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Author Topic: Adult margaritas  (Read 657 times)
Silver Bullet
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« on: August 21, 2020, 01:50:16 PM »

Adult margaritas, as in margaritas for someone who appreciates tequila, not for someone who just wants a sweet drink with a little alcohol.

Iíve been making margaritas for 25 years.  I had a recipe I liked a lot, but it wasnít quite as good as some of the best ones in the restaurants:  tequila, triple sec, fresh squeezed lime juice, and sweet-n-sour.

A couple years ago I came across a recipe by a well known chef who specializes in grilling and southwest flavors.  His was very fundamental, very simple, and apparently well known, probably more a bartender standard than his own recipe:

8 oz tequila
4 oz triple sec
4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice


Notice there is no sweet-n-sour, which you can make your own with Ĺ sugar, ľ lime juice, ľ lemon juice.  Thatís a lot of sugar, and Iíve seen online margarita recipes that were half, or even more than half!, sweet-n-sour.  

So I tried his recipe and it was much better.  You can taste the tequila.  So happy to be free from the sweet-n-sour.

Then I discovered a source for prickly pear syrup.  Amazon (Cherieís), among others.  To the above recipe I added 1 tablespoon of syrup, and that was just enough to sweeten it a tad (you donít want two tads) without making it a sweet drink; and just enough so I can taste the prickly pear.  What a match, prickly pear cactus with agave (tequila).  Itís terrific!

I tried 2 tablespoons in the 16 oz of margarita and that was too sweet for me.  I settled on 1 tablespoon.

The first sip will seem strong if youíre used to Mex restaurant margaritas, but you adapt very quickly and the more you drink the more you like it.  Youíre really better off never trying this!   grin

The margaritas in my local Seattle area Mex restaurants, some of which seemed really good before, now just seem like kool-aid with some tequila because of all the sweet-n-sour.

I found two restaurants in Phoenix that serve extraordinary margaritas.  One serves a prickly pear margarita that I couldnít tell from mine.  The second https://www.theboulders.com/restaurants-and-dining/the-spotted-donkey-cantina.html has a margarita (El Pedregal) made with Double Barrel Herradura Reposado tequila, and I think it is the best margarita Iíve had.  

Tequilas:  I was using El Jimador for a long time as a fine tequila for budget prices.  If I wanted to splurge I might go with 1800.  Then I discovered the above mentioned Herradura, and that was in a different league.  More recently I discovered Camarena, which is between El Jimador and 1800 in price, but is amazingly smooth for its price point.  I have a couple bottles of Herradura Double Barrel, but itís too expensive for my budget as a daily use margarita tequila, so I was very happy to discover Camarena, which I think is very underpriced.

Triple-sec:  pay attention to the alcohol content, more is better.  I like Bols.

Limes:  get ripe Persian limes, the lemon-sized limes you usually think of as limes.  Key limes (the little green golf balls that come in a bag) can be too bitter (in addition to sour), and theyíre a pain to squeeze that many itty bitty limes.  The ripe Persian limes are softer than the unripe, even a bit squishy.  I can immediately identify the ripe limes by the very smooth thin skins, and lighter green, even yellow.  I then follow up with a slight squeeze to verify.  What you DONíT want are the ones that are hard, dark green, rough.

Ice:  Yup, I even have an opinion on that.  I make these big round ice cubes, about the size of an apricot.  The idea is that the bigger the cube, the smaller the total surface area for the same weight of ice, and that means they melt (and cool) slower.  Crushed ice would be the worst, your drink would get watered down very quickly.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2020, 11:00:36 AM by Silver Bullet » Report to moderator   Logged

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zxcvbob
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2020, 02:30:38 PM »

I've also been making margaritas lately; a couple of weeks.  I haven't gotten the ratio down exactly yet, but it's usually something like 3 ounces of blanco tequila (Kirkland Silver), 2 ounces of Tripel Sec (Dekuypers, which is the strongest I can find at 24% ABV besides Cointreau at 40% which is way too expensive.)  You could also use Grand Marnier, but I think the brandy would be distracting.  And about 1.5 ounces of lemon juice.  I know it should be lime, but lemon works too.  Much better when I used fresh lemon juice instead of bottled.  I mix it in the glass I'm going to drink it from, Triple Sec first, then the lemon or lime juice, then the tequila, poured over ice cubes and stir it all up.  Leave the ice in.  If you want to get fancy, pour it ice and all into a new glass with salt on the rim.  Now I need to get some fresh limes and might have to reduce the amount of juice to about 1 ounce because limes are more sour.

Blue Curacao (also DeKuypers @ 24%) also works and is a little sweeter than Triple Sec but I think the TC tastes better.  If you want it a little sweeter just add a little more TC.

I'm about out of tequila, so might be making whiskey sidecars next.  Basically the same thing with Canadian whisky or cheap bourbon instead of tequila.

ETA: If you can find fresh Meyer lemons, try using them instead of lime or regular lemon juice.  I've never tried it but Meyers are sweeter.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2020, 03:04:39 PM by zxcvbob » Report to moderator   Logged

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Silver Bullet
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2020, 05:24:14 PM »

I looked at my Bols bottle:  21% alcohol.

I used to always read that the purpose of the cocktail shakers was to mix the drinks up with ice in order to cool down the drink faster than otherwise.  The shaker has a strainer that then keeps the ice from being poured into a drinking glass.

