The Classic Margarita with a Twist
We love a top-shelf margarita. It’s perfection in a glass.
It’s food friendly. And a beautiful balance of salty, sweet, bitter, and sour.
No syrupy mixers, Señorita (or Señor).
It’s fresh lime juice all the way.
Agave nectar, Triple Sec, and a final float of orange liqueur add just the right amount of sweetness.
Most margarita enthusiasts have their preference. Some prefer blended.
And yes, that’s a delicious way to enjoy a margarita. Some skip the salt on the rim… but we wouldn’t advise it.
We especially like ours on the rocks with salt and a float of Grand Marnier. It’s the floater that makes it a Cadillac.
For this recipe, we coat our cocktail rim in Alderwood smoked sea salt. It adds the fifth basic taste element, umami… often described as savory or meaty.
We love this one from San Francisco Salt Co.
Perfect for sipping before, during or after dinner. This iconic cocktail checks all of the boxes.
A Tequila Primer
Tequila is born from the blue agave plant.
It often takes plants between 8 and 10 years to mature. And because the piñas, or hearts of the plant, are used to make tequila… the plants can only be harvested one time.
Unlike grapevines… which when healthy can be harvested annually.
Choose a tequila of quality for your perfect margarita… one clearly marked 100% Agave.
Avoid tequila mixto which is not 100% Agave. It’s also blended with sugar and water during distillation.
Tequila’s no simple spirit. It has five official classifications.
From youngest to oldest they are:
- Extra Añejo.
Blanco or silver tequila is clear. And rested for no more than 60 days in stainless steel tanks. The flavor profile is earthy and purest in form.
It tastes closest to raw agave. It is a great choice for a cocktail mixer and offers both quality and affordability.
Joven or gold tequila is often a mixto and flavored with extracts and color additives. We don’t recommend joven tequila for this reason.
There are a few exceptions like when a 100% Agave tequila is mixed with a Reposado or Añejo. For these, it will be clear on the label.
In general, gold tequila is often a mixto.
Reposado is a rested tequila aged in wood casks for a minimum of 2 months and up to 11 months. The 100% pure agave takes on a lightly oaked flavor profile and a golden hue.
Most often it is aged in American or French oak. It’s sometimes aged in bourbon barrels imparting a unique flavor from that spirit.
Tequila Añejo is aged for a minimum of one year. And in barrels no larger than 600 liters. The color deepens and the flavor profile becomes more complex and smooth.
Tequila Extra Añejo must be aged for more than 3 years and again in a barrel no larger than 600 liters. Even more complexity, smoothness and color develops.
We highly recommend Blanco or Reposado tequila for our Cadillac Margarita on the Rocks with Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt.
Tools for Crafting the Perfect + Stylish Margarita
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