Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are

How to Make the Perfect Margarita

However you decide to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, you should definitely consider a Margarita. You can take the agave spirit-based cocktail to the next level with a healthy dose of citrus and a bit of sweetener, along with perhaps a touch of salt.

Before the recent rise in cocktail culture, mangled margaritas were the norm. The most popular tequila-based drink in the U.S., this is a mixed drink that even the cheesiest, low-quality bars proffer. Some cheap tequila, no-name orange liqueur. ice and “sour mix,” swirled in a plastic cup is one of the most common offerings at all-inclusive resorts or other non-caring bar venues.

But the margarita has a richer history (though no one is exactly sure of its origin story), and deserves better than that. In search of the perfect version, we chatted with tequila aficionado Brian Sirhal, a longtime beverage director and manager of several Mexican restaurants in and around Philadelphia, each with more than 50 different tequilas in stock.

“There are two really important factors in a great margarita,” Sirhal says. “Quality liquor, and fresh fruit juice. Do not, under any circumstances, use a pre-made, artificially flavored sour mix.” The two spirits in question are tequila (of course) and an orange liqueur, which is most commonly Triple Sec but could instead be something of higher quality, such as Cointreau, or even Grand Marnier. What about a salted rim? “That’s simply a matter of personal taste,” he adds, noting that in his restaurants he uses simple kosher salt.

Sirhal also turns away from the conventional blanco (un-aged) tequila, suggesting instead the more flavorful reposado, which has been barrel-aged between two months and a year. The recipe for one of his favorite versions, dubbed “La Bestia,” is below.

La Bestia Margarita

1½ oz. El Tesoro Reposado
½ oz. Patron Citronge
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
¼ oz. fresh lime juice
Simple syrup to taste

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with large cubes of ice and shake. If desired rim a glass with salt – either a coupe or a high ball. If serving “up,” strain into coupe glass. If serving on the rocks, pour into high ball. Take a sip, sit back, and enjoy the tropical harmony of flavors.

Photos by Danya Henninger

Recent Articles
Bartenders Come Up with a Drinkable Compendium for the Films of Wes Anderson
Martha Stewart Swears Gin Improved Her Scrabble Game
Turns Out Most Craft Rye Whiskeys Are Actually Mass Produced at the Same Indiana Factory
spacer
2 Gingers Below Features
From Around The Web

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Turns Out Most Craft Rye Whiskeys Are Actually Mass Produced at the Same Indiana Factory

Turns Out Most Craft Rye Whiskeys Are Actually Mass Produced at the Same Indiana Factory

Is it truly small-batch or simply a small stretch of the truth? ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 29, 2014
Trends: Vodka Going Back to Basics

Trends: Vodka Going Back to Basics

While we've seen everything from glazed donuts to peanut butter and jelly vodka in recent years, the next big thing is the pristine, unadulterated fla...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 28, 2014
Less Blurry Memories of Tales of the Cocktail 2014 in New Orleans

Less Blurry Memories of Tales of the Cocktail 2014 in New Orleans

Because not everyone made it this year, we brought back some photographs from Tales of the Cocktail 2014 for your viewing pleasure. If they're a littl...read more ›

by Karen Locke Jul 28, 2014
SPONSORED
Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are
Drinking Trends at Tales of the Cocktail 2014

Drinking Trends at Tales of the Cocktail 2014

Some of the trends we noticed, we've seen before, others may never take flight but either way we love what's going on in the hotbed of cocktail trends...read more ›

by Karen Locke Jul 28, 2014
Neighborhood Happy Hour Crawl: Barracks Row

Neighborhood Happy Hour Crawl: Barracks Row

Taking its name from the Marine Barracks at the nearby Navy Yard, Barracks Row has seen a remarkable revitalization within the last decade and is now ...read more ›

by Mara Kurlandsky Jul 28, 2014
Video of Drunk Guy Fighting a Bus Stop Sign Serves as a Good Reminder to Drink Responsibly

Video of Drunk Guy Fighting a Bus Stop Sign Serves as a Good Reminder to Drink Responsibly

Watch as the highly intoxicated dude goes a couple rounds with a completely inanimate object...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 25, 2014
Beam Suntory Expands Laphroaig Portfolio with the Rollout of Laphroaig Select

Beam Suntory Expands Laphroaig Portfolio with the Rollout of Laphroaig Select

Inspiration for Laphroaig Select comes from both American bourbon traditions and the history and family lineag...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 24, 2014
6 Myths About Tequila Debunked

6 Myths About Tequila Debunked

Tequila has come a long way from its rowdy frat-party and skull-crushing hangover reputation...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 22, 2014
Best Washington, D.C. Brunch Drink Specials

Best Washington, D.C. Brunch Drink Specials

Whether you're trying to get the best of a hangover or simply celebrating the weekend with a bout of day drinking, these bars with breakfast sipping s...read more ›

by Drink DC Feb 10, 2014
Where to Get in the Holiday Spirit for Christmas in July
by Mara Kurlandsky Jul 21, 2014
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close