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Everything You Need to Know About a Margarita’s Core Ingredients

The margarita has become a staple and classic for a reason. It’s refreshing, delicious, and it can be changed and transformed into limitless possibilities. But before you go making your own custom drink, it helps if you understand each of the basic ingredients that go into a margarita. It’s the best way to understand how to make a margarita and the first step in making a margarita that’s truly yours. Here is a breakdown of each of the core ingredients in a classic margarita to help you learn how to make the best one.

1. Tequila

Obviously, one of the first things you need to know about how to make a margarita is the tequila. Tequila is the driving factor for taste and alcohol content in any margarita, from the classic recipes right up to the fancier ones. In fact, a margarita without tequila is rarely a margarita. You can change limes to another fruit, swap the Triple Sec for another liqueur, you can even replace the salt with sugar; but when you switch out the tequila, you are no longer making a margarita.

So what kind of tequila makes the best ingredient when learning how to make a margarita? The answer is as complicated as the tequila itself. In general, there are broad categories of tequila, each of which have their own unique tastes and flavors. Most mixologists suggest using a high-quality tequila, generally a reposado or blanco.

Learning the difference in taste from one type of tequila to the next is key in learning how to make a margarita. Blanco tequila, for example, is clear and typically not aged in any way; instead it is stored in steel casks to ensure no outside flavors interfere with its taste. The result is an agave-forward flavor, one that is as intense as it is sweet. On the other end of the spectrum is reposado tequila. Generally aged for two to eleven months, this tequila has settled into its natural flavors, giving it a more robust flavor that also takes on the flavors of its cask.

Choosing which tequila to use is key to learning how to make a margarita. For more intense flavorings, try the blanco. For a richer, subtler flavor, you cannot go wrong with a quality reposado.

2. Orange Liqueur

The traditional pairing for the classic margarita is Triple Sec, a base ingredient everyone who is learning how to make a margarita should understand. Triple Sec is delicious and relatively low in alcohol content, giving it that distinct orange-heavy flavoring that provides a citrus refreshment to the margarita. But many mixologists also swear by Cointreau, another orange liqueur that contains a bit more bite. Choosing which works for you usually comes down to personal taste. Those who like the taste of stronger drinks generally pair blanco tequila with Cointreau. Those who want something fuller-bodied and flavorful will pair reposado tequila with Triple Sec.

3. Salt

Everyone knows there are different kinds of salt, but for some reason, many people think salt is inconsequential in making drinks. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, understanding the different kinds of salt is key to learning how to make a margarita. Essentially, it comes down to texture and taste: two things that are indistinguishable in salt. Generally, it’s best to avoid table salt, which makes for a terrible, unattractive rim and requires a lot to be noticeable, turning your margarita into a very salty experience. Most experts prefer, instead, to use kosher salt. The bigger granules look better on the glass and provide a tasty pop of salt, rather than overwhelming the flavors. It also sticks better, so less falls all over every time you take a sip.

4. Limes

The most important thing you need to understand about limes and margaritas is that freshness is key. Anyone who uses lime juice when teaching how to make a margarita is not giving you the fullest flavor. Always use fresh limes, not key limes, when making a margarita, and save a slice or two for the garnish. You can taste the difference almost immediately when using fresh vs. bottled juice, and when the season’s right, the cost is pretty negligible.

The key to learning how to make a margarita lies in understanding what you like about each ingredient and tailoring the recipe to your taste. Tequila has a wide range of flavors, as do every other ingredient on the list, which means you can experiment with each one until you find something that you love.

What are Good Tequila Mixed Drinks?

Tequila is a multifaceted and delicious cocktail that has only started to recently get the attention and credit it deserves. It used to be relegated to college parties and bars, but more and more, people are discovering that tequila is a fantastic building block to delicious cocktails. These tequila drinks are fast becoming popular around the world, and today we wanted to share with you some delicious cocktail recipes that put tequila first. Here are some original cocktails and some tequila twists on the classics that are sure to become your next favorite cocktails.

