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DCMark

Margarita

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I have been trying to get away from the nasty premixes. I read that the perfect mix is

(I will use oz instead of parts)

2 oz tequilla

1 oz triple sec

1/2 oz fresh lime juice.

Is this correct? It seems like this would be almost all liquor. Too strong.

I have been ritually using fresh squeezed lime juice (limes are damm expensive) but usually end up adding a bit of lemonade or orange juice to it. I know this is not 'prue'.

Any advice on a true (no special apple ones, etc) margarita? I did a search. Thanks

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Are limes really that expensive? Around here, I can usually get them at something like 4 for a dollar all the way up to 10 for a dollar, depending on the season. Needless to say, you have to use fresh lime juice. Lemonade and orange juice aren't going to get you there.

There seem to be two common formulations for a Margarita. One is the 3:2:1 formula, and the other is the 2:1:1 formula. This would translate to:

3:2:1 Margarita

1.5 oz : blanco tequila

1.0 oz : Cointreau

0.5 oz : fresh lime juice

2:1:1 Margarita

1.50 oz : blanco tequila

0.75 oz : Cointreau

0.75 oz : fresh lime juice

Your formula is 4:2:1, which strikes me as too heavy on the tequila, and it uses triple sec instead of Cointreau, which strikes me as too sweet and without enough orange flavor (and what flavor there is, is less refined).

Personally, I prefer the 2:1:1 formula. The 3:2:1 formula is too sweet for me, doesn't allow the flavor of the tequila to come through enough, and doesn't have that refreshing tartness from the lime. The 2:1:1 formula is tart, has just enough orange sweetness from the Cointreau and is balanced towards the base liquor enough to make it worthwhile to use a moderately priced 100% agave tequila. So I say:

2 oz : 100% agave blanco tequila

1 oz : Cointreau

1 oz : fresh lime juice

Shake with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (salt the rim lightly if you like, I don't).

Here is another recipe calling for more lime juice than triple sec.

Edited to change a lemon to a lime.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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The best I've ever had were at Topolobampo in Chicago. Here is a link to Bayless' recipe.

To keep this scientific (if my math skills are OK) he opts for a 6:3:2 ratio.


Bill Russell

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A good margarita is a revelation, isn't it? Except for the daiquiri, I think no other cocktail has been so abused (the abuse of the martini is in another class).

My rookie advice: use blanco, 100% agave tequila; the anejos are too soft and even-tempered. Do use a good triple sec (Cointreau and Marie Brizard are the only ones I've found that do a good job). And yes, fresh lime juice.

I've tried the recipe you posted, and it does lack the citrusy sparkle that a I think a margarita should have. The ratios that Sam suggests are worth trying; I use both, depending on my mood. (With the 2:1:1, I often rim with half salt/half demerra.)

Take a tiny sip before pouring, so that you can adjust the lime juice, if necessary.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Are limes really that expensive?  Around here, I can usually get them at something like 4 for a dollar all the way up to 10 for a dollar, depending on the season. 

IIRC, here in DC they are running 3 or 4 little suckers for $2.


Bill Russell

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Are limes really that expensive?  Around here, I can usually get them at something like 4 for a dollar all the way up to 10 for a dollar, depending on the season.

IIRC, here in DC they are running 3 or 4 little suckers for $2.

Highway robbery! Does DC have much of a Latino population?


--

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I've done extensive research on this very topic :biggrin: Back when I was dating my now-husband, he was simultaneously going through a very bad divorce and the very unexpected death of his father. Through it, he had a phase he now refers to as "margarita therapy." Along the way, he experimented until he's now a top notch marg maker.

We tend to go with a 1-1-1 proportion. From my experience, this is what most places in the southwest use as well. If your limes are especially sour, I might add a splash of orange or pineapple juice (or that nifty bottled pomegranite juice you can get nowadays.)

Tequila-wise, use high end tequila. I'm happy to realize that this board is one where I probably am not going to have to convince people that yes, you do indeed taste the tequila in the drink and that Cuervo is not the same as El Tesoro. The better the tequila, the better the marg. Silver (blanco), Gold (oro), it depends on the mood. I wouldn't say one is better than the other.

Definitely use high end triple sec. I'm not familiar with Marie Brizard, but I use Cointreau a lot, as well as Grand Marnier. I've experimented with other orange liqueurs as well, but in general I use one of the forementioned ones.

Put all the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, and shake well. Pour into glasses with more ice.

Yum. Now I want margaritas!

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Are limes really that expensive?  Around here, I can usually get them at something like 4 for a dollar all the way up to 10 for a dollar, depending on the season.

IIRC, here in DC they are running 3 or 4 little suckers for $2.

Highway robbery! Does DC have much of a Latino population?

Huge - mostly central American, especially in certain suburbs.


Bill Russell

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Two questions:

How strong is your triple sec? Is it the standard cheapie 15% or is it the higher alcohol by volume stuff?

