How to Make the Perfect Margarita

However you decide to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, you should definitely consider a Margarita. You can take the agave spirit-based cocktail to the next level with a healthy dose of citrus and a bit of sweetener, along with perhaps a touch of salt.

Before the recent rise in cocktail culture, mangled margaritas were the norm. The most popular tequila-based drink in the U.S., this is a mixed drink that even the cheesiest, low-quality bars proffer. Some cheap tequila, no-name orange liqueur. ice and “sour mix,” swirled in a plastic cup is one of the most common offerings at all-inclusive resorts or other non-caring bar venues.

But the margarita has a richer history (though no one is exactly sure of its origin story), and deserves better than that. In search of the perfect version, we chatted with tequila aficionado Brian Sirhal, a longtime beverage director and manager of several Mexican restaurants in and around Philadelphia, each with more than 50 different tequilas in stock.

“There are two really important factors in a great margarita,” Sirhal says. “Quality liquor, and fresh fruit juice. Do not, under any circumstances, use a pre-made, artificially flavored sour mix.” The two spirits in question are tequila (of course) and an orange liqueur, which is most commonly Triple Sec but could instead be something of higher quality, such as Cointreau, or even Grand Marnier. What about a salted rim? “That’s simply a matter of personal taste,” he adds, noting that in his restaurants he uses simple kosher salt.

Sirhal also turns away from the conventional blanco (un-aged) tequila, suggesting instead the more flavorful reposado, which has been barrel-aged between two months and a year. The recipe for one of his favorite versions, dubbed “La Bestia,” is below.

La Bestia Margarita

1½ oz. El Tesoro Reposado
½ oz. Patron Citronge
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
¼ oz. fresh lime juice
Simple syrup to taste

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with large cubes of ice and shake. If desired rim a glass with salt – either a coupe or a high ball. If serving “up,” strain into coupe glass. If serving on the rocks, pour into high ball. Take a sip, sit back, and enjoy the tropical harmony of flavors.

Photos by Danya Henninger


Tags: Cocktails, Spirits, Tequila
Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Behind the Bar: Tory Pratt of Pratt Standard

Behind the Bar: Tory Pratt of Pratt Standard

In this edition of Behind the Bar, we chatted with Tory Pratt, the founder of Pratt Standard....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 7, 2019
Neighborhood Pub Crawl: Historic Larimer Square

Neighborhood Pub Crawl: Historic Larimer Square

Larimer Square has its share of saloons and dance halls, just like back in the day. ...read more ›

by Carrie Dow Mar 5, 2019
Acclaimed Director Ridley Scott Has Made Seven Short Films for Hennessy X.O.

Acclaimed Director Ridley Scott Has Made Seven Short Films for Hennessy X.O.

Ridley Scott has directed a four-minute short film for Hennessy X.O. visualizing the seven flavors of the high...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 4, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Behind the Bar: Chris Morris, Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve

Behind the Bar: Chris Morris, Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve

On this edition of Behind the Bar, we had the honor to sit down with Chris Morris, the master distiller at Woo...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 28, 2019
Haagen-Dazs is Making Booze-Infused Ice Cream

Haagen-Dazs is Making Booze-Infused Ice Cream

Step aside, after dinner drinks - Haagen-Dazs is releasing a line of spiked ice cream....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 19, 2019
Take a Tequila Tour Through Mexico on Jose Cuervo's New 'Tequila Train'

Take a Tequila Tour Through Mexico on Jose Cuervo's New 'Tequila Train'

If you love tequila and traveling in style, you're in luck - Jose Cuervo has a new all-you-can-drink tequila t...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 19, 2019
Happy Leaf Kombucha Offers Denver an Alternative to Beer

Happy Leaf Kombucha Offers Denver an Alternative to Beer

Kombucha is fermented sweet tea and Denver is catching on to its health benefits....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Feb 19, 2019
You Can Now Drink Wine Out of a 'Pringles Can' Tumbler

You Can Now Drink Wine Out of a 'Pringles Can' Tumbler

After a news story about a woman in Texas who was asked to leave Walmart for drinking wine out of an empty Pringles can went viral, one enterprising E...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Feb 5, 2019
Heat Things Up with these Denver Winter Warmers

Heat Things Up with these Denver Winter Warmers

Those beverages taste even better when warm spirits are added....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Feb 5, 2019
Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Denver Museum & Golden Triangle

Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Denver Museum & Golden Triangle

Here in Denver we appreciate fine art just like appreciate a fine cocktail....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Jan 22, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close