The original Margarita
Before there was a Margarita, said Eric Felten in The Wall Street Journal, there was the Tequila Daisy—“a mix of tequila, citrus juice, and grenadine served over shaved ice.” The first recipe in print appeared in the December 1953 issue of Esquire. Later Los Angeles Times correspondent Gene Sherman went to Mexico and reported that there the drink was named after “a sultry lady”—though he admitted that the word for “daisy” in Spanish happens to be margarita. The recipe for a Tequila Daisy couldn’t be easier:
2 oz blanco tequila
1 oz Cointreau
¾ oz fresh lime juice
Shake with ice and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass or champagne saucer that has been lightly rimmed (or not) with salt. And be sure that your tequila is made from 100 percent agave.
The ultimate Margarita
We got tired of Margaritas “made with little more than ice, tequila, and artificially flavored syrups,” said the editors of Cook’s Illustrated. So we set ourselves a challenge—to make the ultimate Margarita. It had to keep the correct proportions (“equal parts juice, orange liqueur, and tequila”) and use the right alcohol (“Triple Sec and a reposado tequila made with 100 percent blue agave”). It also had to perfectly balance tequila with fresh citrus flavors. The best citrus mix turns out to be lemon-and-lime zest steeped in their own juices. “Finish off with a bit of sugar and a pinch of salt.”
4 tsp grated lime zest
½ cup lime juice from 2 to 3 medium limes
4 tsp grated lemon zest
½ cup lemon juice from 2 to 3 medium lemons
¼ cup superfine sugar
Pinch table salt
2 cups crushed ice
1 cup 100 percent agave tequila, preferably reposado
1 cup Triple Sec
Combine lime zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt in large liquid measuring cup; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until flavors meld, 4 to 24 hours.
Divide 1 cup crushed ice between 4 or 6 Margarita or double Old Fashioned glasses. Strain juice mixture into 1-quart pitcher or cocktail shaker. Add tequila, Triple Sec, and remaining crushed ice; stir or shake until thoroughly combined and chilled, 20 to 60 seconds. Strain into ice-filled glasses; serve immediately.