Mix it up on Margarita Day

February 22 we celebrate National Margarita Day, marking a perfect excuse to pay homage to this deliciously tangy and savoury cocktail. Its base, of course, is Tequila—a beloved traditional liquor made from fermenting the juice of the Mexican agave plant.

In Mexico, citrus and salt are commonly used to compliment (and stifle) the country's notoriously spicy cuisine. Given its potent flavour, tequila is often enjoyed alongside salt and lime to provide some relief to the palette. Commonly, you lick salt off your hand to prime yourself, slam a shot of tequila, and then rush to sink your teeth into a lime wedge. This classic tequila shot procedure is great fun, and the sour lime juice provides a perfect alleviation and sense of satisfaction. Although we wouldn’t recommend this, some people do what’s called a ‘tequila suicide’, where you squeeze the lime juice into your eye as a way of proving that you can handle the tequila straight up—a trick people surely tend to do near the end of the night. But this day is about a much more enjoyable and refined way of drinking tequila: the Margarita.

Margaritas are the Mexican party cocktail. While there are many tales about how it came to fruition, it is believed that it was named after a beautiful woman named Margarita who enjoyed salt with her liquor. So, what are the key components of a classic Margarita? You start with a good-quality tequila base, a healthy amount of lime juice, a dash of orange liquor. The cocktail is shaken with ice, and the rim of the glass is rubbed with lime and lined with salt, which is what makes this cocktail so unique and so perfectly formulated to compliment the tequila in good Mexican fashion. With such a simple and raw base, there are many delectable variations to this tangy cocktail—often using tangy tropical fruits which provide a similar effect to lime. How will you pay homage to the Margarita on this national holiday?

My personal favourite variation of the Margarita is the passionfruit Margarita, particularly when it is served as a frozen Margarita slushy. If you love an extra spicy-sour kick like me, you can also exchange the salted rim for Tajín—a delicious seasoning mix made of dehydrated lime and a variety of Mexican chilis. If you’re looking to make your perfect Margarita at home, we’ve got some recipes for you.

First and foremost, you want to make sure you’re using a quality tequila. If you are looking for a local brand, a producer in Aberdeen created the first Scottish tequila brand a few years back: UWA Reposado Tequila. This tequila is exported off to Mexico to be aged in Scottish whiskey barrels—resulting in a unique fusion of Scottish and Mexican distilling methods. Production of this unique product has stopped, but you can still grab a bottle while there’s some left!

If your prerogative is to follow tradition, you can also get your tequila straight from Mexico. First up we have The Cordas Margarita by 1800 Tequila. This vibrant pour was created to celebrate 1800 Tequila’s partnership with the eponymous artist who inspired the cocktail. Daniel, designer to the stars, is known for hand painting sneakers – bringing kicks to life with his signature floral style, he has created pieces for the likes of Billie Eilish. For a tropical and spicy Margarita variation, we recommend the vibrant Cordas Margarita.

The Cordas Margarita

Rocks Glass (with Tajín)

1 Large Ice Block

50ml 1800 Silver Tequila

20ml Fresh Lime Juice

20ml Mango Juice

1 Pineapple Ring

15ml Dark Agave Nectar

1-2cm Fresh Chilli (chopped & de-seeded)

Method – Rub triangular-shape on glass with Lime Wedge, and lightly tap with Tajín powder to coat. Shake all ingredients with ice for 10 seconds and strain over ice block into glass.

Garnish – Mango Chips, Pineapple Leaves and Flower

Another notorious tequila brand is Jose Cuervo. This classic tequila brand has just made DIY Margarita mixing that much easier by producing their very own ‘Citrus Bliss’ and 'Tropical Burst' Margarita mixers. This ultra-slick sherbet accented concoction was created for mixing in the Jose Cuervo Launderita. What on earth is the Launderita? Only the world’s first washing machine designed to mix cocktails – designed by Jose Cuervo for National Margarita Day, it’ll be touring the UK this week!

Try the zesty Margarita which inspired the ‘Citrus Bliss’ mixer from fresh ingredients at home:

Citrus Bliss

Chilled Martini Glass

50ml Jose Cuervo Especial Silver

½ Fresh Lemon

½ Fresh Lime

1tsp Lemon Sherbet

15ml Light Agave Nectar

Method – Shake all ingredients with ice for 10 seconds before fine-straining into glass .

Garnish – Lemon Sherbert in Glass & spray Lime Peel oils over Cocktail.

If you want to support a more local brand, Savora Drinks makes a delicious range of mixers designed specifically for tequila. Their Savora Zesty Lime & and Sweet Agave is ideal for making a traditional margarita, and pairs well with 100% Agave Blanco Tequila. If more experimental flavours excite you, you can also opt for the Savora Vibrant Orange and Fiery Ginger tequila mixer, which is recommended to use with 100% Agave Reposado Tequila. Either of these mixers provide a great base for you to experiment with different flavours and rim-liners to make the margarita your own! The possibilities of tangy additives are endless, but we recommend a classic salt rim for the Zesty Lime & Sweet Agave mixer, and a spicy Tajín rim for the Vibrant Orange and Fiery Ginger Tequila mixer.

Whether you use a margarita mixer, create your own recipe, or go out to your local Mexican bar for a delicious Margarita, we hope you enjoy celebrating this classic cocktail. ¡Salúd!

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