On the 22nd of February every year in the United States, the most awesome of days occur – the annual homage to the best drink that was ever created happens: National Margarita Day. Lovingly consumed by so many people around the world, this wonderful combination of triple sec, tequila and lime juice has earned its holiday, a thousand times over. And how best to celebrate? By whizzing up a batch, kicking back with some friends and just relaxing.
There is so much debate as to who we should thank for inventing the classic margarita: one of them says it was invented at Rancho La Gloria, down by Tijuana, Carlos “Danny” Herrera created the recipe for Marjorie King, a Ziegfield dancer who had a distinct allergy to many spirits. Another claim says it was invented in Galveston, Texas by Santos Cruz for a favourite patron of his, singer Patty Lee. Another states it was invented in 1948 in Aculpulco by socialite Margarita Sames. What is agreed on though is that it was sometime during the 1930’s or 1940’s, with the wondrous frozen variation invented later in 1970’s, when a very cunning bartender (a high school drop-out named Mariano Martinez) converted a soft serve ice cream unit into a frozen margarita machine. Today the margarita is the most common tequila based cocktail in the United States, hence the introduction in of a National Margarita Day!
National Margarita Day was started by nationalmargaritaday.com to celebrate the margarita, plain and simple; the fact that it now goes hand in hand with celebrating friendship, good times and memories of somewhere warmer is all the more reasons to enjoy a margarita.
Not all Tequila is created equal!
Everyone I know has their tequila story, young and carefree, crazy night out, cheap Tequila…fill in the blanks. Many people are scared of tequila after their tequila experience and never touch the stuff again. There is one golden rule, store it in your memory. Only use quality tequila that is 100% agave. Usually 100% agave will be written clearly on the bottle label. Sip a quality tequila or use a quality tequila in your margharitas and you will not only enjoy them more you are much less likely to suffer the next day, assuming you don’t go too overboard. Same if you go to a bar, make sure the bartender is using 100% agave tequila, you might even get a nod of acknowledgement from the bar man or woman as they immediately know that you know your stuff. As this article is about margharitas and not specifically tequila, a good 100% agave “blanco” tequila will work great and a decent bottle of tequila should cost somewhere between 20 and 50 pounds. Avoid cheap tequila like the plague, you’ll thank me for it! Ok, once armed with your 100% agave tequila of choice let’s get onto making a margharita.
The Simple Margarita Mix
(Homemade margarita mix):
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (8-12 limes)
For each margarita:
2 ounces homemade margarita mix (see above)
2 ounces 100% Agave tequila of choice
1 ounce orange liqueur
1 tsp agave nectar (optional)
lime wedges/slices for garnish (optional)
To make the margarita mix heat the water and sugar in a small sauce pan until the sugar is completely dissolved and the water is clear. Let it cool. Pour into a pitcher with the lime juice. Leftovers will keep for 7-10 days in a jug in the fridge.
To make the margaritas, combine 2 ounces of the homemade mix, 2 ounces tequila, 1 ounce orange liqueur, and a teaspoon of agave nectar if you like. Shake well in a cocktail maker, strain into an ice filled margarita glass. Garnish with lime slices.
To make frozen margaritas, freeze the lime mix into ice cubes. Blend the ice cubes with chilled tequila and orange liqueur until uniformly slushy.
The margarita just screams fun, it is the epitome of life at its very best – the fact that it comes in so many different varieties just adds to its appeal – the rainbow of colours and flavours that can be created from just a little salt, ice cold tequila and a wedge of lime is staggering. There is quite literally a margarita for every occasion and to suit every taste bud: from the original to the roasted blueberry basil margaritas to the strawberry sriracha margarita. But do be careful, and drink in moderation: tequila has been known to t’kill’ya if you drink too much, or at least it may make you wish you were dead, especially if you use cheap Tequila!