Food

Five ways to reinvent your margarita

Top tips to enhance this classic cocktail

A traditional margarita, made from tequila, triple sec, and lime juice and served on the rocks, is the ultimate cocktail for sipping on hot summer days and during times when extra sunshine and warmth is sorely missed. The beauty of a perfectly made margarita lies in the quality of its ingredients, a fact that makes the margarita a perfect candidate for reinvention — a few tweaks and the addition of one or more thoughtfully chosen ingredients can elevate a margarita from its classic form to the utterly sublime in a matter of seconds. 

 

1. Up your ice game 

 

If you love a margarita on the rocks but dislike the appearance of cloudy ice, you can make your own clear ice at home using filtered or distilled water that has been boiled twice before freezing (distilled water will yield the best results.) To add a touch of fruit flavour without diluting a margarita on the rocks, try freezing cubed or sliced fruit to use instead of ice. Cubed frozen fruit such as melon, berries, dragonfruit, passionfruit or mango can be used in place of ice cubes. Try adding frozen citrus that has been sliced as thinly as possible, using a mandoline if possible, for a cooling and elegant margarita garnish. 

 

2. Jazz up your rimming salts

 

As any margarita fan will tell you, rimming the glass is an essential step when making this particular cocktail. The sourness of the lime juice and triple sec is punctuated by the salt rim, highlighting the sweetness of the cocktail without the addition of sugar. Although plain kosher salt is ideal on its own, you can experiment by adding your own flavouring to the salt. Place kosher salt in a blender or food processor and blend in your preferred aromatics — dried chili flakes and citrus peel are especially complementary to margaritas. Store leftover flavoured salt away from heat or moisture for up to six months. 

 

3. Freeze fruit juice for blending

 

Love frozen margaritas? Freeze lime juice instead of water in an ice cube tray and use instead of regular ice — the margarita will be frozen and slushy without getting diluted. Experiment with different types of citrus juice or try freezing blended melon, passionfruit or mango juice for a tropical take on a frozen margarita.

 

4. Think outside the box when it comes to garnishes

 

The function of a cocktail garnish is to highlight the flavour and aroma of the beverage, which is why margaritas are often served with a wedge of lime. If you’re looking to expand on the garnishes you use most often, try unexpected ingredients such as fresh herbs or dried fruits. Fresh herbs such as lemon verbena and cilantro will amplify the citrus and earthy notes in a margarita, especially when served in a wide-mouthed wine or cocktail glass. Dried fruit, including citrus slices, can be added directly to the cocktail to add a concentrated fruity essence to the finished drink. 

 

 

5. Make a memorable virgin margarita

 

Learning how to make a memorable virgin margarita means you get to enjoy a margarita any time of day. When making a virgin cocktail, it’s important to focus on what makes the original unique, in the case of margaritas, it’s the intense citrus flavour from the lime juice and triple sec as well as the earthiness of the tequila. If you can’t find extra-juicy limes, use a good quality store-bought lime juice (or any other citrus concentrate) and add a splash of agave syrup and sparkling water in place of the tequila and triple sec.