Tuesday, May 2, 2006

The Perfect Margarita (for a crowd)

In this margarita, the better the tequila, the better the drink. Try Herradura, El Tesoro, El Viejito, Patron, or any of the 100% agave tequilas that are available in the market.

1 750ml bottle Silver Tequila
1 to 2 cups Triple Sec or Cointreau
1 cup freshly squeezed Lime Juice, plus several tablespoons extra for rimming the glasses
Coarse (kosher-type) Salt, for rimming the glasses
About a gallon of Ice Cubes

Just before serving, in a half-gallon pitcher combine the tequila, the minimum amount of triple sec or Cointreau, and the lime juice. Taste and add more of the orange liqueur if you think your margaritas need more sweet oranginess to balance the other flavors. Remember, you're tasting it warm and undiluted: when chilled and diluted, the flavors will be mellower and the lime's tartness will be more compelling (tangy, warm champagne is not nearly as inviting as ice-cold).

I personally don't like salt on my margarita but if you must...Pour several tablespoons of lime juice onto one small plate, several tablespoons coarse salt onto another. Have margarita glasses at hand (for an extra special touch, you can chill them). As you serve your guests, invert a glass into the plate with the lime juice to moisten the rim, then lightly dip into the plate with the salt.

For each drink measure 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) of the margarita mixture into a cocktail shaker I can do 3 drinks at a time comfortably in mine. If you have a 2-ounce ladle that you can Add ice cubes (I put in 5 cubes for 1, 8 for 2, and 10 for 3). Secure the lid and top and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain into the salt-crusted glasses and hand off to the lucky recipients.

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