There are few drinks that will bring a smile to people’s faces as quickly as a Margarita. It is simply a synonym for fun, and the perfect cocktail to enjoy outside as the days begin to warm up. It’s easy to make, easily batched for a crowd, and beyond the traditional recipe, the flavor possibilities are positively endless. The history of the Margarita is somewhat uncertain, but the most common story is connected to a man named Carlos “Danny” Herrera, owner of the Tijuana restaurant Rancho La Gloria. He is supposed to have invented the cocktail there in 1938, claiming to have been inspired by a dancer, Marjorie King, who was allergic to everything but tequila, but didn’t like drinking it straight. The traditional Margarita contains tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and agave. For the exact recipe and more information about tequila itself, you can refer back to my post from October by clicking here. It can be served up (with no ice) in a Margarita glass, or blended with crushed ice until almost frozen, but the third option is my favorite: over 1 large cube in a double rocks glass. The rim of the glass is usually salted, paying homage to the classic way of drinking a tequila shot where you follow it by sucking on a lime wedge and licking salt off your hand. We’ve all done that at least once!
In celebration of the holiday, I’ve made a Spicy Vanilla Grapefruit Margarita for you today. I started off with Gran Centenario tequila blanco, which I’ve grown to love since I received their bottle as a sample a short while back. It has the unmistakeable funkiness that can only come from agave, more than a hint of something vegetal, a refreshing amount of lime, and some generous peppery notes. My next step was to add in some Giffard Pamplemousse Rosé, a grapefruit liqueur that has an absolutely gorgeous flavor that’s perfectly balanced between sweetness and tartness. For the citrus component of the drink I used grapefruit juice, of course, as well as a dash of lime juice to remain true to tradition. I wanted to give the drink just a little kick so I chose Liber & Co. fiery ginger syrup in place of the agave. I could have stopped there but I love the affinity that grapefruit has for vanilla, so I added just a dash of vanilla bean paste and that was the finishing touch I was looking for. The end result goes down very easily, but be careful because it’s potent, just as all margaritas are. If you’d like to make a batch of these, you can refer back to my post about drinks for a crowd, but just remember to cut the citrus back by ¼ or it’ll be too much. Happy National Margarita Day!
Spicy Vanilla Grapefruit Margarita
Rub just a small amount of the ginger syrup along half the rim of a double rocks glass and then invert onto a plate of sea salt with hibiscus salt (optional). Combine all the ingredients in the bottom half of a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake for about 20-30 seconds until very cold. Double strain into the prepared glass over 1 large cube. Enjoy!
*Use an exact dash measurement here like an eyedropper or measuring spoon.