sábado, 12 de marzo de 2011

A Perfect Margarita-Keep it Pure and Simple

Living in México makes you an expert drinking and thinking about margaritas and tacos — the wildly popular cocktail, perfect for tropical nights and days aren't bad either.

So, I feel it a righteous cause to tell you how to make the perfect margarita, even though commercial interests will try to sell you variations and short cuts that will give you decidedly inferior results.

The philosophy behind a perfect margarita is the same as making a perfect hamburger. Since there are just three ingredients in each case, the choice of what ingredients you use is immensely important. And since there are only three ingredients, unlike other cocktails, you can memorize the recipe if you put your mind to it. Here goes:

1. A good blanco or white (silver) tequila.
Look for 100 percent blue agave tequila. Expensive, aged tequilas, called anejos, are full of wood taste from aging; the last thing you want in a margarita is woodiness. You want the peppery, clean edge of un-aged tequila

.A very light reposado (very slightly aged) also will do. Look for these great names: Tres Generaciones Plata, Don Julio, Casa Noble, Corzo, Leguas, 4 Copas, Jose Cuervo Reserva Platina, El Don de la Familia, Camerena Silver (new and great value) and Corazon Reposado.

2. Cointreau for the sweetening agent.
All the others can’t touch Cointreau for its unique taste. Yes, it’s expensive, but so is an authentic Rembrandt or a Bugati. You get what you pay for. Many recipes call for Triple Sec, but I think Cointreau is better.

3. Lime juice, freshly squeezed.
Let me explain the term ‘fresh’: It's fresh off the tree. The limes used in Mexico are very small; they are called limones, more akin to key limes. They may be available in the United States as well. Every bar and restaurant I’ve ever been to in Mexico uses fresh limes squeezed on the spot. Commercial lime mixes, overly sweet and laced with preservatives don't work. Regular, big limes, are more tart, so you will need to adjust.

This information was from my own, on-the-spot research. So it was with a knowing smile that I recently read the perfect margarita recipe offered by Dale DeGroff the “King of Cocktails.” His recipe calls for (bongo drum roll) 3⁄4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 1⁄4 ounces of (only) Cointreau, 1 1⁄2 ounces of 100 percent blue agave silver (blanco) tequila. Assemble all ingredients in a cocktail shaker full of ice and shake well to a count of 10, then pour — this gives you not only the cold, but also one ounce of water, necessary for the drink. Salt half the rim of the glass with kosher salt, not table salt. Or, skip the salt.

There is one variation I would allow. Find some organic, blue agave syrup for some of the sweetener. It is a fabulous product, great for cocktails, tea, etc. Then add a bit of fresh orange juice. That agave syrup plus the orange equals the Cointreau taste. Still my advice is don't mess with perfection.

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