of a Mexican holiday that is not as widely celebrated in Mexico. Regardless of your thoughts, this weekend is as good as any to mix a batch of margaritas, invite some friends over, and laugh on the porch until the wee hours of the morning.Oh, and by margarita, I mean a made from scratch beverage served on the rocks.
One of the challenges about blogging on topics like cocktails is the wealth of existing resources already online. I’ve been reading cocktail blogs and forums for closing in on a decade now and saw the explosion of quality work from 2005 on. I say this now because the best margarita recipe I have found, and used, is not mine. Jeffrey Morganthaler had this post in 2006 about the easy way to bring a gallon of margaritas to a party. Go ready the link, give his page the appropriate page views.Also, I won’t repost his recipe here without his permission so you have to go read his post to get the recipe.
Back? I have used that recipe for the past 6 years repeatedly. It works amazingly well. I don’t expect you to slog through the comments there, but additional nuggets of wisdom may be gleaned in so doing. The three basic components of the margarita are tequila, citrus, and orange liqueur. Mixes are bad. They will not taste pleasurable when slowly sipping the drink at home.
Use pretty good tequila. Skip the Patron. It lacks enough “tequila” flavor to really knock this out of the ball park. My favorites on the affordable end of the spectrum are Zappopan and El Jimador.
I like using the mix of lemon and lime instead of just lime because 1) It acts as quality control because fresh citrus is not standardized; 2) different tequilas will play off of the different citrus in different ways; and 3) it further lessens the need for salt on the rim.
I really think the most important splurge here is the Cointreau. It is unlike triple sec and Grand Marnier lending an orange flavor without being overly sweet. I think a little bite or tartness makes the drink especially refreshing. Using Grand Marnier can mask the flavor of the tequila and make the drink too sweet but if you insist on using it, dial back your simple syrup.
Good tequila and fresh juice means that you won’t need to mask the metallic tang of a premade mix with the salt rim. The balance of the drink here means that you won’t feel overwhelmed by a cheap tequila from the rail in your favorite bar. Have a relaxing Margarita, on the rocks, this weekend.