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Over the last couple weeks, the universe was doing its best to connect me and the margarita. First, my knowledge of the lyrics to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville scored by team a few points at Tipple Trivia (did you know there are six items mentioned in the song that are either edible or drinkable?). Then, a Margaritas restaurant opened down the street from my house. And as the weather warmed and I started thinking about refreshing summer cocktails, I wondered does anything say summer quite like a margarita?
Sure, I have enjoyed many of the sour mix variety, but a real one made with tequila, orange liqueur and fresh lime juice is oh, so much better! The agave of tequila adds a warm rich booziness, complimented by the sweet orange and tart lime. In making my first real margarita, I did a little taste test with my orange liqueur. I compared Hiram Walker Triple Sec and Cointreau*—first a blind tasting of the spirit on its own and then in a margarita. My taste buds preferred the triple sec, which was slightly sweeter and offered the orangey-ness that I was looking for both on its own and in the drink itself. I admit I was a bit surprised that the less expensive triple sec would have been preferable to the Cointreau, but it’s true.
The origin of the margarita has its roots in a drink served in Tijuana in the 1930s—a Tequila Daisy, a combination of tequila, lemon and a sweetener. Margarita means daisy in Spanish. As most drinks do, this one also has its own glamorous creation myth. As the story goes it was the creation of a Texas socialite Margarita Sames for her 1948 Christmas party. It quickly made its way out of Sames’s Hollywood social circle into wider drinking circles to become one of the most popular drinks in America.
Margarita (This is Dale DeGroff’s recipe with my substitution of triple sec)
1 ½ oz tequila (only 100% agave, please)
1 oz triple sec
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz agave syrup (optional; he suggests it as a way to add some sweetness which some may need if they are used to the sour mix variety served in most places)
Shake. Serve straight up or on the rocks in a salted-rim glass.
Happy Summer! Happy Margaritas! Cheers!
* I need to fess up here and acknowledge that I was provided with Hiram Walker Triple Sec and Cointreau free of charge.