Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Margarita: Tequila is so misunderstood

Tequila glorious tequila!!!  This Mexican icon is sometimes so misunderstood.  People all the time tell me how disgusting they think it is, yet they still get peer pressured into licking some salt, taking a shot then sucking on some lemon. I think almost everyone out there has a tragic tequila story.  No doubt there is some cheap shonky tequila out there, which i would not wish upon anyone, but there also some a lot of great ones, which are used in many amazing cocktails. The greatest tequila cocktail of them all, the margarita.

Now i know what your going to ask, "What makes a great tequila?", "Which tequila's are good and which are bad?. To be honest, that's completely up to you. You're the best judge. I have my personal favourites (Patron, Herradura, 1800) but everyones taste buds are different.  The argument of which tequila should be used in a margarita could go on for hours,  but for this exercise, I'm going for the 1800 Anejo. Anejo refers to how long the tequila has been aged for. Anejo means the tequila has been aged for over 12 months. Which i think works well in a margarita. It's give the drink a nice smokey flavour. You can also get 'extra anejo', which is tequila that is aged longer than 3 years. You may also hear the terms "blanco" and "reposado" which means aged less than 2 months for blanco, and between 2 - 12 months for reposado.

Getting back to the margarita... There are so many different stories on how this cocktail came about. We know that it was some time during the 1930s. One tale about the margarita is that it was invented by bartender, Pancho Morales at Tommy's Bar in Juarez, Mexico. A customer asked Pancho for a "Magnolia". He couldn't remember the ingredients for a magnolia except cointreau. So he improvised by adding tequila and lime juice along with the cointreau.

So in a shaker, we begin with 45ml 1800 anejo tequila. Followed by 15ml of Cointreau and lastly 30ml of lime juice. Add ice and shake. There are 2 common ways of serving. Strained into an margarita glass (which is similar to a martini glass) or serve over ice in a short glass. How ever you decide to serve the margarita, before you do, it's tradition to serve it with a salted rim around the glass. Salt is often associated with tequila because it is said to mask the bitterness of the tequila. I believe that the salt can sometimes enhance the drink. It brings together the 3 ingredients nicely. Now days the salt rim is optional. Pour or strain the contents of your shaker in to your glass and enjoy.

Tequila is not as bad as many people make out, and a great margarita can prove that. Have fun!!!

In a shaker:
45ml Tequila
15ml Cointreau
30ml Lime juice
Add ice and shake,
rim glass with salt and strain contents of your shaker.

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