Out in the suburbs of San Pablo is a little garage bar. The yard is strung with lights and painted in vibrant colors. The music is always playing. Everyone is dancing.
It’s the place I made my first margarita. It’s a place I can call home any time. It’s my grandfather’s bar. I’ll never forget watching that smooth bastard mix a drink. Telling some tall tale while pouring ounces to the rhythm. He’d be talking to you but his eyes were hunting down a beautiful woman. Someone he could steal a few dances with. It wasn’t just old charm. The man had talent. Talent he shared with me.
It’s different than it was back then. He gave me a base. A guideline to be broken. Hell, we use to grab fresh oranges off the trees and add them in for fun. It was always about the flavor. This recipe is my go to for the margarita. It’s a mix of my past with my present. If you want the best margarita, this is where you start.
Rocks glass, filled with ice
2 oz Tequila Blanco
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Elderflower liqueur
1 oz fresh lime juice
Rim the glass with kosher salt, sugar, smoked paprika
Garnish with lime wedge
I prefer a white or silver tequila. It’s raw. I can taste more of the agave. But for some it’s a little harsh. If you prefer something more mellow with a hint of oak, try using a Reposado.
If you want to break tradition, you can take a look at any mezcal out there. Again I prefer joven, the silver. The young are eager to show their flavors. You can find something smokey all the way to something with a hint of apple. Try it out sometime.
Also any orange liquor will do. You could even use blue curacao. Just not Grand Marnier. it’s brandy based so it will change the flavor a lot. I don’t recommend it.