Do you shake your margaritas?

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How strong is your triple sec? Is it the standard cheapie 15% or is it the higher alcohol by volume stuff?

Cointreau is 40%, and Marie Brizard (IMO the only triple sec worth buying other than Cointreau) is 30%.

Do you shake your margaritas?

Absolutely. Shake, strain, serve "up" in a cocktail glass. A Margarita, after all, belongs in the same family as the Sidecar (base liquor, Cointreau, citrus juice).

Are limes really that expensive?  Around here, I can usually get them at something like 4 for a dollar all the way up to 10 for a dollar, depending on the season.
IIRC, here in DC they are running 3 or 4 little suckers for $2.
Highway robbery! Does DC have much of a Latino population?
Huge - mostly central American, especially in certain suburbs.

I would think you could get limes at a much better price in Latin markets. Here in Manhattan (and especially in my neighborhood) it may be the case that Latinos are intermixed with all the other various "types" that limes are always in high demand, and thus less expensive due do volume. I have noticed that limes are more expensive in upscale markets like Garden of Eden that tend to be patronized mostly by Anglos.


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In Philadelphia, citrus prices veer wildly around two poles. On the one hand, supermarkets charge outrageous prices: two limes for a dollar, for example. But on the other, you can get limes at Latin or Asian markets or at the Italian Market for like 10/$1.

Once I'd discovered these sources, I started drinking a lot more margaritas. I like a 1:1:1 ratio, and sometimes use a little lemon juice mixed into the lime, which brightens the flavor a little.

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You're not seriously letting the price of limes curb your margarita jones, are you? Even at 1:1:1 with 50-cent limes, if you're using decent liquor, the citrus is easily the cheapest part of the drink, no?


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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How strong is your triple sec? Is it the standard cheapie 15% or is it the higher alcohol by volume stuff?

Cointreau is 40%, and Marie Brizard (IMO the only triple sec worth buying other than Cointreau) is 30%.

See I asked, cuz that would change the ratios. A 2 to 1 to 1/2 ratio is great for a shaken margarita made with the 15% stuff, but tastes too strong with any of the stiffer triple secs.

If you were using the 40% Cointreau, 1 to 1 to 1 would be a good ratio. However with the Brizard, 1 to 1 to 1 would probably end up being too weak. With the Brizard, a 2 to 1 to 1 ratio would probably work better.

Or you could try cutting the recipe with orange juice:

2 parts tequila

1/2 part brizard

1/2 part orange juice

1/2 part lime juice

Shake and strain. (I asked about the shaking because if it tasted too strong using good ratios, it might just be a case of not shaking it long and hard enough. :P)


Edited by mbanu (log)

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How strong is your triple sec? Is it the standard cheapie 15% or is it the higher alcohol by volume stuff?

Cointreau is 40%, and Marie Brizard (IMO the only triple sec worth buying other than Cointreau) is 30%.

MB is 39%.

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mbanu, I think I understand what you're saying but it's more a matter of flavor for me than it is one of alcoholic strength (although that's important). Marie Brizard triple sec is sweeter and less "orangey" compared to Cointreau, and the drop off is fairly steep after Marie Brizard with most lesser brands of triple sec being substantially sweeter than Cointreau with substantially less orange flavor. Cointreau's refined orange flavor allows me to get good flavor from it in a 2:1:1 Margarita and its (relative) dryness lets it work okay in a 3:2:1 Margarita (personally, I think I would find an "equal parts" Margarita with Cointreau too sweet and limey with not enough tequila flavor). Marie Brizard is close enough to Cointreau that I don't think any big adjustments need to be made. If I were using some lesser-than-Marie-Brizard triple sec, on the other hand, I'd be inclined to use less triple sec in order to keep the drink from becoming overly sweet. I'd never consider a 3:2:1 Margarita, and even 2:1:1 would be sweeter than I'd like. I'd probably start off with 2:3/4:1 and maybe even use less triple sec than that.

That, to me, is the problem with triple sec compared to Cointreau: much more sweetness, much less orange flavor. You naturally want to use less triple sec to avoid making the drink overly sweet, but at the same time you naturally want to use more triple sec because it has less orange flavor to begin with. It's impossible to do both, of course, so you have to decide what is more important to you. I'd rather have a dryer drink with less orange flavor if I'm forced to choose.

How strong is your triple sec? Is it the standard cheapie 15% or is it the higher alcohol by volume stuff?

Cointreau is 40%, and Marie Brizard (IMO the only triple sec worth buying other than Cointreau) is 30%.

MB is 39%.

Is it? I could be mistaken. I'm away from home, so I don't have any bottles around and I just googled it. These guys say it's 60 proof.


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A 2 to 1 to 1/2 ratio is great for a shaken margarita made with the 15% stuff, but tastes too strong with any of the stiffer triple secs.

