I try not to describe things as “the best” too often. I’ve done it from time to time, but when I do I truly think the recipe deserves that title. This margarita? It’s the best. Full stop. Ditch the store-bought margarita mix, because it doesn’t even come close. And once you make this sublime cocktail, it’ll be the measuring stick against which you judge all others. There, how’s that for a recommendation?
I’d been planning to make these margaritas for a gathering of some of our dearest friends this past weekend. We’re a group that has been close since our early college days, but as is often the case, it’s just difficult to get everyone together as we’ve become adults. It was fantastic being able to sit in the back yard sharing stories, drinking margaritas and eating tacos (more on that in another post), and watching all of our kids run around. Summer at it’s finest.
Now to the margarita. This one requires a little planning, but don’t let that scare you off– it’s easy to make. What it doesn’t involve is a long list of strange or unpronounceable ingredients. Lemon, lime, sugar, and a decent mid-price tequila. The reason it tastes so damn good is due to the time you should let the flavors meld together in the refrigerator. I did it for 24 hours (actually a bit more, to be honest). The lemon, lime, and sugar really have a chance to become one– it takes on an entirely different citrus when you give it the time. If you’re short on time, four hours will probably work. Just remember the longer it sits, the better it will be. I’m planning to keep some in my refrigerator throughout the week, so it’s at the ready when I fancy a good margarita. Which means I’ll probably be having one every night. Nothing wrong with living a little, right? I also made those cocktail cherries that crown the drink– I’ll share that recipe soon, as well.
The Recipe: The Best Margarita
4 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
4 teaspoons lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 3-4 limes)
1/4 cup super-fine sugar (or use granulated that has been blended in a food processor. Super-fne sugar is needed so it dissolves adequately)
pinch of kosher salt
1 cup 100% Agave Tequila (make sure it’s a Reposado– a type that’s aged in oak barrels for between 2 months to a year)
1 cup Triple Sec
Note: We tripled this batch. The juice mixture fit nicely into a quart jar and then a large glass pitcher when we combined the alcohol and served it. As long as the ice is not combined directly into the pitcher, leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator and used when you want.
Combine all of the ingredients into a pint jar, except the liquor. Shake and refrigerate for at least 4-24 hours (or longer). When ready to serve, strain the mixture into a serving pitcher (this will remove the zest) and add the liquor. Stir. Serve in a glass that has been prepared using lime around the edge and dipped into margarita salt. Fill each glass with ice and pour the margarita mixture into it. Add a cocktail cherry, if desired. Cheers!
Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
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