I tend to error on the obsessive compulsive side (no duh). So, about six years ago when I first started making Margaritas seriously I went through a lengthy experimentation phase to find the perfect recipe. Now one could (and I have) make a slightly better drink as a one off, but this recipe is tuned for the maximum quality/efficiency ratio. I’ve really honed this down to a system and it makes a superb margarita with fairly little effort. I’ve had 40 liters of mix consumed at one, so efficiency plays an important role!
The mix is crucial, but it’s also easy. Say no to that store bought neon-green chemical poison crap. That stuff should NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BE USED. No fake green. Never! I’m serious. Real high quality homemade mix lasts for months in the fridge, and can be used to make margaritas nearly instantly. You can use it straight on the rocks, or blended, or mix with fruit for any conceivable variation.
The components, more on each below.
The container is important. I love these 4L heavy duty containers with a good seal on the top and a separate flip up for pouring. 4L is a lot of mix, but I can easily go through 2L at a family party, or 7-8 of these containers at 4th of July!
For efficiency I use concentrated limeade. I used to use Rose’s Lime Juice, but this stuff is easier, keeps better, and actually tastier. Plus it has some pulp (which I like in this context). It also has a bit of sugar which kills two birds with one stone, negating the need to make simple syrup (sugar boiled into water). I have experimented with squeezing my own limejuice. It tastes a bit better, but the labor/quality ratio just doesn’t make it sensible. It takes A LOT of limes to make 32 liters of mix! Even one of these jugs will have you squeezing for an hour.
For bulk Margaritas I use an inexpensive Reposado tequila like this one. Never use crap tequila like normal Cuervo. Really good sipping tequila is a waste in a margarita, so this is a decent compromise. I also prefer the heavier more rustic taste of the reposado. Silver is a little too neutral. I’m a more is more kind of guy.
Generic Triple-sec is usually shit, so I always use Cointreau.
And technically my margaritas are Cadillac, as I add Grand Marinier. I experimented with and without, and I much prefer the extra complexity the hint of orange adds. If you are feeling really luxxe you can toss in a spoonful or three of orange concentrate too.
Start by just thunking in the concentrate.
Now a word about the ratios and various efficiencies in making large batches. It’s all about the ratio. I did extensive taste tests to come up with a magic series of numbers:
1 grand marnier
This is the golden ratio. One simple application is using the concentrate as a measuring cup. Throw in one can, add two of tequila, one of cointreau, and half of grand mariner. That simple. You can do the same things with 750ml bottles. The 4L container perfectly fits 2 bottles tequila, 1 of cointreau, half a bottle of grand mariner and two cans of concentrate (the concentrate is about 350-375ml, making it work out nicely with the 750ml bottles). This bottle method is super fast as you can just dump the bottles in wholesale on top of the concentrate.
Make sure the concentrate goes in first as plopping it in after is messy.
After all the ingredients are in, stir.
A finished half container. Store in the fridge, it keeps all summer really, although it’s certainly best within a few weeks. At the simplest, you can just pour over ice and enjoy, but I’ll get more into the complexities of actually using the stuff in my next post.
Continued with some coverage of actually making the drinks, here.
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