Happy Kentucky-Derby-Cinco-de-Mayo, Friends!
Today is the day in which we celebrate the Mexican Army’s victory over France with a field of Thoroughbreds Running for the Roses.
Or something like that.
Although Cinco de Mayo is a fairly minor holiday in Mexico, we Americans use it as an excuse to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage with parades, mariachi music, great food, and perhaps a few tasty beverages of the Margarita variety.
Raise you hand if you like a good Margarita?
((Raises both hands))
Fact: Nothing tastes better on a hot summer day than an icy Margarita out on the porch.
I love a good Margarita as much as the next girl, but what I don’t like are the rock-gut-prefab-mixers that can be purchased at the grocery store. I don’t know what it is about them, but that stuff is a stomachache in a bottle. Don’t get me wrong–I probably wouldn’t turn one down if ya offered it to me, but I’d pay for it later.
Conveniently enough, a cool Latin/Tex-Mex restaurant near my house makes a great Margarita that offers no ill-effects. When I asked them what the secret was, the bartender said it was all in the housemade sour mix.
Ever since that a-ha! moment, we’ve been making The Real Deal Margaritas at my house. I’m not gonna lie to you–they’re both easy and fabulous! Try them the next time you want to get your Tex-Mex on. Or watch horse racing. Or…you get the idea.
The cast of ingredients is simple: tequila, triple sec, fresh lemons, limes, an orange, water, and sugar.
Start by making a simple syrup. Pour the water and sugar into a small saucepan and heat to a rolling boil over medium heat; stirring occasionally.
Once the syrup reaches a rolling boil, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.
Slice all of the citrus fruit in half and get your reamer ready.
I just love the look of freshly cut citrus. Gorgeous!
Set a small strainer over top of your pitcher and squeeze all of the fruit to extract the most juice as possible. The strainer is there to catch the seeds and excess pulp. Efficient, no?
By the time you’ve squeezed the bajeezes out of the citrus, the simple syrup should be mostly cooled.
Pour the syrup into the pitcher with the juice. It’s OK if the syrup is still slightly warm.
Add the triple sec and tequila to the mix.
Add a couple of cups of ice to the pitcher.
Then stir the Margaritas until everything gets nice and happy. At this point, you can serve the Margaritas, or pop them in the ‘fridge for a half hour or so to get them really cold.
Now, I like my Little Margarets as is, but if you prefer frozen Margaritas, then go ahead and pour the contents of the pitcher into a blender carafe, and give it a whirl after adding the ice. The choice is yours!
If you’re feeling sassy, then you should probably garnish the rim of your glasses before serving. To make Margarita Salt: pour a little kosher salt into a shallow bowl or plate, and then zest half a lime into the salt.
Stir and mash the lime zest into the salt to release the fragrant citrus oils.
Then gently rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass.
And immediately run the moistened rim through the salt to coat. NOW you’re really ready to pour Margaritas!
Yield 1 Pitcher (About 8 drinks)
Prep Time: 20 minutes, Assembly Time: 5 minutes, Total Time: 25 minutes
For the Fresh Sour Mix:
4 large lemons
4 medium limes
1 navel orange
1 ½ C. water
1 C. granulated sugar
For the Cocktail:
½ C. Triple Sec (Orange) Liqueur
½ C. Silver Tequila
2 C. ice cubes
¼ C. kosher salt
Zest from ½ of a lime
Fresh lime wedges
- Make simple syrup: pour water and granulated sugar into a small saucepan; stir well.
- Bring to a rolling boil over medium-heat, stirring occasionally. Sugar should be completely dissolved by the time the mixture boils.
- Remove from heat and cool.
- Set a small strainer over a 2 quart pitcher. Slice all citrus fruit in half, and squeeze the juices by hand over the strainer. If you have one, a citrus reamer works well. Otherwise, stick a fork into the middle of each cut half of fruit and squeeze around it. (The strainer is there to catch any seeds that come out of the fruit during the juicing process.) You should end up with about 1 ½ to 2 cups of freshly squeezed citrus juice.
- Pour the cooled simple syrup into the pitcher with the citrus juices.
- Add the triple sec, tequila, and ice cubes to the pitcher; stir well to combine. Chill the cocktails while readying the serving glasses.
- To serve: place the kosher salt onto a small plate.
- Zest ½ of a lime over the salt; slice the lime into 8 wedges.
- Stir and mash the zest into the salt with a spoon to release the oils.
- Gently run the cut side of a lime wedge around the rim of a serving glass, and then immediately dip/spin the rim of the glass into the salt mixture to coat; repeat with the remaining glasses.
- Pour the Margaritas from the pitcher into the glasses; dividing the cocktail evenly between the glasses.
- Garnish the rim of the glasses with a lime wedge.
- Add more ice to the cocktail, if desired.
- Makes about 8 drinks.