February 22nd is National Margarita Day and it should be celebrated with nothing less than the perfect margarita. What is the perfect margarita? The answer to that question will be as varied as the number of people asked. Which tequila should be used? Which margarita mix should be added? Regular, strawberry or mango? Should a mix be added at all? What about fresh lime juice? Blended or on the rocks? Salt or no salt? It’s almost as overwhelming as walking down the cereal aisle at the grocery store.
This margarita recipe eliminates the confusion of what and how much to add when making a margarita by giving you the ratio of ingredients right in the name. The 3-2-1 Margarita is always 3 ounces of tequila, 2 ounces of fresh-squeezed lime juice and 1 ounce of Grand Marnier which will always give you the perfect margarita when shaken with ice.
To make a perfect margarita, you need to start with good tequila. This doesn’t mean it has to be really expensive tequila but it shouldn’t be the least expensive either. A few recommended tequilas for the perfect margarita are Cazadores Tequila Reposado or 1800 Reposado Tequila. Check these and others out at your local BevMo store. Trader Joe’s also carries Cazadores.
The importance of using fresh lime juice to make the perfect margarita can’t be stressed enough. Some of the margarita mixes sold are OK but nothing compares to the clean citrus bite of fresh limes combined with a good tequila. They were made for each other. Trader Joe’s sells netted bags of limes for a great price when compared to most markets. Also, the local farmers markets are a good source for fresh citrus because it is so expensive to buy in the markets these days. And invest a few dollars in a hand-held lime squeezer as it will save you so much time when squeezing limes. They can be found at kitchen stores, Target, Walmart, Domus and even most supermarkets carry them as well.
The last, and least, ingredient in the 3-2-1 margarita is Grand Marnier, a French cognac-based orange liqueur. As far as orange liqueurs go, Grand Marnier definitely adds a great flavor to the 3-2-1 Margarita; however, if you are making margaritas for a large crowd, you might want to replace the Grand Marnier with Triple Sec. This is also an orange liqueur but is less expensive than Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier or Triple Sec is sold at both BevMo, Trader Joe’s and anywhere else liquor is sold.
Preparation for making margaritas is easy. Simply gather the alcohols you need, squeeze plenty of fresh lime juice, and cut other whole limes into small wedges or slices for garnish. You will also need to rim the glasses with salt. The 3-2-1 Margarita is shaken, not blended, and made to be served straight-up (without ice) in a martini glass. To rim the martini glasses with salt, place a layer of coarse salt in a shallow plate. Take a lime wedge or slice and run it around the rim of the martini glass. Dip the rim of the martini glass in the coarse salt all the way around. Place the lime wedge on the rim.
To make the margarita, add 3 ounces tequila, 2 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice and 1 ounce Grand Marnier to a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Put the lid of the shaker on tightly and shake vigorously for a 10 – 12 count. Strain the margarita into the prepared martini glass and serve.
Here are a few fun facts about this drink that is so popular a day of national recognition is observed to celebrate it. Happy National Margarita Day!
- The U.S. is the number one tequila market, even over Mexico!
- On average, Americans consume over 185,000 Margaritas per hour.
- The Margarita was the most popularly ordered drink in 2008, representing 18 percent of all mixed drink sales in the U.S., followed by the Martini, Rum and Coke, Vodka and Tonic, and the Cosmopolitan.
Facts provided by Tequila Herradura.
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