National Margarita Day, February 22nd, is not one of the holidays on our calendar. We get the day off, but that's because it's Saturday, not because we like to mix our tequila with other stuff. We are not throwing a National Margarita Day party, and we will not be drinking margaritas at it.
But you shouldn't get us wrong: we love margaritas. We love 'em on the rocks, and we love 'em blended up and served in a pineapple. A few years back we drank our way through NY's best options in margaritas, and that was a good week indeed. We love 'em in Austin, we love 'em in Boston, and we really love 'em at home.
The great thing about making margaritas at home is that you know exactly what went into the drinks. Fresh fruit and good booze are worth celebrating pretty much any day of the year. Whether you are observing National Margarita Day or not, here are 6 great recipes to get you started making the best homemade margaritas you've ever had.
Let's start with the basics. This is Kenji's recipe for fresh citrus margaritas, made with a mix of lemon and lime juice. In all of these recipes, you'll get the best results using tequila made with 100% agave. Look for it on the label!
The Best Frozen Lime Margaritas
In a warm home kitchen, you can't just dump fresh lime, tequila, Cointreau, and simple syrup in blender with ice: as you whir it, the room-temperature liquid melts the ice, so you get a cool, but not brain-freezing-frozen margarita. The secret to real slushie-style margaritas at home: make your margarita base the day before and keep it in a sealed container in your freezer. The mix won't freeze since there's so much alcohol and sugar in it, but it will drop way down in temperature: ours clocked in at 5 degrees Farenheit after an overnight rest. When the party starts, throw your ice in the blender, add your super-cold homemade margarita mix, get it whirring on "ice crush" and you're good to go. The result is sweet-tart, boozy, and totally refreshing.
Fresh Pineapple Margaritas
Fruity cocktails rarely taste authentically of fruit and spirits, but this one does, showcasing the caramel notes of reposado tequila quite nicely. If you discover that your pineapple isn't super-sweet, microwave the sliced pineapple chunks on a plate for a few secons to bring out the juicy flavors.
Tangerine Ginger Margarita
Pomegranate juice adds a pretty color and vivid flavor to this drink, which also features the wonderful sweetness of fresh tangerines. We like pretty much any drink with fresh ginger in it, but this one is truly delicious.
Sweet-tart kumquats are popping with flavor right now—and these teeny fruits are awesome in a margarita. Agave nectar adds a gentle sweetness; you can make this one with either silver or reposado tequila with good results.
To get the watermelon flavor to really come through in this thirst-quencher, you'll whir an ample amount of ripe cubed melon (seedless!) in a blender with a little kosher salt. Don't worry, it doesn't make the whole drink salty. Instead of the traditional triple sec, this margarita variation calls for St. Germain elderflower liqueur, which adds a very delicate floral sweetness that works especially well with the melon.