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Margaritas can make just about every event a fiesta — even during the gloomy doldrums of winter.
For National Margarita Day Feb. 22, it can be fun to experiment with tequila’s favorite cocktail and give the classic margarita recipe a kick.
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Bartenders who know their way around Mexico’s classic beverage shared some inspired versions that are sure to amp up any festivities. So bring out your prettiest margarita glasses and highballs for these easy-to-make concoctions sure to become favorites.
Ruby red grapefruit juice makes the difference
There’s nothing like cutting into a chilled grapefruit at breakfast. So it’s no surprise the juicy citrus goes well in this margarita recipe from restaurant and lounge chain Ocean Prime.
For the tastiest results, juice your own fresh grapefruit and lime, says Andrea Cornwell, director of beverage for Ocean Prime and Cameron Mitchell Restaurants.
“It adds an additional layer to the cocktail which is bright and mouth-watering,” she says. To serve it in something other than a standard margarita glass, she recommends pouring this version into an etched highball.
And be sure to use a jigger for your pours, she says. “Measure everything just like a food recipe.”
- 1.5 ounce Don Julio Blanco Tequila
- 1/2 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
- 3/4 ounce ruby red grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 ounce lime juice
- 1/4 ounce agave nectar
- 1/4 ounce grenadine
- Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker.
- Add ice.
- Shake vigorously for five seconds.
- Strain and pour over fresh ice into glass prepared with a kosher salt rim.
- Garnish with three submerged lime wheels.
Get a kick when watermelon and jalapeño meet
Tequila infused with one of Mexico’s favorite chiles gives a boost to the sweet watermelon overtones of this cocktail from popular Mexican restaurant and tequila bar JoToro in Tampa, Florida.
To infuse the tequila with fresh peppers, just trim the top off two jalapeños and slice them into thin strips. Drop into a bottle of blanco tequila, close the cap, shake gently and let sit for 10 hours or overnight. Strain the peppers and seeds and you’re ready to go.
For an authentic and eye-pleasing rim on your margarita glass, look for the Mexican spice called tajin at a supermarket or Latin market (a mix of dried chile peppers, lime and sea salt).
JOTORO SPICY WATERMELON MARGARITA
- Tajin spice
- 2 cubes watermelon
- 1 ounce fresh watermelon puree
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 3/4 ounce Casamigos Blanco Tequila
- 3/4 ounce jalapeño-infused Casamigos Tequila
- 1.5 ounces Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur
- Spread sea salt or tajin into a small shallow dish. Dip a rocks glass rim in water, then into the spice mixture.
- Muddle the watermelon with the puree in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
- Add the citrus juice, tequila and liqueur. Shake vigorously with ice.
- Strain into the tajin-rimmed rocks glass and garnish with a slice of watermelon.
There’s booze in the blender
The frozen concoction that helped Jimmy Buffett hang on was the inspiration behind his 1977 hit song “Margaritaville.”
And there’s definitely booze in the blender of this atypical frozen margarita recipe from the mixologists at Margaritaville Hotel Nashville made from mango, the house margarita blend and more.
“The habañero from the whiskey gives a good smoky spice flavor, making the drink super unique and well balanced,” says bartender Kim Basnight.
SPICY MANGO RITA
- 1.5 ounces 1800 Reposado Tequila
- 3/4 ounce Ole Smoky Mango Habañero Whiskey
- 3.5 ounces Lemon-X Golden Margarita Mix with agave
- Half a mango cut in chunks
- Lime wedge, jalapeño for garnish