the Margarita

Posted on May 26, 2010 in Cocktails

The Margarita, in all of its simplistic glory—with more self-professed originators than the internet, see Ted Haigh interview—is all too often forsaken.  In a town like Los Angeles, sadly, one couldn’t find a decent Margarita until a few years ago; nor was there a single place where one could eat great Mexican food while drinking great agave-based spirits.  Now, we have Rivera—which has helped redefine Mexican  gastronomy—as Angelinos and Americans, in our entirety.  Rivera’s Julian Cox, one of the country’s most celebrated young barmen, makes a serious Margarita—and is about as good as it gets when it comes to agave-based spirits, in general.  The singular Julio Bermejo has been evangelizing the virtues of agave for decades, converting many a lost soul—at Tommy’s, in San Francisco.  And, Jimmy Yeager, tucked up high in the Rockies, has one of the best agave-based bars in the world—in Aspen of all places—and his knowledge is phenomenal.

After a few decades of making Margaritas myself, the recipe is fairly simple and fool-proof.  Start with a great base-spirit—I use el Tesoro, Siete Leguas and, over the past few years, Tequila Ocho.  Sadly, Herradura and Gran Centenario no longer have a place in my bar (with the exception of a few rogue cases left over from the 70s and 80s, smuggled into the country over the years.  The second prerequisite, of course, is fresh squeezed juice (no exceptions).


2 oz.       Tequila Blanco

½ oz.      Cointreau (Controy is also great), Grand-Marnier is chingón-deluxe

½ oz.      Agave nectar

1 oz.       Fresh-squeezed lime juice

Dash      Fresh-squeezed orange juice

Dash      Fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Pour first eight ingredients in a tin-on-tin mixing glass with ice, shake and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice.  Garnish with a thin-sliced lime wheel.  If you must salt the cocktail, gently roll one side of the lime-juiced glass in salt (make sure none gets in the drink).

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