The other weekend when my cousin’s family came to visit, she brought along a bottle of margarita mix. We didn’t get around to drinking any — they fixed us fresh mojitos instead, oh-la-la — so, curious as to how margaritas from a mix tasted, I asked if I could pour a bit into a jar for a drink later, after they left.
The margarita was delicious (of course — aren’t all margaritas delicious?), and then I started thinking: couldn’t I just make my own margarita mix? Really, how hard could it be?
From my preliminary research, I learned that mixes — ingredients and proportions — are all over the place. Some have only a spoonful of lime, and others call for a variety of citrus: lime, lemon, and orange. Some mixes have boatloads of simple syrup and others zero. After reading recipe after recipe, the whole thing started to sound like gobbedly-gook, so I quick scribbled down some quantities and shut the computer. Clearly, I’d have to learn by doing (and tasting, ha!).
But lo and behold, my first attempt, despite my decidedly inferior mixology skills, yielded margaritas that were exactly — I repeat, exactly — what I was after: not too sweet, punchy with alcohol, and with plenty of sour from the lime. I was thrilled.
Since then, I’ve made the mix several times. I enjoy the drinks both straight up (salted rims, optional) and whirled with ice for a slushy. On hot summer afternoons, however, I’m particularly partial to the slushy version, especially when it’s served up alongside a heaping plate of cheesy (pepper jack is best!) tortilla chips.
One recipe makes about four margaritas and can be either served straight or blended with ice.
For the simple syrup: measure ½ cup each of white sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat, removing from the heat when the sugar is dissolved. Store any leftover syrup in a jar in the fridge.
6 ounces tequila
2 ounces triple sec
2 ounces simple syrup (see head note)
2-4 ounces fresh citrus juice, approx (1 lemon and 2 limes)
Combine and store in a pint jar in the fridge.
For an icy margarita for one: blend ½ cup of the mix with ice (keep adding ice until it’s a thick slurry) and pour into a tall glass. If you’re feeling fancy, add a slice of lime and stick a straw in it.
They (the margarita gods) say that the mix will stay good in the fridge for a week, but I think it’d last lots longer. I mean, it’s alcohol and sugar, after all — how can it go bad?