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Gillman
01-29-2007, 19:31
Tonight I made 3 margaritas, drinking small amounts of each.

Each was made with a half lime squeezed, about half-ounce triple sec, 2 ounces tequila. Well stirred, no ice. After tasting each, I added a dash of Grand Marnier to each, which was a slight improvement.

The first used a blend of tequilas I made which incorporates a South African tequila-like drink. This did not work well, due I think to that South African drink which has a very earthy flavor I find hard to like.

The second used only 4 Copas Blanco. This was better, but the big vegetal flavor of tequila rang through and I am not used to it (I almost never drink tequila).

The third one used only Herradura Reposado. This I liked the best. The tequila flavor was evident but seemed more refined, tamed. There were no earthy green pepper notes or rather they were much more subtle than in the other versions. With the Grand Marnier (just a light dash) this was an excellent drink and I am finishing that one.

Gary

doubleblank
01-29-2007, 19:43
Chuck and I have posted our fondness for Herradura Reposado before. It is good straight up and makes an excellent margarita with just a slight bit of wood making itself known. BTW, a Heradura Margarita on the rocks with salt is my mother's one and only cocktail when made right. I usually make mine with the juice of several limes and add a little bar syrup for sweetness and use Grand Marnier if I have it. Always salted for me. Over ice in a low ball glass.

Randy

heatmiser
01-29-2007, 20:41
Okay, margaritas have been a long standing #1 drink in our house for many years. I set out about a year ago to develop the worlds best margarita. In the opinion of my wife and all of my friends I have achieved this status. The key is making your own margarita mix. I squeeze my own limes and make my own simple syrup. In my quest I have come to realize that there is nothing more important than the margarita mix since these flavors tend to overpower the tequila and orange liqueur. Knowing I would be squeezing tons of limes, I went out and bought a Breville citrus press and it works awesome. Here are the step by step directions:

1) Buy a pack (or two) of Costco limes & squeeze 'em all
2) Buy a large bag of C&H granulated sugar for making your own simple syrup
- Mix 1 part water to 2 parts sugar
- Bring to a boil stirring constantly
- Let cool and refrigerate (lasts forever)
3) Mix the straight lime juice with the simple syrup to adjust to your taste preference balancing the same amount of sweet with the same amount of sour.
4) Add spring water (if you want) to lime/sugar mixture to dilute mix down to your personal preference
5) Chill the completed margarita mix overnight
6) To make the margarita, mix the following:
- 4 parts margarita mix
- 2 parts tequia (blanco, reposado or a combination)
- 1 part (or less, like I prefer) orange liqueur. I prefer Patron Citron liqueur since it is not as overpowering as Cointreau or Grand Marnier.

Note #1 - I have tried expensive tequilas and expensive orange liquers and the end result is not any better than picking up mid shelf mellow-tasting 100% agave blanco or reposado tequilas (JC Traditional, Herradura and my new favorite Los Fernandez - $12 per 750ml) along with mid shelf orange liquers (Patron Citron or really any good inexpensive triple sec).

Note #2 - If you want to try something a little different, buy some agave syrup and use this in conjunction with your simple syrup to sweeten your freshly made margarita mix to your preference.

Note #3 - If you want frozen margaritas all you need to do is pour your freshly made margarita mix in ice cube trays and let freeze overnight. Throw about 8-10 cubes in the blender with 2 ounces of tequila and 1 ounce orange liqueur. Blend and BOOM! Awesome frozen margaritas without any big ice chunks! A party favorite!

cowdery
01-30-2007, 04:22
I have done the homemade sweet-and-sour mix and it's good. Only caveat is that it doesn't keep very long, maybe two weeks at the outside. I've tried a few of the store-bought S&S mixes and like Mr. and Mrs. T ("I pity the poor fool who doesn't use my Sweet and Sour mix.") the best. Notice I prefer S&S mix to so-called margarita mix, though I'm not really sure what the difference is.

I think what I may do next time the spirit moves me is make some simple syrup and use it with limes squeezed for the drink, rather than combining the lime juice with the simple syrup. That, I suspect, will provide just the right freshness and sweetness.

I find that the drink does need that extra sweetness, which is a variation of the traditional recipe. In other words, I'm thinking the ideal would be the traditional recipe, using fresh lime juice, with a little simple syrup.

