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Saturday, June 8, 2013

The straight-up Margarita

You don't see many margaritas served in cocktail glasses, straight up, these days, but many years ago, this was the way they were served.

The practice was interrupted in the late 1960's, when such aberrations as the strawberry margarita, the Midori melonball, and the banana daiquiri introduced the barely-legal (yikes, there's a term I shouldn't use on blogger) drinkers of the baby boom to cocktails. The noble cocktail glass seemed inhospitable to slurpified, day-glo-colored booze; restaurants around the country opted to host this in the faux-champagne glass---you know, not the good champagne glass, the flute, but the saucer-shaped one ascribed to be shaped from Marie Antoinette's sein gauche.

Most adults grew up to enjoy their margaritas served on the rocks. But there is much to recommend taking one in straight up. Here's how to do it.

You'll need:

  • a cocktail glass
  • a Boston shaker
  • ice
  • tequila
  • triple sec
  • a lime

First, squeeze a lime. You're looking for about a jigger of lime juice. Set it aside.

Now put some rocks, maybe five---we like odd numbers---into a Boston shaker.

Pour two jiggers of tequila into the shaker, over the rocks.

Pour approximately 5/8 a jigger of triple sec into the shaker. You can always use a little more if you don't fancy your tequila.

Pour approximately 1 jigger of lime juice into the shaker. If you went up with the triple sec, you should probably go up a little on the lime juice too.

Shake---it's good to shake this one, as ice shavings are favorable for a margarita---and strain through a Hawthorne strainer into the cocktail glass.

If you see any variance on this recipe, it's usually in the triple sec. Some recipes call out Cointreau specifically; we're not going to deny that Cointreau is a dependable triple sec, and you should always remain gracious when guests bring you a bottle, but the amount of people on the planet who can distinguish Cointreau from any other triple sec when served in a margarita are decidedly small. Also, some recipes call for matching the amounts of triple sec and lime juice; this is a matter of taste, which is non disputandum anyway, but if you like to err on the dry side, start with 5/8 the amount of triple sec as lime juice, and work your way higher if that's not tasty enough for you.


On what tequila to use---well, who are we to tell you? Our favorite tequila for sipping is Corralejo; however, our favorite splurge for a margarita is Don Julio. But there are so many premium tequilas that it's a good idea to try your own, both straight and in a margarita.

And if you have some more time for tequila, you may put aside a few days to ponder Ian Chadwick's ponderous tequila site, which includes a glossary of tequila-specific terminology. Or come back---it'll be in the blogroll here for posterity.