From the Cellar: Margarita recipes celebrate our 'state beverage’ - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

From the Cellar: Margarita recipes celebrate our 'state beverage’

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Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 9:18 am | Updated: 9:24 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

How much do you enjoy a good margarita? I’m guessing quite a bit. One part orange liqueur, two parts fresh lime juice and a splash of liquid agave goodness, and you have what might be one of the most simple, yet perfect, drinks on the planet.

Margaritas speak to us on some visceral level as Arizonans. We have a state bird, flower, quarter, and it’s time for a state beverage, and, no, it’s not water, horchata or a Thirst Buster. I move that our state beverage become the humble, delicious margarita, steeped in a spirit that comes from a plant that only grows in our part of the world, tequila. What do you think?

It wouldn’t fly, I know. Doesn’t send the right message to our kids. Anyhow, the margarita remains the No. 1 requested cocktail in the United States, and locally, lots of innovative mixologists are whipping together ever-more-interesting variations on the cocktail, both whipped and on the rocks. At Mucho Gusto in Tempe, the modern Mexican restaurant has become famous for their subtle hibiscus margaritas, and over at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, they’re working with pomegranate-infused tequila. Interesting stuff. It’s a far cry from the strawberry margaritas we sucked down when we were younger, holding onto the brass railing at Bobby McGee’s.

I’m also continually working with different margarita combinations to keep The Mrs. happy. It’s one of the few cocktails she’ll actually stomach because she likes drinks “when you can’t taste the alcohol.” I use top-shelf, 100 percent blue agave tequilas — Sauza Hornitos, Patron and Don Julio are three favorites — good orange liqueurs like Cointreau or Grand Marnier and lots of fresh fruits and juices. The quality clearly shines through. Here are a few recent flavorful discoveries.

PEACH SUNRISE MARGARITA

2 ounces tequila

1 ounce orange liqueur such as Cointreau

1 ounce peach schnapps or liqueur such as Pallini

2 ounces fresh lime juice

Half a fresh peach, pitted and diced

Peach wedge for garnish

Granulated sugar

Preparation: Combine all ingredients, excluding garnish, into a blender with ice and whip until smooth. Moisten the rim of a margarita glass with peach wedge and rim with sugar. Fill glass with ice and strain in mixture. Garnish with peach wedge.

MARK’S POMEGRANATE MARGARITA

2 ounces 100 percent agave silver tequila

1 ounce Pom Liqueur

2 ounces fresh lime juice

1 ounce pomegranate juice

1 ounce orange juice

Bar salt

Lime wedges for garnish

Preparation: Combine all ingredients, excluding bar salt and lime wedge, into a shaker with ice and shake until very cold. Moisten the rim of a margarita or double old-fashioned glass with lime wedge and rim with bar salt. Fill glass with ice and strain in mixture. Garnish with lime wedge.

BLUE IGUANA-RITA

2 ounces tequila

1 ounce orange liqueur

1 ounce blue curacao

2 ounces fresh lime juice

1/2 cup fresh cut mango, peeled, pitted, diced

Mango and lime wedge for garnish

Preparation: Combine all ingredients, excluding garnish, into a blender with ice and whip until smooth. Moisten the rim of a margarita glass with mango wedge and rim with sugar. Fill glass with ice and strain in mixture. Garnish with mango wedge.

BLOOD ORANGE MARGARITA

2 ounces tequila

1 ounce orange liqueur

2 ounces fresh blood orange juice

1 ounce lime juice

Bar salt

Lime and blood orange wedges for garnish

Preparation: Combine all ingredients, excluding bar salt and garnish, into a shaker with ice and shake until very cold. Moisten the rim of a margarita or double old-fashioned glass with lime wedge and rim with bar salt. Fill glass with ice and strain in mixture. Garnish with lime and blood orange wedges.

Got a wine- and spirits-related question you’d like to see addressed in a column? Contact Mark at mknothaft@cox.net.

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