I have been happy with generic triple sec. As for tequila, I love Herradura Reposado, as Randy mentioned, but for margaritas and even some straight sipping I consider Sauza Hornitos, a 100% agave reposado, to be a good substitute at about half the price.

heatmiser
01-30-2007, 08:25
Hornito's makes a good margarita. It has a little more pepper than what I like but it is very good and reasonably priced. There are other 100% agave tequilas out there that I feel make better margaritas and are less expensive than Hornito's (ie. Los Fernandez). My freshly made margarita mix (aka sweet & sour mix - same thing just marketing) lasts about 1 week when refrigerated. However, frozen cubes last much longer. I usually only make the mix for parties the day before and it never lasts longer than the event I made it for.

For a spur of the moment margarita I will hand squeeze limes and mix my simple syrup/agave nectar on the spot. I always have plenty of simple syrup/agave nectar in my refrigerator in case I am in the mood...

jeff
01-30-2007, 11:54
I suspect that this is like the "worlds best martini", in that everyone has their own strong opinions as to how it should be done. My recipe is similar to yours though, to my tastes, the perfect margarita needs no simple syrup, or any sugar for that matter. Fresh limes, good tequila and Cointreau or GM. :yum:

Joeluka
01-30-2007, 18:13
Technically Sweet & Sour is Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, and Simple Syrup. Margarita Mix is Usually just Lime Juice and Simple Syrup.

heatmiser
01-30-2007, 20:35
Technically Sweet & Sour is Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, and Simple Syrup. Margarita Mix is Usually just Lime Juice and Simple Syrup.

You are correct but when you break everything down the limes/lemons are the sour and the sugar is the sweet. So margarita mix is really a sweet & sour mix. BTW - I have made my margarita mix with both lemons and limes and it tastes good as well.

Joeluka
01-30-2007, 21:09
Interesting way of looking at lemon and limes. I will agree with the "citrus" is sour but I bartend and every shift I make both sweet and sour and Margarita mix. I make them the two different ways I just stated. I guess this is just what Jeff meant in his post. All that really matters is how YOU like it and how YOUR guests enjoy it.

Sometimes I'll squeeze a orange or two into my version of the "Sweet and Sour".

I would love to get together for some Margarita's one day anyway. If your on Long Island PM me and we'll get together.

BarItemsPlus1
01-31-2007, 15:15
G'day Guys...been reading this thread and taking in all your tips, Cheers!

I am going to be making myself some margaritas using the advice/tips given. I've never been one for cocktails but I 'have' to sample some Tequila for work and so I thought about making the margaritas...great tips, thanks!

Gillman
07-29-2007, 16:26
More adventures with Margarita tonight. Based both on reviewing the posts in this thread and my own reading and experience, I feel the "original" Margarita is best, i.e., tequila, triple sec and lime.

I think the Margarita mixes are developments to achieve this taste without squeezing fresh limes although I've had excellent margaritas made this way.

But starting from scratch, I used a blend of tequilas I made a while ago (mostly gold-type tequilas with one or two good blancos added), a dash of vodka for display (to blend and improve the flavours of the mix), about half the triple sec to tequila in the glass or less, and a whole lotta limes freshly squeezed. No ice, and I was told once in Phoenix that the drink originally did not call for it, just as the similarly made rum punch ('ti punch') of the Caribbean didn't.

Anyway it was excellent: full of earthy tequila taste, a little salty and vegetal, sweetish and orangey and sharp from the limes. Ole!

Gary

ratcheer
07-29-2007, 17:57
I wish I was there, Gary. ;)

Tim

Gillman
07-29-2007, 20:06
Thanks Tim! I am thinking of substituting a freshly made batch of Margarita for Sazerac at the next Gazebo, just to change things around a bit. Easy cocktail to make in its classic form and oddly (or perhaps not) it is quite refreshing without a particle of ice in it - not that many people would drink it like that I guess. This reminds me that the Sazerac too originally was taken sans ice, the pink gin too. Probably all the great cocktails were.

Gary

ratcheer
07-30-2007, 17:30
I've always been interested in pink gin. Every one I've ever tried to make was terrible. Do you have any tips, Gary?

Tim

Gillman
07-30-2007, 17:59
Indeed. Take any "red" bitters (Angostura is a classic). Pour in a stemmed glass. Swish around. Pour out excess (I place it back in the bitters bottle). Pour in two ounces any good dry gin, Plymouth preferred, but it doesn't matter, you want something with good body and not too aromatic. Swirl again. That's it.

You can add ice (I do not, originally ice was not used). You can add a little sugar which sometimes helps: it depends on the gin. It is possible that originally, the gins used were lightly sweet.

