margarita by ted_major
margarita, a photo by ted_major on Flickr.

I’ve been trying on and off to make a good margarita, with limited success. My paramaters are fairly narrow: I can’t stand frozen margaritas, so I’ve focused on the less forgiving margarita on the rocks. I never really liked margaritas until I went to Sol y Luna, and since then I’ve been spoiled. BitterOldPunk gave the sage, if slightly impractical, advice to make three, because the third one will always be perfect. I recently came across Alton Brown’s margarita recipe, which was close, but not quite there. Shortly thereafter, I came across a habanero grapefruit margarita recip in Bon Appetit that was OK, but still not superb. I borrowed Alton Brown’s method of muddling orange and lime to release the aromatic citrus oils and added the grapefruit from Tulum to come up with the following recipe, which if I do say so myself, isn’t half bad.
Makes 2.

  • 1 Valencia orange
  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 1 lime
  • 3 ozs tequila blanco, divided (Don’t skimp! I used Patron because that’s the best available here; you may have other options.)
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • coarse sea salt

Use 2 small plates to salt the rims of your glasses. In one plate, pour 1/2 oz of tequila, and in the other pour out some sea salt. Dip the rim of a glass in the tequila, drain for 10 seconds, and then dip in the salt. Gently add ice so as not to knock the salt off the rim. Repeat with the other glass.
Cut each of the fruits in half horizontally. Cut one half of the orange and one half of the lime into quarters and put into your cocktail shaker. Muddle for at least one minute to release the juice and citrus oils. Strain and return juice to the shaker. Juice the other half of the orange and lime and both halves of the grapefruit. Add these juices to the shaker along with 2.5 ozs tequila plus the tequila left over from salting the rims of the glasses. Add 1 oz simple syrup and ice. Shake for at least 30 seconds, until the shaker is covered in condensation, and then strain into the salt-rimmed glasses.