Merry companionship is practically guaranteed at the legendary Hussong's bar in Ensenada, especially after a couple of these tart (and very potent) margaritas. Made with fresh citrus juices and good blanco tequila, it’s a simple, classic recipe that will knock you on your can if you aren’t careful.
While salting the margarita rim has become commonplace, heavy salt will actually detract from the drink; try a tiny dash of salt on the ice cubes or in the bottom of the glass. I love the subtle trick of salting only the inside of the rim, so your lips never touch salt.
Sour mix is a bar staple, but most commercial bar stock is terrible stuff, full of flavorings and preservatives that shouldn’t cross your lips, much less sully a good drink. This homemade mix is well-balanced between tart and sweet, but leaning toward the tart, a logical counterpoint to tequila’s herbal kick. Fresh-squeezed juices are absolutely essential to the mix—don’t cut corners. (Remember, el flojo trabaja doble—the lazy person works twice as hard.) The work of juicing is a small price to pay for the most delicious drinks ever!
Yield: Recipe makes 1 margarita, but it may be doubled to make two at a time
1 1⁄2 ounces 100 percent agave blanco tequila
3 ounces fresh sweet and sour mix (recipe follows)
3⁄4 ounce orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau or Citronage
3⁄4 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
Fresh sweet and sour mix (makes about 4 cups, enough for 8 margaritas):
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup white sugar
2 cups filtered water
For the Fresh Sweet and Sour Mix:
Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate. Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you may want to add a little more sugar or water, but keep a nice tart edge. Use within 24 hours.
For the Margarita Sol:
1. Carefully run the wedge of lime around the inside rim of a 12-ounce tumbler (for rocks) or a 10-ounce martini glass, then dunk the glass onto a saucer of kosher salt to create a thin line of salt around the inside rim only. Shake off excess.
2. Combine the tequila, sour mix, liqueur, and orange juice in a glass shaker filled with ice. Cap tightly, shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and strain over fresh ice cubes into the rocks glass, or straight up into the martini glass.
Mexican bartenders make their margaritas with a distinctively flavored orange liqueur called Controy, which is unfortunately not available in this country.