When it comes to making a margarita I believe in keeping it simple.
The Margarita is best with a young, white Tequila. It’s earthy with grassy, oily tones.
Don’t skimp! No amount of sugar and lime can make up for poorly made tequila. Put aside that cheap stuff you used to shoot in college and go a notch above.
While cheap tequila may leave a sour taste in your mouth, it’s a myth that good tequila should break the bank. Save the really good stuff for sipping.
Skip the Simple. Use Agave Nectar
Agave Nectar is a sweetener made from the agave plant. The same plant used to make tequila (tequila is made from blue agave to be exact). I would argue that agave nectar is better suited for the Margarita because of this.
Why used a processed sugar when you can use an all natural one?
An added bonus of using Agave Nectar is that it’s sweeter than granulated sugar so you need less of it. When cooking with Agave Nectar you should decrease the other liquids by 1/4 ounce and decrease the Agave Nectar by 1/3 (when substituting for granulated sugar.)
More flavor. Less Sugar. What’s not to love?!
Triple Sec or Cointreau?
Triple Sec, or Cointreau, is basically a orange liqueur made with sugar, orange peels, and a neutral grain spirit (NGS). Cointreau being the brand name.
Many Margarita recipes call for the use of Triple Sec in lieu of simple syrup. It adds a touch more flavor. More depth.
So, remember when I suggested using agave nectar in place of simple. OK, let’s stay with that thinking.
We’re not using triple sec in my perfect Margarita. We’re going to get crafty and make our own orange liqueur. Using the same basic premise:
Agave + Orange Peels + Unflavored Vodka
AGAVE ORANGE LIQUEUR
Boom! You’ve just a homemade orange Liqueur that took you minutes to make. And you’re free to use it in any cocktail that requires Triple Sec.
Salt vs. Sugar
You decide. No, really! I’m leaving it up to you.
Personally I love a salt rim on my Margarita. Preferably half the rim. I like to alternate between sips with salt and without. I believe that salt compliments tequila well, drawing out those earthly flavors, but too much salt can be distraction.
I find no enjoyment in a sugar rimmed Margarita and feel it can make the cocktail too sweet. But, hey, to each his own.
Whatever you chose to rim your glass with, never use a frozen glass. Why? As the glass thaws the salt and sugar will start to run down the glass, leaving you with a sticky / salty mess.
Enough already! Bring on the recipe.