Chin chin.

Gary

barturtle
07-30-2007, 18:04
I've always been interested in pink gin. Every one I've ever tried to make was terrible. Do you have any tips, Gary?

Tim


Just a thought here, but a quick check shows the Pink Gin being popular just before or during the development of London Dry Gin. This leads me to think that bitters is going to work well with a heavier style gin, even a genever. I would think that at the lightest Plymouth Gin would work....Just my thoughts

Gillman
07-30-2007, 18:33
I agree fully.

Gary

cowdery
07-30-2007, 19:34
It's pretty well established in food testing that if you want something to taste "better," in 1:1 testing, the way to get there is to add sugar. The "secret" to the restaurant margaritas most people think taste so good is more sugar. That's all the mixes really add, flavor-wise. So, if you prefer the "original" recipe, you are basically just opting for a less-sweet drink. You can make either version with fresh fruit or concentrate, with or without added sugar, to achieve whatever taste you prefer. I've gotten in the habit of using the sweet and sour mix because it's easy and people seem to like it.

I did recently go a bridge too far on triple sec cheapness, purchasing a store brand that is really sub-par. I have, however, found Bols quite acceptable. In other words, I don't feel compelled to use Conitreau.

TNbourbon
07-30-2007, 19:46
...I did recently go a bridge too far on triple sec cheapness, purchasing a store brand that is really sub-par. I have, however, found Bols quite acceptable. In other words, I don't feel compelled to use Conitreau.

Bols = under $6 per 375ml.
Cointreau = over $20 per 375ml.
Taste difference in a mixed drink = minimal

Good choice, Chuck.

Gillman
07-30-2007, 20:02
I agree again. I find some triple sec a little less intense than others. If you want the orange effect more, you can add orange bitters or a dash of Grand Marnier (same idea as discussed previously for an old-fashioned).

Some sweetness is essential but all triple sec I know has (despite the name) some sweetness already, so depending how much you use, that may be enough.

The sweet and sour bar mixes were, I think, originally designed to convey the lime taste, to substitute for fresh limes, and in the process were sweetened (as lime cordials are too - same idea) to help carry the lime. And if bar mixes add sugar, well, you can add less triple sec to achieve the balance you want: for me it is six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Thus, it is all a question, as Chuck says, of how sweet you like it. I like it medium sweet (otherwise the drink seems to lack balance) but I find the triple secs I've bought sweet enough if you add enough.

Gary

wadewood
07-30-2007, 22:16
If you want the orange effect more, you can add orange bitters

Gary - have you tried that Blood orange bitters?

I made some margaritas this past weekend. Homemade simple syrup, Fresh Lime juice, Herradura Blanco, Cointreau, and a dash of Fees Orange Bitters.

Gillman
07-31-2007, 01:07
Yes I just tried it, it is very interesting. As the label states, it is intentionally a milder, sweeter bitters. The orange flavour is very nice. I have used it in Manhattans and it is great. Depending on the type of recipe or effect I want I might combine it with Angostura or Peychaud. It is a good example of a bitters that would assist a less costly triple sec very well. Thanks again for noticing it.

Gary

ratcheer
07-31-2007, 16:36
My wife likes frozen margaritas and her recipe is very simple. One can of frozen limeade concentrate, one can of tequila, and lots of ice in the blender. The idea is abhorrent, but the drinks are actually pretty good.

Tim

CrispyCritter
07-31-2007, 21:55
I did recently go a bridge too far on triple sec cheapness, purchasing a store brand that is really sub-par. I have, however, found Bols quite acceptable. In other words, I don't feel compelled to use Conitreau.

Luxardo makes a very nice triple sec (Triplum) that's about $20 for a 750 ml bottle. Do not pick up an opened bottle of this by the neck, though - the cap and the metal collar surrounding the bottle neck will bite you hard. I know this from experience.

gblick
07-31-2007, 23:19
You that are delving into margaritas might try a product called Citronge (it's made by Patron and is like Cointreau and Triple Sec, etc). Now while most 'true tequila afficianados' abhor Patron as a tequila (because it's overly hyped up and really not very good), most of the ones who enjoy an occasional margarita will tell you that the Citronge product made by Patron is actually pretty good. I'm not much into margaritas myself, but as a longtime tequila drinker I'm passing along a tip I picked up in the tequila forums.

ratcheer
08-01-2007, 15:18
I'm not much into margaritas myself, but as a longtime tequila drinker I'm passing along a tip I picked up in the tequila forums.

