We have been drinking a not-very-small amount during this fiasco, and margaritas seem to form the backbone of the consumption. Magically, they don't (usually) give me (severe) hangovers, so they seem like a natural choice.
I have realized, however, that the variation in margarita recipes is incredibly vast and ranges from absolutely abysmal to transcendental. We received a "curbside" delivery order of margaritas from one of our frequented Mex places here in Cedar Rapids, and the margaritas were about as good as they usually are; namely, quite mediocre.
Off to the liquor store!
The perfect margarita is really quite simple: 2 oz of tequila, 1 oz of orange liqueur, 1 oz of lime juice, shaken with ice, poured into a salt-rimmed glass over big ice. Easy peasy. I like to add a squirt of agave syrup before shaking; even me, who does not care for sweet drinks, needs just a little bit of sugar to temper the puckery lime.
Of course, you'll want to add salt to the rim of the glass. Trust me, salt makes a marg. Best way to do this is run a lime along the rim and then immerse the rim in flake or ground sea salt.
We tend to... increase the amounts listed in recipes when it comes to cocktails. For margs, we find that adding 50% more of each ingredient creates perfect amount of beverage for two cocktails in our highball glasses with a big cube of ice.
Now, we have consumed a LOT of margaritas recently, utilizing different tequilas and different types of orange liqueur. We have found the best margs are made with a good reposado tequila, which gives the drink a bit of oak and heft, and Cointreau for the orange liqueur. Patrón Citronage and Combier are also good choices for a lower-proof orange liqueur, and for something a little different, I can also recommend a fairly affordable Spanish liqueur called "43," which has a lower ABV/more sugar and a nice caramel body to it.
We also have subbed mezcal for tequila, another agave-distilled spirit, and made some fantastic, smoky margs. Highly recommend mezcal to disrupt your margarita routine.
If you prefer flavored margs, I can recommend our recently-sampled cherry margaritas. I have seen cherry/lime-flavored things everywhere, but don't think I have ever seen a cherry margarita. It so happened we had a bit of Cherry Heering liqueur left in the cabinet, so I decided to subtract .5 oz per drink of Cointreau and add 1 oz per drink of Heering, making 3 oz tequila, 1 oz cointreau, 1 oz Heering, and 1.5 oz lime juice, with a splash of agave syrup. We've also added a bit of mango juice to margs to mix things up.
Whatever your preference, shake the ingredients vigorously and pour into the prepped glasses with salt. The classic glass for a marg is a highball, but sometimes we feel festive and break out our ridiculous-looking Pier 1 glasses.
What a wonderful season to sit outside and sip margaritas! Maks, mama, and I are loving the warmer weather, and we can comfortably sit outside being a good 60 feet from the nearest person walking along the street. More than ideal social distancing!
I encourage all of you to make the real margarita and experience the difference! Remember that the quality of booze is key. Lunazul or Espolón are killer choice for tequila if you're on a bit of a budget, but a good tequila makes all the difference, both in the flavor of the drink and how it affects you the next morning.