The classic margarita recipe involves tequila (duh), orange liqueur and lime juice, in a 3-2-1 proportion. This has virtually nothing to do with the concoction you’ll be served at T.G.I. Applechili’s, which is pretty much just spiked limeade. The classic is a fine way to make a margarita, although it’s been accused by some—most notably celebrity food nerd Alton Brown—of being a Tequila Sidecar that should never have had the Cointreau in there at all. And indeed some restaurants that take their tequila Very Very Seriously make a mix of lime juice and agave nectar.
No. No, no, no. Take out the orange and you’ve got a Tequila Daiquiri. Alton compounds the problem by offering a misbegotten mishmash of muddled lime and oranges; this switches out weakly spiked limeade for high-octane citrus punch. That’s an improvement, but it ain’t a margarita.
Back off the orange liqueur to highlight the lime, sure. But don’t get rid of it. Instead, try
The Coyote Standard Margarita
- 2 oz. 100% agave blanco or reposado tequila
- 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ oz. Patron Citronge orange liqueur
- ¼ to ½ oz. light agave nectar
Do not use a tequila that is not 100% agave—you might as well be using turpentine. You can get good brands like Cazadores or Gran Centenario’s Azul for around $20. Do not use juice from one of those little plastic limes, or Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Concentrate, and do not even look at Rose’s Lime Juice. Get a real lime. Squeeze it. If you don’t have Citronge, you can use a clear curacao or even triple sec. But just buy the damn Citronge. You can use simple syrup instead of nectar if you’re a wimp.
Put it all in a shaker with plenty of ice, shake the hell out of it, then taste it. If you need to, add a little more nectar for sweetness. Then pour it into a cocktail glass; salt the rim first if you insist. If you really insist, put it in a tumbler over ice. If you put it in a blender and turn it into a slushie, I’ll punch you right in your Jimmy Buffett.
This is strong. Do not have more than one, unless you have tequila left.