My friends all know that I love a good margarita. Well, even a bad margarita if it’s been a bad day. Or if I’m just thirsty. Or if someone hands me one. Well, yea, I’ll drink just about any margarita. But I think over time I’m starting to appreciate what a “good” margarita brings to the table. I am no expert, nor shall I pretend to be one, but a fresh margarita where I can really taste the citrus AND the tequila is what I crave. I love the sourness and the tang. My mouth should pucker. And none of this frozen margarita business. It has to be over the rocks with a salted rim.
I am learning a bit about tequila as I go along but again, no expert. I know that what is “recommended” for use in a good fresh margarita is what is called a reposado tequila and it should be 100% blue agave. Tequila is made from the agave plant, which is a member of the lily family. The heart of the agave are fermented and the juices from this are distilled with water to produce tequila. According to Mexican law, tequila must contain over half (at least 51%) agave. If a tequila is 100% agave it will be labeled as such and is of greater quality. If not, it is what is referred to as mixto. Mixto means that the agave has been mixed with more water and sugar during the distilling process. How the tequila is aged or treated after distilled will determine which “type” is is classified as: silver/blanco/white, gold/Joven, reposado, anejo or mezcal. Silver is aged no more than 60 days (if at all), gold often has caramel color and flavor added to it but it essentially much like the silver, reposado is aged for at least 2 months in wooden barrels of some sort and has a more robust flavor, anejo is aged much longer for a stronger flavor, and mezcal may use other types of agave other than the blue type and is often the type with the “worm” in the bottom of the bottle. (Thank you to about.com for all of this helpful information!).
So I talked to the lady at the liquor store about tequilas in the middle price range and decided upon a bottle of Camarena, 100% agave, reposado tequila. I was going to buy a Sauza but she said the Camarena is a much smoother tequila. It is hard for me to pass judgment on if her statement is true or not because I haven’t sipped them side-by-side (I probobly haven’t actually SIPPED either of them, at least not that I can remember…) but I will say that the Camarena made a darn good margarita. It was quite smooth and this margarita delivered the sour, mouth-puckering flavor that I just adore.
I would very much like to do a tequila tasting sometime. Anyone game? I know Troy won’t do it with me because if he drinks much tequila at all his face/tongue gets all puffy… So this one is just for me! All the tequila for me!
But really, do try this recipe. You don’t even have to make a simple syrup for it. Just buy some tequila, triple sec, lemons and limes, throw is all together with a bit of sugar and serve over ice and you’re good to go! Make sure you salt the rim! That’s one of my favorite parts. 🙂
Also, I really need to make a point to buy some margarita glasses. None of the glasses I currently own seem appropriate for this so sorry for that in the pictures, lol.
Fresh and Simple Margaritas
(Adapted from “The Best Fresh Margaritas” on cooksillustrated.com)
- 4 teaspoons grated lime zest
- ½ cup lime juice from 2 to 3 medium limes
- 4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- ½ cup lemon juice from 2 to 3 medium lemons
- ¼ cup superfine sugar
- Pinch table salt
- 2 cups crushed ice
- 1 cup 100 percent agave tequila
- 1 cup Triple Sec
- Additional lime cut into wedges for garnish and moistening rims of glasses
- Salt for dipping the rims of the glasses
- Combine lime zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt in large liquid measuring cup; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until flavors meld, 4 to 24 hours. IF you are in a rush and don’t have time to let this sit: OMIT the zest and simply combine the lime and lemon juice in the pitcher or shaker with the liquor as directed in the next step
- Divide 1 cup crushed ice between 4 or 6 margarita or double old-fashioned glasses.
- Strain juice mixture into 1-quart pitcher or cocktail shaker. Add tequila, Triple Sec, and remaining crushed ice; stir or shake until thoroughly combined and chilled, 20 to 60 seconds.
- Strain into ice-filled glasses; serve immediately.