Tequila forums? !!! What will they think of, next?

Tim

Phischy
08-03-2007, 10:43
I don't use top shelf tequila in making a 'rita. Doesn't make sense, you wouldn't serve RVW 20yr cut with coke. A good mid-grade, Sauza hornito's or something of that grade is perfectly fine.

Mine:

2 shots Hornitos
1 shot cointreau
juice of 1 lime
table spoon of corase raw cane sugar (I don't want it all to dissolve)

Fill shaker w/ ice, add booze, shakeshakeshake, pour. I also lime the rim of the glass and rarely use salt.

ratcheer
08-03-2007, 13:03
My wife likes frozen margaritas and her recipe is very simple. One can of frozen limeade concentrate, one can of tequila, and lots of ice in the blender. The idea is abhorrent, but the drinks are actually pretty good.

Tim

Oops. I forgot another ingredient. 1/2 can of triple sec. :o

Tim

cowdery
08-03-2007, 16:04
Ahhh, canned triple sec. :)

jburlowski
08-03-2007, 16:34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratcheer http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?p=93468#post93468)
My wife likes frozen margaritas and her recipe is very simple. One can of frozen limeade concentrate, one can of tequila, and lots of ice in the blender. The idea is abhorrent, but the drinks are actually pretty good.

Tim

Oops. I forgot another ingredient. 1/2 can of triple sec. :o

Let's see...

leave out the limeade, and the triple sec, and double the teaquila.... now that's a good cocktail!

bigtoys
08-03-2007, 20:42
If you make the simple syrup (really easy) and put it in the fridge, it keeps a long time--like a year. I did have one batch go bad (turned black and moldy). Don't add the lime until you're ready to make the marg or maybe the day before.

I use Don Julio, Patron, Herradura, Tezon reposado or even anejo. Another favorite is 1921 (pic below), but it's hard to get. For the orange liqueur, Cointreau, Gran Torres, Gran Gala.

Here's my proportions--I play around with the proportions:
2-3 oz Tequila
.75-1 oz Orange Liqueuer
3-4 oz 3:1 Fresh squeezed lime juice: simple syrup

BTW, don't even try lime juice from a bottle--ya gotta use fresh. I like the Costco idea. I have a green lime squeezer that is really efficient at squeezing the lime, one half at a time. Here's a pic; it comes in 3 sizes for limes,lemons, oranges.
http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i276/drkeng/squeezer.jpg

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i276/drkeng/1921.jpg

TBoner
08-04-2007, 10:18
Agreed on using fresh-squeezed lime juice. Chuck nailed it by pointing out that the mixes, and many restaurant margaritas, use sugar to stretch the drink and provide mouthfeel, and that many customers have fallen in love with the ultra-sweet flavor. Here in TX, I've been used to drinking a lot of very sweet frozen margaritas. About a year ago, though, I tried one using a more-or-less classic 3:2:1 formual of tequila:triple sec:lime juice, shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass. It blew me away. There's more than enough sweetness, a nice tart balance, and true agave tequila flavor
A lousy tequila is not so great in this drink, but anything 100% agave is fine. I don't go too high-dollar, generally, but I'm not opposed to it. I rarely drink a frozen or rocks margarita anymore, but as the proportion of tequila in the drink goes down, the quality of the tequila seems to matter less. As for triple sec, I'll second the mention of Patron Citronge. It's nice stuff. I use homemade orange liqueur generally, Cointreau occasionally. Instead of Gran Marnier, I usually buy GranGala at 2/3 the price. It's brandy-based, and a very reasonable substitute. This makes a very different drink, but it's quite good, too.
Oh, and if you can find agave syrup at your health food store or a good grocery store, it's a nice way to add extra sweetness if you and/or your guests prefer, and it boosts the agave flavor, too, of course.
By the way, that 3:2:1 formula is really a drink with endless variations. Sub cognac for the tequila and use lemon juice instead of lime, and you have a Sidecar. Use gin instead of the tequila and you've got a Pegu Club cocktail (though there's a lot of debate about the proportions on this drink). Vodka as the base spirit plus a splash of cranberry juice and you have the original recipe for the Cosmpolitan (for those so inclined).

bigtoys
08-17-2007, 22:25
Had a marg last night with Don Julio blanco, Gran Marnier and the juice from some pretty good size limes along with a bit of syrup...one of my better creations.