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


Tags: Cocktails, Spirits, Tequila
Recent Articles
spacer

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:
 
Drinks Decoded: Moscow Mule

Drinks Decoded: Moscow Mule

This week's Drinks Decoded takes on the Moscow Mule....read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Jul 19, 2016
Grand Central's Campbell Apartment Will Close at the End of July

Grand Central's Campbell Apartment Will Close at the End of July

The Campbell Apartment, a New York institution connected to Grand Central Station, will close at the end of July....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 18, 2016
Where to Go for Bottomless Brunch in D.C.

Where to Go for Bottomless Brunch in D.C.

In DC, brunch is synonymous with bottomless drinks; here are our picks for the best places to get endless pours of your favorite brunch beverages....read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Jul 12, 2016
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Learn How to Put Beer, Wine, Cider and BBQ Together at the Hill Center

Learn How to Put Beer, Wine, Cider and BBQ Together at the Hill Center

Guests will have the opportunity to make their own cocktails....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Jul 12, 2016
Boston Beer Company Wants to Trademark 'Brexit'

Boston Beer Company Wants to Trademark 'Brexit'

After the historic Brexit vote in the UK, Boston Beer Company has registered to trademark the term for one of its ciders....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jul 5, 2016
Where to Celebrate Bastille Day 2016 in D.C.

Where to Celebrate Bastille Day 2016 in D.C.

A number of DC restaurants and bars will be celebrating le quatorze juillet with plenty of parties, wine and food specials. Say oui oui and get yourse...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Jul 5, 2016
Where to Celebrate July 4th in D.C.

Where to Celebrate July 4th in D.C.

From hot dog eating contests to BBQs and pool parties, there's no shortage of celebrations in honor of July 4th....read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Jun 28, 2016
You Can Now Drink Much Earlier on Sundays in NYC

You Can Now Drink Much Earlier on Sundays in NYC

It may come as a shock to those living outside of New York, but, up until very recently, the sale of liquor on Sundays was prohibited before noon...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jun 28, 2016
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
The Shark Week Drinking Game

The Shark Week Drinking Game

This year, one of cable TV's longest-running programs celebrates its 29th anniversary. Enjoy it to the fullest with this handy game. Shark Week starts...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 26, 2016
SPONSORED
View all Articles

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

Close