November 20, 2015

Tequila: You're Gonna Need It

Forgive me, I think the (somewhat tired) trope of drinking to handle one's family on the holidays is still funny. Maybe because I don't actually need that particular coping mechanism with family (and I'm not seeing them until Christmas anyway). But regardless, whether you love or hate your family, having a quick go-to cocktail will come in handy next week.  

Discovering that I can make a really good margarita at home came about earlier this week, when, wanting a cocktail, I "meh"ed my way through all the possible mixers on hand: ginger beer, Coke, tonic water... I wanted something fancy that didn't require oddball ingredients that I likely didn't have. Knowing I had a full bag of limes in the fridge, I thought I could bluff my way into a semi-decent margarita. 

So I went into the wayback machine and reviewed this post from the tequila mixology workshop at David's in Kennebunkport this spring. The secret I discovered there? A recipe for margarita mix. Ah-ha! It's the difference maker between a serviceable, but lacking, homemade margarita and one of restaurant quality. 

Making the mix is easy enough; it's near equal parts of fresh squeezed lime juice and simple syrup, and a splash of OJ. The recipe I had made a few cups of the stuff, so I thought reeeeeal hard (my last thinking of the day before cocktail hour!) and scaled it back to a recipe that makes 2 cocktails' worth. 

The simple syrup might be the only hiccup in your home bar game: either you have the stuff on hand or you have to spend ten minutes making some and waiting for it to cool. I scoured and found this Thai Tiki 1821 Bitters simple syrup, but also have a great stash of the Royal Rose flavored simple syrups that would work well too.  

Assuming you find one that goes with the general flavors of a margarita (pineapple, lemongrass, and bird's eye chiles? Sure, why not!), you are good to go. 

Bonus: today is the release of Liquid Riot's agave spirit, which is also available in the bottle at area liquor stores. So pick some up to put a local twist on this tropical drink. 

Small batch margarita mix

2 oz. simple syrup
2.5 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz. orange juice

Makes enough for two cocktails


1.5 oz. tequila anejo
1/2 oz. Cointreau, Grand Marnier or triple sec
2 oz. margarita mix 

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker over ice. Shake and strain into rocks glass filled with ice and rimmed with salt (optional). Garnish with lime wedge. 

Enjoy the holiday!