Friday, August 4, 2017

Squid Mixes: Margaritas

Naturally, you are all avid followers of Hungry Enough to Eat Six, the outstanding food blog of my good friend and budding local celebrity, Nancy Mock.  As such, you already know about the food challenge gatherings she hosts.  Her latest, just last month, was the 2nd Annual Taco & Maragarita Off.  This was my second year bringing a margarita pitcher.  Last year, I took the easy way and bought a mix.  This time, I made it from scratch.  The only significant difference in terms of prep work is squeezing the limes myself.

I got my basic proportions from the recipe in The New York Bartender's Guide: 3 parts silver tequila, 1 part triple sec, 2 parts lime juice.  Drink recipes are no more standardized than any other food recipes.  Charles Schumann's American Bar sets the proportions at 2:1:1, calls specifically for Cointreau as the triple sec and uses lemon juice rather than lime.  The official IBA (International Bar Association) ratio is 7:4:3. 

At my wife's wise suggestion, I split the lime juice in halves between fresh squeezed and bottled.  Juicing can be hard work but I'd gotten into a bit of a groove by the time I reached my quota so it was tempting to keep going.  I stared back and forth between the limes in the bag and the lime juice in the bottle.  Laziness won out.

Cointreau is to triple sec as cognac is to brandy.  It's the same stuff, just higher quality at higher cost.  Cointreau is also a brand name.  As such, I'd rather use a lower-shelf triple sec if I can.  I had some of the higher grade on hand if I needed to supplement, thereby classing it up a touch, but didn't need it in the end.

This event was non-competitive but my pitcher went quickly so I think it passed the Basic Acceptability Test.  My wife is my most important critic.  She said it was good, though a bit strong.  I have found in general that The New York Bartender's Guide tends to make strong drinks but it's worth noting in this case that the recipe was actually lower in alcohol content than others I saw.  Next time, perhaps I would add more ice cubes to help dilute it.

22 comments:

  1. Laziness won out.

    If it wasn't for premade margarita mix my wife and I would be restricted to beer and seriously cheap wine.

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    1. I hear you. That is how I have come to feel about making my own beer when other people do it so well. But for me, the mixing is fun.

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  2. So far, Margaritas haven't really been my thing.
    Maybe I just haven't had a good one.

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    1. I enjoy them, though I don't like the salted rim, which begs the question of whether or not I'm drinking a margarita at all.

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    2. Exactly! Which always makes me wonder whether I'm doing it wrong. I mean, I've been told that the salt is "essential," but it doesn't do anything for me at all.

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  3. Sounds you got the right mix for it to be a hit.

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    1. I suppose. Or my friends have low standards. 😉

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  4. Sounds like it was good. I like the idea of half real limes and half lime juice. Juicing can be tiring. :) Also, the Margarita and Taco Off sounds like fun.
    ~Jess

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    1. If it had been a competitive affair, I would have gone with all fresh limes, just in principle.

      It was definitely fun.

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  5. My migraines took alcohol away. Margarita is the only drink I miss.

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  6. I had 3:2:1 margaritas in college once. Everyone one said I had a fun night...
    😉

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    1. Tequila is crazy juice. Most of the truly boneheaded things I have done in my life have involved tequila.

      I am not promoting hedonism with these posts, people. For the love of god, drink responsibly!

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  7. That looks good! Are there such things as virgin margaritas? I used to love margaritas when I drank alcohol, and I sort of miss them.

    I was shocked when I found virgin Sangria in a Mexican restaurant. I wanted to buy a few bottles. :D

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    1. There are loads of virgin margarita recipes online with various ideas of how to make it work best. The main flavor agent is the lime juice so I would probably start with that. You could use agave syrup to account for the tequila and orange peel for the triple sec. I would think the danger would be in over-sweetening. Some recipes I have seen involve sugary sodas which seems risky. To be true to the original, you'd need to let the tartness of the lime carry the day, using the other ingredients for accents.

      The more I think about it, the more it seems a worthy experiment. Maybe for next year's gathering!

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  8. I've tried virgin margaritas and love them. But I haven't tried non-virgin so far.

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  9. Ooh, I love a good Margarita :)

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  10. Good job in being at least a bit less lazy this year! :P

    Sounds like a fun challenge :)

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    1. Thanks! Less laziness seems a worthy life goal.

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