The Best Way To Make A Margarita | HuffPost Life

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“It’s the world’s favorite cocktail, and there are good reasons why,” Jeremy Bohen, mixologist and co-founder of the canned cocktail brand QNSY, told HuffPost. “The ingredients are widely available and relatively inexpensive, and it doesn’t require much in the way of tools or technique. Plus, the flavors are straightforward enough for the occasional imbiber, but still sophisticated enough to appeal to a connoisseur.”

As you’re getting ready to shake your cocktail, keep in mind that another factor separating a “meh” at-home drink from a “wow” mixologist-made one is the quality of the ice you’re using. “If your ice tastes like the other things in your freezer, you’re in for a not-so-tasty surprise,” Reis said. “I don’t think most at-home drinkers realize how much of that ice turns into water that becomes a large portion of your drink. And if you’re using flimsy ice, it will melt too quickly, and you’ll wind up with a watery marg that’s not cold enough.”

The good news is that the alcohol you use in margaritas doesn’t need to be an over-the-top brand. “Choose a quality silver tequila, but don’t go crazy on price,” Bohen said. “Aged tequila is great to sip on its own, but in my opinion, it’s out of place in a margarita.” As you’re shopping, be sure to read labels carefully. “Tequila should be 100% agave,” Abaroa said. He’s a fan of blanco tequila, noting its “definitive, clean flavor.”

The presence of agave in tequila is key, the experts said. “Any tequila that doesn’t say ‘100% agave’ is usually mixed in with other materials like syrups and extracts, so stay away from those,” said Xyza Dapal, food and beverage operations manager at Philadelphia’s Sabroso + Sorbo in The Notary Hotel. While you’re reading labels, take note of where the bottle was produced. “Tequilas from the Los Altos region, with oven-baked agaves, really bring the citrus, fruit and roasted agave flavor,” Alvarado said.

Since it has just a few ingredients, you don’t need to cut corners with pre-made mixers. Those bright yellow and orange concoctions, Aviles said, are akin to “tempting the ulcer gods and dancing with diabetes.”

Sweetener: Most recipes call for agave or simple syrup, and preferences varied among our experts. “Use good organic agave nectar,” Albrecht-Carrié said. “I prefer a light amber, because darker agave nectars tend to overpower and need to be diluted.” On the other hand, you’ve probably got what you need in your pantry to whip up simple syrup, if you’d rather use that. “I know some people like to use agave in margaritas, and there’s some poetry there, but I much prefer simple syrup,” Bohen said. “It really is simple to make. Use equal parts water and sugar, warmed just enough to dissolve the sugar.”

Once you’ve mastered the art of juicing limes, you may want to experiment with flavors by tossing in other fresh ingredients. “Adding freshly cut jalapeño, mango, strawberry, avocado or even cilantro will elevate your margarita,” Alvarado said.

Salt: Whether you’re a salted-rim lover or hater, you can find a mixologist who shares your views. On the “pro” side, Wrigley is a believer. “Good salt is essential,” he said. “We use Maldon salt for the classics and homemade spicy salt, using local peppers, for our Spicy Margarita. Another fantastic element is Gusano salt, a Mexican salt using the ‘worm,’ a grub that feeds on ripe agaves. And we house-smoke salt, using local logwood, for our Mezcal Margaritas.”

Garnishes: Use fresh citrus twists or wedges, fresh peppers or anything else you like. Perhaps try checking out local ingredients to make a margarita truly “yours.” Alpers mentioned a unique garnish she enjoyed at Tucson’s El Crisol mezcal bar. “It was finished with a dried lime slice and creosote leaves,” she said. “Those leaves come from a bush native to Tucson that releases a sweet smell whenever it rains — or when it’s floating on top of a drink. It was a perfect expression of the Tucson desert in every way.”

Spicy touches: Once you’ve mastered the basics, you might want to incorporate other elements, like heat. “I remember the first time I had a spicy margarita, and it changed my entire understanding of what a margarita can be,” Yurczyk said. “I’m a Midwest native, so it didn’t take long for sweat to begin beading up around my nose and cheekbones, but I was addicted. I hadn’t realized it until that moment, but the tequila’s smoothness, lime juice’s acidity and orange liqueur’s sweetness were practically begging for the addition of spice.”

This content was originally published here.

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