Recently I read something new (to me).  Another purpose of the shaker when used for margaritas (or other drinks with citrus juice) was to ensure the citrus juice was completely mixed with the other ingredients.  If that's true, you might be missing out by stirring the drink instead of shaking.  I don't know what the deal with citrus juice is that it resists combining with other ingredients, but that is a reason put forth by ... somebody.   cheesy
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2020, 05:26:09 PM »

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I'm about out of tequila

What kind of excuse is that? Buy more tequila.   grin
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zxcvbob
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2020, 07:02:24 PM »

I dont have a cocktail shaker.  If I did, I would shake these and not strain out the ice.  They start out so strong you kinda want the ice to continue diluting it, and fresh ice wouldn't do that as well.  I will work on stirring them better (use a small spoon instead of a finger cheesy )
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Jim147
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2020, 07:34:41 PM »

What is the triple sec and lime juice for?
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zxcvbob
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2020, 08:30:46 PM »

What is the triple sec and lime juice for?

So you can drink the tequila faster.  Yeah, I know a shot goes down pretty fast.  But a glass of tequila (or gin, or whatever) doesn't.
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Kingcreek
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2020, 06:55:06 AM »

You can use Agave nectar for the "sweet". It doesn't take much and you can customize your sweet to sour ratio. I like more lime (sour) and less sweet.
If you're feeling lazy, the kirkland mix isn't bad. I lime it up from the mix itself with a whole fresh lime squeezed into 2 glasses.

side note: I smoked my tequila brined pork ribs last night and they were awesome as usual. a little tequila, fresh lime, a little salt and raw cane sugar overnight (doesn't have to cover, just an oz and a lime per slab. next day remove from brine, add dry rub and smoke until rib bone ends are exposed about 1/2", slather some BBQ sauce on them and return to the smoker until the sauce is candied and ribs are pull apart tender (usually another 30 minutes).
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2020, 05:41:12 PM »

Quote
And about 1.5 ounces of lemon juice.  I know it should be lime, but lemon works too.

I thought so too, thinking that lemon juice is a totally okay ingredient for margaritas.  Until today!  I had to use lemon zest in a barbecued pork shoulder recipe, which left me with a naked lemon.  I thought, hey, I'm making margaritas right now too, I'll just substitute the lemon for one of the three limes I am using to get my 4 oz of lime juice.  Bummer!  8 oz of tequila, 4 oz of triple sec, 3 oz of lime juice, 1 oz of lemon juice, 1/2 oz of prickly pear syrup, and all I can taste is the lemon.   sad

I'm glad that works for you, but for me, never again.  I'd go with orange juice before lemon juice.
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Ron
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2020, 04:07:08 AM »

As an aside, my friend in San Diego had lime trees in his yard.

Limes are light yellow when ripe.

Margaritas with ripe limes are out of this world.

The limes in the store are generally not ripe at all. The yellowness on some of them is frequently just a side of the lime that wasn't exposed to sunlight.

You should try and find the limes that are starting to turn yellow all over.

Ripe limes aren't as strong a flavor, more lime less pucker.



   
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2020, 07:12:58 AM »

I totally agree, much of that is in my original post.  Once I was in a grocery store and saw a young woman sniffing the limes.  I asked what's up, and she said that she used to pick limes in Mexico and that was how she could tell the ripe ones.  I don't think my sense of smell is that good.
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DittoHead
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2020, 08:41:34 AM »

In my opinion, this is the best triple sec option if you're not going to spring for Cointreau.
https://www.theliquorbarn.com/luxardo-triplum-triple-sec-750ml/
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zxcvbob
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2020, 09:15:51 AM »

In my opinion, this is the best triple sec option if you're not going to spring for Cointreau.
https://www.theliquorbarn.com/luxardo-triplum-triple-sec-750ml/

Thanks, I will look for that. Smiley   Meanwhile, I like DeKuypers.
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2020, 08:36:45 AM »

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Ripe limes aren't as strong a flavor

My experience is the ripe limes are less sour, sweeter, and a lot easier to squeeze.  I haven't noticed a difference in flavor, but then it's been a while since I bought unripe limes.
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Ron
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2020, 06:05:27 PM »

My experience is the ripe limes are less sour, sweeter, and a lot easier to squeeze.  I haven't noticed a difference in flavor, but then it's been a while since I bought unripe limes.

Less sour is more of what I meant than flavor.

This thread is making me want a good margarita and they are far and few in between around here.
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2020, 08:48:17 AM »

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This thread is making me want a good margarita

That's the spirit(s)!   cool
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zxcvbob
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2020, 10:33:19 AM »

Kirkland (Costco) ready-to-pour margaritas in the 1.75L bottle for less than $10 are pretty good.  They are a little too sweet, but I've had a lot worse.
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MillCreek
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2020, 10:43:42 AM »

Kirkland (Costco) ready-to-pour margaritas in the 1.75L bottle for less than $10 are pretty good.  They are a little too sweet, but I've had a lot worse.

We second this: both the Costco mixes to which you add tequila, and the mixes with alcohol already in them. I remember a few years back when you could buy the Costco mix with tequila in it; in recent years the tequila has been replaced with 'agave wine', and I suspect this is due to some regulatory restriction on selling pre-mixed cocktails with hard liquor in them. I know that some states forbid this. I have always been curious to know if the 'agave wine' version is only sold in some states, or this is now the Costco default since it can be sold in all states, I imagine.
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