If it is Sunday around 5:30 or so, you can find Sweet Shark and me at his bar, enjoying one of America’s very favorite cocktails, the Margarita. Then we head to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. We don’t order a margarita, may just share a beer. I hate to brag, but Sweet Shark makes one of the best margaritas ever. Ever. He’s had lots of practice if you figure maybe 40 Sundays out of the year making 2 margaritas plus other occasions, such as Memorial Day, 4th of July or Labor Day. It’s hard for me to ever order a margarita out because they are either too sweet or too tart. Sunday is National Tequila Day. July 14 was Grand Marnier Day. And, although I don’t quite understand this, February is National Margarita Day. So today is a perfect time to Celebrate the Marvelous Margarita.
Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you probably know that a margarita is a cocktail, consisting of tequila, an orange liqueur, and lime or lemon juice, often served with salt on the rim of the glass and served on the rocks or frozen. (The frozen margarita was invented at Mariano’s Restaurant here in Dallas back in the 70’s.) Sweet Shark and I are saltless, on the rocks people. It is consistently rated as one of the most popular cocktails in America. And with good reason: it’s refreshing; the slight sweetness and light and bright flavor of a good-quality orange liqueur, the tangy taste of a good-quality silver or gold tequila, and the acidity of the lime juice helps to balance out all the flavors to create a super satisfying drink.
I came to loving margaritas late. I was a grown adult who always resisted a margarita. Why? the salt. As much as I love what salt does for food, I just couldn’t get over putting a salt~rimmed glass to my lips. Then one evening, someone said to me, “you can order it without salt”. Really, O.K., I’ll try it. I was sold, and I’ve loved margaritas ever since.
But, I have to tell you, it wasn’t until I met Sweet Shark and he made me a margarita for the first time that I knew what a really good, clean~tasting margarita tastes like. No, bottled lime juice, no added sugar, no cheap tequila, no funky colors (My first saltless margarita was blue!) I rarely order a margarita out at a restaurant because I’m spoiled.
So, let’s pretend it’s Sunday, happy hour time, and have one together.
Here’s what a margarita glass typically looks like.
You will probably find this unusual, but we don’t have any margarita glasses. On Sunday, while Sweet Shark is gathering his ingredients, he asks me, “which glasses do you want to use?”
Here are our choices
The glass on the left was a wedding present; the glass in the center was part of a set of Fiesta glasses and a pitcher that I bought at an antique mall (There were only 7 glasses.) that I love ~ exactly my colors. The glass on the right I bought online from Williams~Sonoma. They have our monogram, which is easy since Sweet Shark and I have the same initials.
- cutting board ~ for cutting the limes
- a juicer ~ for juicing the limes
- a cocktail shaker ~ margaritas are shaken, not stirred
This is our favorite juicer ~ it’s easy to use; the pressing action really gets out a lot of juice; it can go in the dishwasher, but most of the time we just run it under the faucet with hot water.
For other essential bar equipment, you can check out this list.
Margaritas have 3 basic ingredients
- tequila ~ make sure it’s a good quality silver or gold tequila
- orange liqueur ~ most margaritas are made with triple sec or Cointreau. If you really want to get fancy, you can make it with Grand Marnier, an orange~flavored Cognac; order a “top~shelf” margarita in a restaurant and this is what you get ~ it’s also more expensive.
- fresh lime juice or if you like, lemon. Fresh is the key here. No bottled lime juice. And not just fresh juice, but fresh limes. No limes that have been hiding in the crisper for a week. If your margarita tastes off, old limes are probably the culprit.
There are dozens of versions of margaritas and this one is Sweet Shark’s. I can guarantee that it’s one of the best. I hope you enjoy it.
- 3½ ounces good quality silver or gold tequila
- 1½ ounces Cointreau
- 1½ ounces Grand Marnier
- 2 ounces fresh lime juice
- 2½ ounces Mr. & Mrs. T Sweet & Sour
- lime slices or wedges, for garnish
- Fill a large cocktail shaker ⅓ full with ice.
- Fill preferred glasses with ice.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the shaker and shake vigorously until chilled.
- Strain mixture over ice in glasses.
- Garnish with lime slice or wedge.
Here’s where I linked up this week: