Back to basics: margaritas

Recipes/Student Living by

Canadian-Mexican cuisine is one step below Tex-Mex: anything that’s spicy and can be served with a tortilla is labeled as Mexican food. While I can’t change the food – the best Mexican food ingredients are nearly impossible to find in Montreal – the margaritas are certainly fixable.

Most margaritas are a slushy, watered down mixture of tequila, lime juice concentrate, and sugar. Unnecessary ingredients like frozen tropical fruit, lemon-lime soda, and water only further dilute the tequila. Add protein powder and toss it all in blender, and you have yourself a spiked fruit smoothie. While that might be a good way to end a workout, I like my margaritas to taste like tequila, with a hint of lime juice.

This recipe gets back to the roots of the famous Tijuana drink, without the frills. Simple syrup replaces grainy sugar, and Cointreau adds an orange undertone that brings out the flavours of the tequila. While lime juice is a necessity, too much will make your throat burn and requires additional sugar, so only add as much as you can handle.

A note on mixing: blending any drink with ice dilutes the flavor because half of the contents of every sip are water. Shaking a margarita with ice (a sealable coffee mug and a strainer can be substituted for a cocktail shaker) keeps the drink cold without diluting the alcohol.

Ingredients

  • 1 shot agave tequila
  • 1/2 shot Cointreau (Grand Marnier can be substituted if you don’t want to splurge, although the flavor will be distinctly different)
  • The juice of 1-2 limes
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • A dash of simple syrup
  • Kosher salt

Directions

  1. To make the simple syrup, mix two parts sugar with one part water and heat until viscous. This can be made in large batches and refrigerated for later use.
  2. Run a lime wedge along the rim of a cocktail glass (do not use water – this dissolves the salt). Pour the salt onto a plate and dip the glass until a thin rim of salt forms.
  3. Pour the ingredients over the ice into a shaker. Shake until condensation appears on the outside, and strain into the salt-rimmed glass, ice-filled glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.