The Bloody Maria

Forget the Bloody Mary, or even its Canadian cousin, the Caesar. There is a new version in town and it is the tequila drink known as “The Bloody Maria.” Essentially, this cocktail is a Bloody Mary where you swap out vodka with tequila. Usually, a richer tequila like Cristalino is the perfect pairing for this cocktail.

Start making this tequila drink by combining 2 shots of top quality tequila, the juice of 1/2 a lime, 6 ounces tomato juice, a dash of hot sauce, a dash of black pepper, and two teaspoons of olive juice. Pour that all into a tall glass. Then, decide on your garnishes, which is always the most enjoyable part of any Bloody Mary or variant. Some ideas include stuffed pimentos or stuffed hot peppers, spicy pickled beans, or even tiny, bite-sized burritos (which are probably reserved for special occasions).

The Cherry Beer Bulldog

If there are two popular Mexican drinks, it’s tequila and Corona, so why not mix them together in what’s affectionately referred to as a “bulldog”? This tequila drink is best made in large batches and is perfect for parties and hosting, but you can also make smaller batches since the recipe comes down to equal portions. Mix together one part each of frozen limeade concentrate, cherry soda, Corona, and tequila (yes, this is a boozy drink). Stir it all together and pour into glasses with salted rims. It’s a delicious, refreshing drink that’s perfect for anytime, from brunch to late night!

Pimm’s Vaso

The Pimm’s Cup is a loose amalgamation of drinks, all built around Pimm’s fruity liqueur, and the Pimm’s Vaso is the tequila variant. This tequila drink is a brunch classic and is surprisingly simple to make. Start with 1oz. of a classic tequila, like Platinum tequila, and pour into a cocktail shaker with 1oz. Pimm’s liqueur, 3/4oz. celery juice, 1/2oz. freshly-squeezed lime juice, 1/2oz. simple syrup, and two halved strawberries. Shake together and pour through a strainer into a collins glass. Top up with club soda and garnish with a strawberry.

Tequila Mimosas

Yes, mimosas are traditionally orange juice and Champagne, but instead of orange juice, why not add a margarita? That’s what this tequila drink is, and it will be an instant classic for your next brunch. Also, it’s incredibly easy to make. Mix together one part Rick n’ Roll Platinum Tequila, 1/2 part Triple Sec, and 2/3 part lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Shake together with ice and pour about a 1/3 cup of the mixture into a champagne glass through a strainer. Top up with Champagne and enjoy!

Tequila Punch

Why make one tequila drink when you can make a lot? This is the perfect party drink for those hot summer days, and it is sure to be a crowd pleaser! It starts with your own rosemary simple syrup, which is 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 sprigs of rosemary. Stir those together in a pan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Take that off the heat and let it cool. Now, blend together 2 peaches (pealed, pitted, and roughly chopped) and the rosemary simple syrup. Pour into a pitcher and add 1 liter of lime soda and 2 cups of a high-quality tequila. Stir together and add frozen raspberries to keep it cool.

Tequila drinks are an excellent alternative to the classic margarita, which is still one of the most delicious and refreshing tequila drinks out there. But if you want to expand your horizons and truly start to explore what tequila has to offer, start with these cocktails. You are sure to find your next favorite cocktail while discovering the full breadth and diversity found in today’s top-quality tequilas.

How Ultra-Premium Tequilas are Changing the Market for the Spirit

Once, a tequila was just a tequila. But today, the best tequilas are high-end, ultra-premium, exquisite examples of excellence that were unknown in the past. Tequila is starting to be compared to champagne. In the way that a real champagne was talked about with awe and respect, so, too, is a bottle of today’s tequila — the champagne of Mexico.

Premium tequila must meet certain conditions before it can call itself the best tequila. As champagne must be made from specific grapes that are grown in the Champagne region of France, so must a tequila be made in a certain way from a specific agave from select regions of Mexico. In fact, Mexican law states that no liquor can be labeled tequila unless it comes from the western state of Jalisco, preferably as close as possible to the town of Tequila. But, like champagne, tequila comes in specific qualities and varying price ranges that demonstrate quality.

What are the best tequilas?

