*The Classic Margarita
There are many stories and legends about the origin of this drink, and there are many
women who have claimed to be the inspiration for it. I believe them all. The margarita
has become one of America’s favorite cocktails, and when it’s made correctly, with
fresh juice, decent quality tequila (which doesn’t necessarily mean very expensive)
and Cointreau, or with a good quality mix, it is also one of the best. As to the identity
of the real Margarita, I think we can only assume she was, like her eponymous drink,
a simple girl, a little salty, and with just the right balance of sweet and tart. Here’s
thinking of her. Cheers.
Kosher salt for rimming the glass
2 lime wedges, with a slit made crosswise in the middle of the cut side
¾ ounces fresh lime juice
½-¾ ounce Cointreau (depending on your desired level of sweetness)
2 ounces tequila (I prefer silver, or blanco, tequila but you can use aged varieties –
reposado or añejo – if you like. The important thing is to use good quality.)
Pour salt into a saucer or small plate, covering an area slightly wider than your glass.
Take one of the lime wedges and run the cut side around the rim of a double old-fashioned glass (also known in bar lingo as a bucket glass), coating it with a thin
glaze of juice. Dip the rim of the glass into the salt (I sometimes dip only half the rim
in the salt in case one doesn’t want salt in every sip). Fill the glass with ice.
In a cocktail shaker full of ice, combine the lime juice, Cointreau and tequila. Shake
vigorously for a few seconds and strain over the fresh ice in the glass, being careful
that the liquid doesn’t reach the salt on the rim (some people wipe the inside of
the rim so the salt is only on the top and outside but this gets tedious when you’re
making a lot of drinks). Place the other lime wedge on the rim for garnish.
Conversely, you can opt to use a chilled cocktail (martini) glass, with the rim salted in
the same manner, and serve the margarita straight up. If you do so, shake the drink a
little longer so it is very cold and garnish with a lime wheel instead of a wedge.