The margarita is part of the daisy family of cocktails which grew in popularity in the 20th century. Margarita means ‘daisy’ in Spanish. Cocktails made in the daisy format usually consist of a spirit, citrus juice and an element of sweetness. Although many people believe margaritas originated in Mexico or South America, its origins can be traced back to the Café Royal Cocktail Book, which was written in 1937 and published by the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild.
How to make margaritas
To make the perfect margaritas according to BBC Good Food, you need to make sure you are using good ingredients.
Tequila – The tequila should be made out of 100 percent agave, meaning it is made using the nectar from the agave plant.
Look out for brands which carry this statement. Those not displaying the statement often use a percentage of agave, alongside artificial colours and flavourings.
While classic margaritas are made using blanco unaged tequila, you can play around with different types for your cocktail.
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Nicola Sukes from the Voyage of Buck told BBC Good Food: “Blanco tequilas will be more robust, whereas aged tequilas, like reposed, will be a little sweeter, creamier and more caramel-like due to the time they have spent in barrels.”
The sweetener – A classic margarita is sweetened by an orange-based liquor, such as a triple-sec or Cointreau.
You can use any liquor so long as you ensure it is made using fresh ingredients as opposed to artificial flavourings.
Salt – The classic margarita always uses salt on the rim.
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Bartender Nick Caputo says: “The salt will enhance the flavours carried from the alcohol and work to soften the acidity from the lime juice, without needing to add excess sweetening agents.”
To salt the rim of the glass, put some good-quality sea salt onto a dinner plate, coat the outside of the rim of the glass with lime juice by running a wedge of lime over it, and then gently roll the glass in the salt.
Use a napkin to gently wipe off any salt which has become stuck to the inside of the glass too.
If you are having trouble with the salt sticking, you can use agave syrup instead of lime juice to make sure it sticks.
Since a margarita is a shaken cocktail, you will need to make sure the spirit and liquor are well combined with the citrus.
Mr Caputo recommends you stop shaking your cocktail shaker (or jam jar if you don’t have one) before it sounds like the ice has been smashed up.
- 50ml tequila
- 30ml lime juice
- 25ml triple sec or similar spirit
Shake all the ingredients well with ice and then double strain into a martini glass prepared with a salted rim.
Garnish with a lime wedge on the side of the glass (this has the added benefit that you can use it to remove the salt rim if you decide you don’t want it).
Tommy’s Margarita was created by tequila legend Julio Bermejo at Tommy’s restaurant in San Francisco.
This famous variation on the classic cocktail features agave syrup instead of triple sec.
- 50ml tequila
- 30ml lime juice
- 25ml agave syrup (50:50 mixture of agave syrup and water)
Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a glass filled with ice.
Garnish the edge of the glass with a lime wheel.
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