The best tequilas are starting to become worthy of a new level of monetary respect, and people are no longer thinking of tequila as something that needs to be chased down with salt and lime. And even though a margarita will never lose popularity, some tequilas are too good to be mixed with fruit juice and soda. In fact, just a few years ago, no one would have ever thought that a tequila could be on par with an expensive champagne or whiskey. But today, yes, you can sip tequila.

Some of the most expensive are only available in limited editions. The Dos Lunas Grande Reserve costs $2,500 a bottle and is aged for ten years. The most expensive of all is the Ultra-Premium Ley .925 Pasion Azteca. This very best tequila comes in a hand-crafted platinum and white gold bottle, even at the lower end! That bottle will cost about $250,000, but to get the really good bottle, if that one isn’t good enough, you will have to spend $3,500,000.

The rest of the good news is that the best tequilas are still as popular as ever. It has always been one of the best party drinks out there because it has so much versatility. As a mixer for orange juice, as an excuse to suck a little lime, or just because people want a great hot-day patio beverage, tequila never disappoints. So, even though not many people are going to drink thousands of dollars of tequila in a single glass, the fact that the option is out there is not only changing people’s respect for tequila in general, but it is also improving the quality of what people are buying, so it is also improving the quality of what is available.

As well, people are gaining more respect for the work that goes into producing a bottle of the best tequila. Not only does tequila come from the specific blue agave plant (which can grow up to 6-feet tall out in the desert), but there is also a specific way of making it. The blue agave plants are harvested, and the leaves are cut off, leaving the sugary core, called a pina. The harvesting is not without risk as the plants grow in the desert and snakes and tarantulas also grow in the desert and hide sometimes in the juicy, sugary plants. The older and taller the plant the more likely it is to be inhabited. After harvesting, the plants are baked, cooled, let to rest, distilled at least twice, and then let rest. The quality of the plants, the quantity of good agave to filler, the number of times distilled, and the amount of time the mixture is left in ‘reposado’ is what determines the quality and the price.

The best tequilas you will drink on a hot sunny afternoon, or at a Saturday night party, may not be so ultra-premium as the million-dollar bottles, but you can still enjoy a great drink with the best tequilas, starting at about $50.00 a bottle. These tequilas know where the fun is, and the best tequilas are not the ones that sit on the shelf to be admired. They are the ones that come out and party with the tacos and the barbecue on the patio.

How to Make a Perfect Margarita?

Like so many things in cooking and bartending, the humble margarita is about taking a few simple ingredients and turning them into something incredible, and while there are thousands of recipes that put amazing spins on the classic margarita, learning how to make a perfect margarita starts with understanding the basics. It’s the same in cooking as it is in margaritas: once you understand the basics, you will be able to understand the complexities. Then you can go on to make some incredible drinks that your friends will really love, and probably not stop talking about.

At its core, the margarita is all about proportion. Since it consists of only four ingredients, you need to understand how to balance those ingredients together into one beautiful drink. That is why you should understand each of those ingredients and how they taste to understand how to make a margarita, so let’s go through each individually.

Part One: Tequila

First, there’s the tequila, the star of the margarita and the key to learning how to make a perfect margarita. Made from a special kind of blue agave grown in the Jalisco state in Mexico, tequila has a rich, sweet flavor that often ends with a beautiful herb and spice. The farmers in Jalisco have been growing blue agave for tequila in practically the same way for centuries, and the best tequilas let you taste the history of that process.

Tequilas, like whiskies, come in wide range of flavors, meaning there is a best tequila for every different kind of margarita. In general, go for a top quality, 100% agave tequila, like Platinum tequila, for your classic margarita mix. This tequila is perfect for learning how to make a perfect margarita because it is the classic done right.

After you’ve mastered the classic, you can branch out in recipes and tequila. A mango tequila, for example, is the perfect spirit for a fruitier, sweeter blended tequila at your next barbecue. An añejo tequila is perfect for sophisticated spins on other classics, like the Manhattan or old fashioned. Once you’ve learned how to make a perfect margarita, you can branch out into different tequilas for different tastes.

