Recently we wrote about the classic margarita, its greatness, and why you would want to riff on it – along with providing a couple of unique recipes to begin exploring what a margarita variation has to offer.
In this article, we’ll be continuing our trend of celebrating the incredible flexibility of premium tequila’s flavor, and the ability for passionate individuals to discover an essentially endless variety of new tastes. Before we proceed with a few margarita riffs that we recommend, we’ll briefly revisit what a classic margarita should look like, so that there’s no FOMO for those who haven’t read part 1 of this series.
To create a classic, pure and delicious margarita, begin with an ice-filled shaker and add:
First rim a rocks glass with a lime and dip into coarse salt (optional). Add all the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds. Shaking creates dilution and is one of the most important steps in making the perfect margarita. Strain into your Rocks glass over fresh ice or pour the contents of the shaker into your rocks glass (aka a “dirty pour”).
With that covered, and while we admit that the enjoyment of the finer things in life cannot be rushed, we’ll get right to a fresh group of margarita variations to try:
“The Last Word” originated as a prohibition-era, gin-based cocktail that finds its simplicity in its proportions, and its complexity in its unique ingredients, including maraschino liqueur and herbal Chartreuse. This riff deviates from the traditional margarita by adding these aforementioned flavors – but using the base of tequila in the beverage provides a different spin on this classic cocktail that features a deliciously warm agave flavor.
Shake ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled Coupe glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry draped delicately across the drink on a toothpick.
The Devil’s Margarita takes a page out of the NY Sour book by floating red wine atop a plain margarita, giving a nice red fade to the drink, while also imparting some deep, delicious flavors by way of the wine you choose. Cabernet works well, but feel free to try any red wine you like. Note that the best flavor tends to come from a dry wine (might we suggest, Spanish?) as opposed to a slightly more sweet red wine variety such as pinot noir.
Shake everything but the red wine in an ice-filled cocktail shaker until chilled. Strain into a chilled Coupe or margarita glass. Next, measure out the red wine in a liquid measuring cup for easier pouring. Then, hold a spoon upside down in the drink with the tip of the spoon hovering just over the top of the drink and toward the rim of the glass. Slowly and carefully pour the red wine over the back of a spoon. If done correctly, it should end up sitting on top of the drink as a distinct layer. Garnish with a lime wedge.
If you’re feeling adventurous, or simply enjoyed your high school chemistry class, crafting a Clarified Margarita can be an enjoyable – and out of the ordinary – experience.
Clarifying a liquor involves mixing the liquor into milk – yes, milk – and then straining the liquor through the milk after chilling in the refrigerator. Doing so quite literally clarifies the liquor, changing it from its original color into a clear spirit – while leaving the flavors of the spirit intact.
Why do this? Simply put, clarifying tequila helps take the edge off of spirits and allows you to hone in on the flavors that make up the liquor without being overpowered by any astringent qualities. In layman’s terms: it tastes great.
While the preparation is unique, and the presentation is nice, the more important factor is that on a molecular level, the milk protein binds primarily to polyphenols (which are responsible for bitter flavors), so by straining out the milk, it further smooths out the liquor. Anyone who has enjoyed an Aldez Reposado or Añejo neat or on the rocks knows that they’re incredibly smooth already – but this process allows the perfect marriage of tequila and the ingredients in the drink to come together in a silky smooth concoction your friends will talk about for days. Leftover whey proteins from the milk also help create a more luscious mouthfeel in the resulting cocktail.
Put this tactic into making your next margarita and you’ll be rewarded with the smoothest margarita you’ve ever had.
Are you going to try one of these options or do you have something else in mind? Share your experience with the above riffs or tag us with your own unique creations at @aldeztequila to inspire the Aldez community. You can restock your Aldez supply by buying online and we’ll deliver it to your doorstep. And keep an eye out for more tequila riffs (margarita and otherwise) that we recommend in this ongoing series.