Friday, February 21, 2014

Celebrate National Margarita Day at Home or Away (With Recipes)

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Blood Orange Margarita
  • Blood Orange Margarita
Whoever decides these things has declared Feb. 22 "National Margarita Day. "A couple of years ago, I asked y'all for your opinions on which cantina made the best margaritas in town, but it's probably time for an updated roster.

I'm still partial to Rosepepper's version when I'm on the east side of the Rio Cumberlande, despite the fact that I've seen a recipe that indicates that they use (gasp!) Rose's lime juice instead of fresh-squeezed. (Sometimes it's good to go a little lowbrow.) But lately, I have enjoyed the short margaritas at Taqueria del Sol, which are the ideal complement a quick "two tacos and a side" dinner/happy hour. Where else should I be broadening my horizons to?

If you decide to celebrate at home, there are two recommendations I can't emphasize strongly enough. For Pedro's sake, please use fresh-squeezed lime juice and a decent bottle of tequila. Margaritas should not come in a frozen bucket that you can buy at the grocery store! If a drop of perspiration from squeezing all those limes happens to fall into your pitcher, that's like a magical kiss of salt from a Oaxacan angel to bless your efforts.

Speaking of good tequila, the folks at Avión forwarded me some recipes for elevated Margaritas that look excellent.

You might remember Avión as the brand of tequila which Turtle and Vince shilled for on the HBO series Entourage. But it is the real deal. Just like Mad Men deals with fictional accounts of real product marketing, the Avión storyline is based in truth.

And the tequila is actually quite good, winning multiple awards in 2011 and 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Like most tequilas, Avión comes in three varieties: silver, reposado and añejo. The difference between the grades is the amount of time it reposes in oak barrels, and unlike whiskey, tequila changes a lot in a short time in barrel. Each option contributes different spice and fruit elements to cocktails, so make sure not to substitute in the following concoctions, at least until you've tried the suggested recipe. If you do experiment, feel free to report back your results.

Spicy Sage Margarita
2 oz. Avión Silver
3/4 oz. Jalapeño-Infused Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz. Orange Juice
1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
3 Sage Leaves
1 Sage Leaf and Salt for garnish

Muddle sage in a shaker. Add all ingredients. Shake. Double strain. Pour over ice in salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with sage leaf.


Elevated Margarita
2 parts Avión Silver or Reposado
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 part Agave Nectar

Combine ingredients in shaker with ice, and shake vigorously. Fine strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Blood Orange Margarita
1 1/2 parts Tequila Avión
3/4 part Cointreau Orange Liqueur
1 part Blood Orange Juice
1/2 part Fresh Sour Mix

In a cocktail shaker add all ingredients with ice. Shake and strain; best served over fresh ice and garnish with an orange twist.


Rita Rioja
1 1/2 oz. Tequila Avión Reposado
3/4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
3/4 oz. Simple Syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
Fresh Red Pepper
Cilantro

Muddle a fresh red pepper and a few leaves of cilantro in a cocktail shaker. Add Tequila Avión Reposado, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. Fill cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a salt rimmed cocktail glass.

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