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Margaritas: Skip the Blender

by James Joyner on 7 August 2009

There’s booze in the blender and soon it will render that frozen concoction that helps me hang on.


Mr. Jimmy Buffett’s signature song was an ode to hedonistic escapism aided an abetted by a classic cocktail, albeit one adulterated in a way such things often are in establishments catering to old men in tank tops cruising the gift shops on a three-day vacation.

I was reminded of the above the other night watching an episode of Showtime’s not-as-good-as-it-was dramedy “Weeds,” in which Andy is dumped rather early in a date because he’s “closer to forty than to thirty” and still drinking frozen margaritas and otherwise showing no indication that he’s transitioned to adulthood.  Now, you should by no means change your beverage preferences on account of possible judgments of someone you happen to be dating.  To quote another lyric popular around the same time Buffet’s signature tune came out, “If that chick don’t want to know, forget her.”  There’s no predicting what a woman thinks. And she’s going to get mad about something, anyway.

But while I enjoy a frozen margarita every now and again, the real McCoy is a more proper cocktail for a grown man.  The hordes at Wikipedia can’t agree on the precise origin of the drink but it’s been around since at least 1948 and possibly as long ago as 1934.  It was esquire’s drink of the month in December 1953.  The frozen margarita machine, meanwhile, was invented in 1971.

Esquire’s recipe:

1 ounce tequila
Dash of Triple Sec
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
Pour over crushed ice, stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt—pour, and sip.
That strikes me as rather light on the tequila and imprecise on the Triple Sec.  Wikipedia suggests that,

Common ratios for a margarita are

  • 2:1:1 = (50% tequila, 25% Triple Sec, 25% fresh lime or lemon juice)
  • 3:2:1 = (50% tequila, 33% Triple Sec, 17% fresh lime or lemon juice)
  • 3:1:1 = (60% tequila, 20% Triple Sec, 20% fresh lime or lemon juice)
  • 1:1:1 = (33% tequila, 33% Triple Sec, 33% fresh lime or lemon juice)

although the IBA (IBA Official list of Cocktails) standard is

  • 7:4:3 = (50% tequila, 29% Triple Sec, 21% fresh lime or lemon juice)

My preferences lean toward the 3:1:1 ratio.  A cocktail should complement the taste of its spirit, not mask it with the liqueur or other mixing agents.  If you don’t like the taste of tequila, you should be having a different cocktail altogether.  But, hey, to each his own.

My personal favorite is 3 parts good tequila (usually 1800 brand) and one part Grand Marnier in place of regular Tripel Sec.   Cointreau works nicely, though, if you don’t have any Grand Marnier around.   Toss in the juice of half a lime, pour over crushed ice in a Boston Shaker, and shake ’til it’s nice and cold.

About James Joyner

James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway and the managing editor of a DC think tank. He's a former Army officer, Desert Storm vet, and college professor. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama.

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Manly Thoughts | Outside the Beltway | Online Journal of Politics and Foreign Affairs
8 August 2009 at 07:33
Great Potatoes For Great Steaks — MANzine
10 August 2009 at 11:25

{ 1 comment }

1 NB. 10 August 2009 at 04:09

Agreed. Avoid young bartenders for this one, who’s palettes seem to think the drink should taste primarily of lime.

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