Margarita Madness – Mother’s Day

Yesterday I covered the making of awesome margarita mix. Today I’ll show how easy it is to pull the stuff out of the fridge and turn it into incredible frozen drinks.

The secret here is the Blendtec. Every summer I used to go through 2-3 “professional” grade blenders. They just couldn’t cut the job of of hacking ice to bits all summer. Fourth of July alone was certain to kill one or two. Enter the Blendtec. Yeah, it’s an expensive blender, but this puppy has lasted 4 years now without a hiccup, making it cheaper than all those dudes, and it tears anything to shreds.

It has like 256 built in programs, and even a USB port (never used it) for programming. But it does have all sorts of fancy dynamic speed stuff and auto detection and prevention of cavitation (when the ice gets stuck on the side and stops blending).

You can see the mix on the right. Just add some ice and frozen fruit to the bucket. In this case I used strawberries, rasberries, blackberries, and cherries.

Fill about halfway with mix. Blend.

I forgot to photo the result until it had melted a bit, but it tasted great. It hardly matters what fruit you use. This had a frutti di bosco thing going.

My next batch, I added mango pineapple, a few strawberries and cherries.

Better picture. This was closer to a classic strawberry margarita (something the mix does fantastically), but even better, a bit brighter in flavor.


For how to make the mix, see here.

For other food reports, check out the food index.

Margarita Madness – The Mix

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:

4 tequilla

2 cointrea

2 lime

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.

For other food reports, check out the food index.

Quick Eats: La Serenata

Restaurant: La Serenata

Location: 1416 Fourth Street Santa Monica, CA 90401. 310-656-7017

Date: Jan 8, 2011

Cuisine: Mexican


When I first started going 15-16 years ago, La Serenata was fairly eye opening — coming as I did from the world of tex-mex=Mexican. LA has so many different kinds of south of the border food. This place has always felt at least a little less Americanized and farther from street food. Plus, it’s right behind the promenade and perfect for a quick “before the movies” bite. The menu can be found here.

Cadillac Margarita, blended, no salt. Pretty good, although not in the same league as the ones I make myself at home. I take my home Margarita’s VERY serious, as seriously as I do my Ultimate Pizza. Any of the legions who have attended my 4th of July parties where I go through 7-10 gallons will attest! When it comes back in season I will blog in detail about my blend.

La Serenata always serves a soup with the meal. They vary by the day, but usually consist of some form of vegetable combined with cream and blended. This is mushroom. I’m partial myself to this kind of soup because cream is well… good.

The chipotle sauce. Can we say blood-red?

A round of the simple cheese only quesadillas. Popular with the two year-old set. And adults.

La Serenata offers several fishes every night, each of which can be paired with an assortment of half a dozen sauces. This is salmon in “La Salsa Serenata,” a cream and mushroom sauce.

Vegetables, beans, and homemade corn tortillas.

“Carne Deshebrada en chile Colorado,” shredded beef in a red chile sauce with onions and potatoes. You’d be hard pressed to find a more American dish — and I don’t mean the USA, I mean the continent. This is tasty stuff tucked into the tortillas.

The place has a festive “fake Mexican village” decor, but the food is very tasty, and doesn’t have that blah feel that too many generic Mexican places have. All very tasty. Plus, once you pound down three Cadilac Margaritas, you’d be hard pressed to tell.