On Wednesday, February 22nd, we will honor one of our favorite poolside drinks – the margarita. With its three simple ingredients, triple sec, tequila, and lemon or lime juice, the margarita has been a popular fruity cocktail since the early 1900’s. And while there are nearly a dozen origin stories for the margarita, with restaurants all across Mexico claiming to have made the first one, all we know for sure is that it’s as delicious as it is popular. In honor of National Margarita Day, we’re telling you the top 5 ways to take your bartending skills to the next level.
Tip 1: Use Tequila That’s 100% Agave
Tequila sometimes gets a bad rap. Sure your morning headache could have something to do with the one too many margaritas you had last night, but instead, we’re going to blame it on the sugary ingredients that tequila is often made from. Your typical college tequila is usually made with sugar cane or caramel, which leaves you dehydrated. The next time you’re at the liquor store (February 21st?) look for a tequila that says “100% de agave” on the front. This means that it’s been made from the fermentation of the agave plant and that no excess sugars have been added. The result will be a tequila that is better tasting and better for you.
Tip 2: Use Real, Fresh Fruit
Please don’t run to the mini-mart down the block from your house and grab margarita mix off the shelf (or at least just don’t tell us if you do). The secret to a refreshing margarita is to make it with your own real fruit. Whether you choose just one or a combination of flavors, fresh fruit will ease the bitter taste of Tequila better than pre-made juices.
Tip 3: Add Garnishes
Garnishes are not only a great way to add an extra punch of flavor if you were a little too heavy handed with the tequila, but they also just make your margarita just look more festive! Pineapple wedges and lime slices on the rim are always a welcomed addition. You can also get creative and throw a few refrigerated mango and pear chunks into your drink for some added flavor.
Tip 4: Salt, Salt, Salt!
Salt straight from the shaker will certainly do the job and give you that nice contrasting tart taste. But if you’re really looking to take it up a notch, create your own salt cocktail. While everyone’s taste and texture preference differs, we recommend mixing:
- 1 tbs granulated sugar
- 1/2 tbs crushed pink peppercorns
- Half cup medium coarse sea salt
Tip 5: Remember to Shake It
If we learned anything from Goldfinger it’s that James Bond likes his drinks, “Shaken, not stirred.” Sure Bond was talking about vodka martinis, but the same rules apply here. You always want to shake a drink that contains citrus or fruit juice. Shaking your drink will not only chill it, but it will blend the ingredients completely.