Part Two: Limes

Now this may seem silly, but limes are integral to making the perfect margarita, and many people do not understand how to get the proportions right. Even famous chefs leave out the correct amount of how much lime to use in a margarita. The trick for limes when learning how to make a perfect margarita comes down to proportions and freshness. It is always better to use a fresh lime instead of lime juice for your margaritas. The flavor of bottled lime juice simply does not compare and can often make your margaritas too sour since the citric acidity can break down the sugars of the juice. In general, you will need to juice the lime and then pour the right amount into your margarita mixture. A good bar is 2/3 part lime juice to 1 part tequila, so if you are using 1.5 ounces of tequila, use 1 ounce of lime juice. And be sure to use fresh, regular limes, not key limes and certainly not lemons (which people think are interchangeable with limes. They are not).

Part Three: Triple Sec

Triple Sec is one of the most commonly available orange liqueurs for a good reason: it is a classic, delicious example of what it is. Many recipes for margaritas call for it specifically and it is a building block in learning how to make a perfect margarita. Once you have mastered the basics, you can branch out into different orange liqueurs as you like, Cointreau being another popular favorite. It depends on your personal taste and what you are making, just like picking the perfect tequila for your specific margarita recipe.

Part Four: Salt

Always use a finer grain sea salt, which features thicker chunks than table salt and has a less intense flavor. Using larger grains will pack every sip with too much salt, not to mention it will likely fall off everywhere and make a mess. So when you are learning how to make a perfect margarita, stick to high-quality, fine sea salt.

In your quest in learning how to make a perfect margarita, you will need to master the basics, and that means understanding how every ingredient works separately and together. Do not be scared to experiment after you have mastered the classic. They are meant to be enjoyed, after all, so make them the most enjoyable!

6 Tips For A Healthy Dinner Out

Ever wonder how you can possibly lose weight when the average dinner out contains over 1,000 calories? Well, don’t fret! Keeping yourself in shape when dining out is simply a matter of ordering the right menu.

Below are 6 tips for having a healthy dinner out (while still enjoying your meal like normal!):

Watch Your Drinks – By not ordering an alcoholic beverage, you’ve saved yourself a considerable number of calories. Try sipping iced tea sweetened with a noncaloric sweetener, a diet soft drink, or water with lemon. You’ll be glad you did when you consider the calorie savings.

Have A Salad – One of the best menus to have is salad. Not only will it fill you up so you’ll consume fewer calories overall, but it will also give you a hefty dose of antioxidants which are heart healthy. Be sure to ask your waitress to hold the croutons and cheese which will further reduce your caloric load. Also, choose your dressing wisely. Avoid cream based dressings and go for the vinegar based ones. You also have the option of using vinegar and olive oil which is heart healthy.

Don’t Order An Appetizer Unless Necessary – Do you know that some appetizers have more calories and fat than the main course? Plus, many appetizers are fried and served with heavy sauces which will add to your intake of saturated fat as well as trans fats and calories. It’s not a healthy way to start your meal.

Choose The Right Kind Of Foods – Go for broiled and grilled rather than fried. Not only will you save calories and fat grams, you’ll also avoid trans fats which are so prevalent in fried foods. Instead, consider asking for a doubles order of vegetables with your entree. Very few Americans are getting the 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables recommended for optimal health. Plus, by avoiding the starch, you’ll be reducing your caloric and carbohydrate load. Also, stick to tomato based sauces rather than cream based and you’ll enjoy a considerable calorie savings. Lastly, ask for the sauce to be served in a separate dish on the side so you can control the amount you eat.

Don’t Overeat – Today, many restaurants are serving larger quantities of food than in the past. If this is the case, put aside a portion of your entree at the beginning of the meal to take home with you. If you remove it from your plate before you start eating, you’ll be less tempted to overeat.

Say “No” To Sugary, Fatty Desserts – Instead, go for a low fat or low carbohydrate dessert selection such as a low carb cheesecake. These are wise choices for the health conscious eater and still allow you to end the meal on a sweet note. If a healthy dessert option isn’t available, try a cup of coffee with skim milk to help satiate your desire for something sweet.

The next time you go out for dinner, keep the above tips in mind. You will be surprised how many calories you are able to slash out of your meal just by ordering the right menus! Happy healthy eating!

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