Don't know quite whats going on in Brighton and Hove right now but the thirst for making margaritas has been quite extraordinary given that we're in February... Maybe it's because it IS February and we all need a bit of sunshine in our glasses? I don't know what it is but one thing is for certain, I love it - lots of people are making them. I've had a fair few conversations with people over the past week or two about the best recipe and best ingredients for the ultimate margarita. Of course it was really important for me to discover the best recipe for myself! So let's discuss this most pressing matter in a bit more detail.
But first, before we delve in to the ingredients list, let's discover some interesting facts about this most sublime and arguably worlds-best cocktail.
The margarita is a cocktail that belongs to the daisy family of drinks which became very fashionable in the early part of the 20th Century. The word margarita literally means "Daisy" in Spanish.
Cocktails in the daisy family are sours and are made with a spirit, this can be vodka, rum, gin, whatever - it's your lockdown - choose what you like, some citrus juice and a little something to sweeten it and to balance the citrussy acidity.
Surprising though it may be, the origins of the margarita do not necessarily come from Mexico or South America... Aha... Actually the very first record of a cocktail recipe using tequila, citrus juice and an orange liqueur can be traced back to the Café Royal Cocktail Book in 1937. It was then known as the "Picador", a tequila daisy, and at 2:1:1 parts respectively, it follows the classic formula of a margarita before it was ever known as a margarita. So is it a British invention then? Hmmmm Maybe.... possibly some further research needed, I'm fully expecting a furore to ensue on this point, and actually I'm ready to be corrected - totally ok with that.
How do you make the perfect margarita? Having enjoyed a fair few of these on euphoric nights out with my friend Anna, (nights out - remember them?), there seems to be a multitude of ways to mix and serve them. One highlight I'll never forget, was the incredibly funny but torturous pain of the head freezing ones Mr O and I had in New York on our honeymoon. Some bars even had them pre-mixed in slushy machines. I really feel, that with my partners in crime, we've put in the groundwork over the years - so it's good to see all that dedicated drinking time finally paying off.
Ingredients are as follows:
Tequila - - please make sure you choose one that is 100% agave, be wary of cheap imitations - and don't settle for less than the best, you wont be saving much -we have a 100% blue agave here for a very reasonable £23.95. Blanco is the classic choice but you could definitely play around a bit with ones with a tad more age on them like a reposado or even an anejo which have been barrel aged to give a creamier and sweeter flavour. Great tequila on its own is every bit as good as the finest of whiskies, and just like whisky there are some awful cheap ones. Choose independent off-licences. Good ones will have a selection to choose from and will be able to advise you on the one most suited to your taste.
Lime - Fresh is best. Its arguably not worth making one without fresh lime. Roll them around on the kitchen counter before you squeeze them to get to all that juice.
Triple Sec - This is to sweeten up and balance out that lovely lime juice. Some people swear by cointreau but we think triple sec is better by far. Triple sec is an orange liqueur, cointreau is also an orange liqueur - so try both and see which you prefer.
Salt - sea salt is best - nice and crunchy. Top tip: Go for salt on half the glass so you can alternate as you go.
Shake, shake, shake, shake. With ice. Serve it with a generous wedge of lime - this can then be used to wipe off the salt on the rim of the glass if you're not too keen on the salt.
Well I do hope to join you (and the rest of Brighton and Hove) for a virtual, mass margarita drinking extravaganza soon.
* For those of you that are still children at heart, (like Mr O) and who love giving and getting brain freeze - for a frozen margarita you just need to use a load more ice and blend until it forms an adult slush puppy consistency. As ever, thank you for reading.