Growing up in rural Upstate New York, the margaritas I knew were a concoction served from rotating machines, resembling a white 7-11 slurpy mixed with cheap booze. They were something you drank if for some unexplained reason you didn't like the taste of Genny Light. I didn't drink margaritas. I drank Genny Light and jug wine.
In California I ordered Margaritas on the rocks with salt and they became an acceptable alternative to beer after a bike ride on a hot day. When I first made margaritas myself I used a florescent green mixer I bought at Safeway and Cuervo Gold. The result wasn't very good, and these bottles have been sitting on my liquor shelf for 4 years now:
I never truly understood Margaritas until Kathryn and I found Tommy's in an unlikely location in one of the foggiest districts of San Francisco. While the bar and restaurant is probably home to more roaches than we'd like to admit, they have by far the best (and most intoxicating) Margaritas I've ever had.
Their recipe is simple:
- 100% agave tequila
- Fresh lime juice
- Simple syrup
To the left of the door at Tommy's there is a huge pile of limes, and that's the key. No mixes. Only fresh, hand made cocktails. High quality materials, hand production, attention to detail, and experience. This is a recipe for a quality product.
The overall cost of option 1 (florecent mixer and Cuervo) and option 2 (fresh limes and agave tequilla) isn't much different. Agave tequila is now plentiful at most liquor stores, and I bought one that was on sale. 14 limes, enough for ~7 margaritas, cost $2 at the local produce market.