I need a drink! Margarita

Thursday 11 January (2007)

I started this occasional feature back in July, and since then I’ve not added any drinks to it. If you know me in real life, then you’ll understand that this surely isn’t because I’ve stopped drinking, because that would be ludicrous. Of course I’ve been drinking! I’ve just not actually had any of my favourite drinks to hand, and while I could write from memory, that would be cheating. Besides, a drink has to be truly special to get into the ‘I need a drink!’ database. Thus enters a classic cocktail; the Margarita.

image borrowed without permission from allposters.com

Oh God, Margaritas. The secret to their success lies in their simplicity, but their downfall is their spirit – tequila. Any hack can make a margarita (of course, it takes a certain professional flair to make a really good one) but because it has tequila in it, there is a perfect quantity that must be observed. Too much, and the taste of the tequila is overpowering, leaving you gurning after a mouthful. Contrarily, too little and the acidic, bitter taste of the lime will dominate your palate, with equally distasteful results.

But if you can get your proportions right, you’re set – because margaritas contain only three ingredients: the aforementioned tequila, triple sec and lime juice. Triple sec, for those who don’t know, is simply an orange liqueur – the recipe in the picture above states cointreau, which would make for a superb tequila indeed. Ideally – or at least, originally – actual lime juice should be used, but I’ve never had the pleasure of drinking a margarita made to the classic recipe. In my experience though, lime squash and triple sec are fine ingredients; the only one you would want to splash out on would be the tequila because it literally makes or breaks the drink.

I got a bottle of Jose Cuervo Gold for Christmas, and any tequila afficionados out there will be quick to point out that this is not one of the world’s finest tequilas. However, it certainly falls into the ‘better’ half, and for me it’s more than adequate when compared to cheaper spirits. I’m considering the purchase of a bottle of mezcal, which in my limited experience I prefer to tequila, and if I do get some I’ll be sure to make a margarita out of it for experimental purposes. Anyway, I got this tequila, but I was in a quandry because, simply, I don’t really like tequila all that much. The only option was to use it for margaritas – and to that end I took the cheapest way out and bought some Cuervo Margarita Mix.

This stuff is bloody difficult to find (and by that I mean any margarita mix) in UK supermarkets and off-licenses, but I managed to find some in Makro, which is a wholesale store, and two litres cost me less than £5. This particular mix is non alcoholic, and from the ingredients list wholly synthetic – in other words, it won’t make a true margarita. That said, I’ve tasted many, many margaritas in bars and clubs and the vast majority were inferior to my home-made Cuervo + Mix version. It’s a sad but true fact that good cocktails are hard to find, at least outside of the trendiest (and most expensive) nightspots. But I’m also just being cheap – because it certainly wouldn’t cost the Earth to go out and buy a bag of limes and a bottle of triple sec (I’d guess at around £10 for the lot) – and with those things I could make an entirely superior cocktail. But I digress.

Anyone who’s ever been young and liked to party will be familiar with tequila slammers – you lick the back of your hand, douse it in salt, lick it off then chase it with a shot of tequila, then immediately bite down on a slice of lime. That is like a margarita on speed – it offers the same flavours, but the margarita is less intense; there is no rasping burn, there are no scrunched faces. The margarita takes these flavours and gives them class; makes them compliment each other (I mean this is a drink comprised of citrus, tequila and salt – it’s a hard sell) and it goes down with style.

More than a mojito it reeks of the exotic, sundrenched beach. More than a daiquiri it will cool you down on a hot summers afternoon (see the frozen margarita; the same drink but blended with ice to make an alcoholic slush puppie) and more than a cuba libre it goes down smooth. Margarita: queen of cocktails.


One Response to “I need a drink! Margarita”

  1. Sally Says:

    You’ve made me thirsty! Be sure to rustle me up one of these when you get back to Cheltenham 😉 xxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: