The Heart of Ardent

The Heart of Ardent: Make a Great Margarita

When we shot our feature film THE DEVIL’S TAIL in Mexico, being a small indie production, of course we worked very hard. But good food and good drink never went amiss on location, and there’s nothing quite like a real margarita with fresh lime juice served on the rocks.

So this is how to make a great margarita, and by extension, included are a few words about tequilas…
I recommend the following for A SINGLE MARGARITA:

Rub a lime wedge around the rim of a rocks glass and rim in salt. In a cocktail shaker mix together;

2 ounces tequila
juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed
1-2 tablespoons of agave nectar* or simple syrup to taste
2-4 TBSP water depending on tartness of lime juice and your taste

Shake it over ice and serve on rocks in a rocks glass, garnished with a lime wedge or slice.

‘But – wait a minute’, you’re thinking. ‘I want to make a batch for more than one person. And where’s the orange liqueur I’m used to?’

Add orange liqueurs, such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier, etc., if you prefer, but remember those are French, and actually a US addition to margaritas. Adding orange liqueur isn’t traditionally Mexican, so if you had one made that way in Mexico, that’s down to Tourism. If you do prefer orange liqueur in your margaritas, why not go with **Controy or Citrónge? Both are made in Mexico, and Cintrónge is made by Patrón.

MAKES 12 FLUID OUNCES:

5 fluid ounces tequila
3 fluid ounces fresh lime juice
1 fluid ounce sweetened lime juice
3 fluid ounces Triple Sec, Controy, or other orange-flavored liqueur if that is your preference

ice cubes
1 lime, cut into wedges
rimming salt

Measure tequila, lime juice, sweetened lime juice and liqueur into a cocktail shaker and add a large quantity of ice; a scoop or a glassful.
Cover and shake until the shaker is cold and frosty, about 30 seconds.
Rub a lime wedge around the rims of rocks glasses and dip in salt.
Fill each glass with ice and strain equal amounts of the drink into the glasses.
Garnish each with a lime wedge or slice.

What’s your favorite tequila, and what are the best for margaritas?
Questions I get asked more than you’d think. Really, any 100% agave blanco or reposado tequila will make a great margarita. If you look at tequila labels and don’t quite understand the differences in types, here’s a quick overview:
Blanco is clear like water and has had  no aging. It’s sometimes called white or silver.
Reposado is just minimally aged, literally ‘rested’; at least two months, but can be up to a year.
Oro or ‘gold’ for it’s golden hue, is a often a mix of blanco and reposado.
Añejo is heavily ‘aged’; minimally one year, but less than three years. It’s a darker amber color.

If you’re unsure of brands, Cazadores, Herradura, Don Julio, Pura Sangre and Dos Lunas are all good, for example. Regardless of brand, just keep your eyes out for that 100% agave.
“Essential” tequila experiences dictate that you don’t drink anything that isn’t made from 100% agave. If the label says less than 100%, it’s likely 51% real tequila mixed with cane sugars and grain alcohol fillers – and that makes for a hell of a hangover.

OK, so now you’ve got a good tequila. Here I beg you: please don’t pollute it with commercial margarita mix. Why turn good tequila into a corn-syrup-green-food-coloring-artificial-lime-juice-flavor margarita? It’s the ruin of good tequila.

Finally, also consider how you or your guests are going to drink this spirit. Tequilas in margaritas are different from knocking back shots, so although you do want a good label in your cocktail, using an añejo would be a waste, especially if not using fresh squeezed lime juice. Again, go for a blanco or a reposado in your margarita.

Cheers!

NOTE: *Agave nectar is a honey like substance made from the agave plant. It is readily available in the US and Canada at large grocery stores.
**Citrónge and Controy are now available in the US.

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