Sticky 3am shots give tequila a bad reputation, and many functioning adults have a blanket rule never to drink the stuff again. This is a shame, because margaritas are one of the most deliciously thirst-quenching cocktails ever to have been invented and they don’t get enough air-time among the negroni drinking brigade. What’s more, there’s a whole host of independent tequila makers, such as modern Mexican El Rayo and George Clooney’s Casamigos, raising the game for this maligned spirit.
That said, there’s no doubt Margaritas mark debauchery. They were born during the Prohibition, a Latino play on the then-popular Daisy, essentially a sour, when Mexican liqueurs were smuggled across the border and drunk in speakeasies. They’re traditionally made with lime, triple sec and a thin rim of salt, incorporating all the magic of the aforementioned shots with none of the wince-inducing strength. Variations are endless though; serve them as a frozen slushy by putting the mix in an ice cream machine for an hour before serving or add fresh basil like they do in Florence. We’re also partial to the spicy jalapeño and cucumber version favoured in the southern states of America.
If you’re looking to add a margarita to your next at-home cocktail hour, we’ve got an old favourite from the bar at Smoking Goat, Soho’s oh-so-trendy Thai restaurant, which is served on the rocks in a highball glass or tumbler. Head bar manager Kasja Renmarker designed this twist to complement the restaurant’s fiery northern Thai cuisine, and prefers the subtle flavour of a pinch of sea salt mixed into the cocktail as opposed to a salt-lined rim.
Ingredients (serves one)
For the palm sugar syrup (batch)
100g palm sugar (this can also be replaced by normal sugar)
For the drink
25ml White tequila
25ml Triple sec
15ml Mandarin Juice
15ml Lime Juice
1 Pinch Sea Salt
5ml Palm Sugar Syrup (simple syrup can also be used)
A wedge of lime
- First, make a palm sugar syrup – this can be done in advance and stored in the fridge for up to a week. Place the palm sugar and water in a pot on the stove. Bring to a simmer and whisk for a moment, remove from heat and leave to cool.
- Clap the mint in your hands to release the fragrance and add to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker with the rest of the ingredients and a big handful of ice.
- Shake or stir well for ten seconds and remove the mint.
- Strain into a chilled glass and serve with a couple of cubes of ice.
- Garnish with a wedge of lime, and mint if you like.
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