That's entirely a matter of opinion--for me, this tastes just right. But then again, I'm notorious for liking drinks--Martinis, Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds, etc., etc.--with a high booze-to-filler ratio.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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How strong is your triple sec? Is it the standard cheapie 15% or is it the higher alcohol by volume stuff?

Cointreau is 40%, and Marie Brizard (IMO the only triple sec worth buying other than Cointreau) is 30%.

MB is 39%.

Is it? I could be mistaken. I'm away from home, so I don't have any bottles around and I just googled it. These guys say it's 60 proof.

Well, I just checked my bottle, and it's 78 proof. Maybe it's a recent change?

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A 2 to 1 to 1/2 ratio is great for a shaken margarita made with the 15% stuff, but tastes too strong with any of the stiffer triple secs.

That's entirely a matter of opinion--for me, this tastes just right. But then again, I'm notorious for liking drinks--Martinis, Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds, etc., etc.--with a high booze-to-filler ratio.

Well, part of the uncertainty with chilled drinks in general and shaken drinks in particular is that it can be very tricky to calculate the meltage on a consistent basis. There's so many variables involved. (original starting temperature of the ingredients, amount of ice they're being shook with, size of the cubes, number of cocktails being shaken at once, length & strength of shaking, size of the shaker, whether you said a prayer to the cocktail gods before hand, etc. etc. etc.) This can really screw with the proof of the finished cocktail one way or the other, so I agree it's hard to go with a "one true ratio" format. :)

Plus like you said, some people prefer their drinks a bit stiffer than others. And some drinks (the old-fashioned comes to mind) are designed to be stiff. They're more what I'd call "shot drinks" than cocktails, though.

I usually just try to fudge it. Given the way I typically shake my drinks, usually if the cocktail starts out somewhere between 25 and 30% abv it usually turns out fine when it leaves the shaker, so that's the target I shoot for when calculating ratios. :)


Edited by mbanu (log)

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MB is 39%.
Is it? I could be mistaken. I'm away from home, so I don't have any bottles around and I just googled it.  These guys say it's 60 proof.

Well, I just checked my bottle, and it's 78 proof. Maybe it's a recent change?

Mine, too.

I just made a 2:1:1 margarita. (How many of us have done this tonight?) Maybe it's a rapidly evolving palate, but it tastes perfect to me -- better than the 3:2:1.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Cook's Illustrated (of all places) has a pretty interesting tip for margaritas: zest the limes and marinate the zest in the juice overnight (then strain). I recently gave it a try and the results were excellent-- added a really nice lime flavor kick.

Note to DC people: find an Asian grocery store in the burbs. Limes are 10 for $1 there.


Edited by cjsadler (log)

Chris Sadler

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I use a 2:1:1 ratio with Cointreau. I however find that the limes make a tremendous difference. I know very little about the different varieties of limes, but I do know the ones in Mexico are sweeter and juicier. So make sure your limes are ripe enough and at room temp when squeezing. If you have an ethnic market close by, buy them there. I've had really good luck at BJ's Wholesale of all places but I think that is because they are really ripe (and the cost is really low).

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I'm with the 1:1:1 contingent. We make 'ritas all summer starting with the first night it's warm enough to dine outside. Always fresh lime juice. 1800 tequila, never reposado. (Of course, Patron Silver makes a great 'rita also). We never find this ratio too sweet, and it's never so strong with alcohol that we can't drink them well into the night. Everyone we serve them to loves them. Shaken and straight up. And in a martini glass. With the respect they deserve. Makes my mouth water just thinking about them.

It's a very personal thing, like martinis. Hard to change someone's tastes when it comes to

cocktails.


Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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That, to me, is the problem with triple sec compared to Cointreau: much more sweetness, much less orange flavor.  You naturally want to use less triple sec to avoid making the drink overly sweet, but at the same time you naturally want to use more triple sec because it has less orange flavor to begin with.  It's impossible to do both, of course, so you have to decide what is more important to you.  I'd rather have a dryer drink with less orange flavor if I'm forced to choose.

I'll echo what Sam says here. I think the sweetness of lower quality (and proof) triple secs means you'd want to use less, not more. You can partially make up for the lack of orange flavor by twisting a wide strip of orange rind into the drink, though.

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Oh. I checked tonight. Limes in the Atlanta burbs -- excuse me, the outlying counties -- are a buck a pound (between five and six fruits), in two-pound bags at Kroger.

Dave, if you are up in this direction (Gwinnett County) try the Gwinnett Int'l Farmers' Market (or Fammer's Market as is mis-printed on all of their aprons). It is in the old Pro Bass store on Shackleford Rd (between Steve Reynolds and Pleasant Hill) just down fr/ the Home Depot. Limes are 10/$1 this week and were on sale at 20/$1 last week. Lemons were 6/$1. I stocked up for the store and for home use.

In any case you might want to check the place out just for fun. As a chef once said to me, "those markets are like a 'Toys R' Us' just for chefs".

btw, when is the family vacation?


in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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