Sometimes my job is really tough. Take yesterday for instance, I spent a good couple of hours tweaking and tasting (lots of tasting!) a recipe for mint margaritas. It was taxing, tedious work but somehow I suffered through.
Right now my lime tree is prolific and the mint is threatening to overtake the garden, so a mint margarita seemed like a good way to make use of the bounty.
This cocktail is the kissing cousin of the mojito – a mojarita if you will. After several attempts I believe I have come up with a refined sugar free cocktail that is crisp, refreshing, and fragrant. After I got the recipe down, I continued to taste test just to make sure I got the recipe perfect – see how diligent I am?
There are a few things to know about making a good margarita of any flavor and this one in particular.
First I believe you should start with good tequila – I prefer silver tequila made from 100% blue agave. I am a big fan of Patrón Silver, it is a bit pricey but worth it.
The other alcohol in this drink is a touch of orange flavored liqueur. I prefer Cointreau; it is a premium brand of triple sec. Again, pricier but you only use a little and trust me, it makes a difference!
Fresh lime juice is a must! Do not even think about using bottled lime juice. Please promise me right here and now. Trust me when I say it makes a huge difference!
For a dash of sweetness I use Wholesome Sweeteners organic blue agave, agave and tequila come from the same plant so it seems simpatico to use them together in a margarita.
To extract all the flavor and fragrance from the mint leaves it is best to muddle it. To muddle is to combine ingredients in the bottom of a cocktail shaker or jar by pressing down with a muddler. A muddler is a long pestle, shaped sort of like a baseball bat, with a flat end at the bottom. If you don’t have a muddler, you can use a wooden spoon or the end of a French rolling pin. The trick is to really get in there and crush the mint (along with the lime juice and agave), you want to extract every bit of the essential oils from that mint – put some muscle into it and muddle through! (Sorry for the pun, I couldn’t resist!)
Even though I find it sexier to make cocktails with a cocktail shaker, there are times when you need to make a big batch and that would just take too long. In this case you can ditch the cocktail shaker and muddler and use a blender. Put the mint, lime juice, and agave into the blender and blend it well before adding the liquor. I prefer not to blend my margaritas with ice as it waters them down. If I am making margaritas in a blender, I blend the ingredients then pour into a pitcher with ice and stir well to chill.
The recipe below makes one cocktail, you can double, triple, or even ten times the amount. Just keep the proportions the same. It is basically 3 parts tequila, 2 parts lime juice, 1 part orange flavored liqueur, and 1 part agave. For every drink I use 1/4 cup mint leaves to muddle and then a few more, thinly sliced, to add to the drink after it has been mixed.
So there you have it. I hope you appreciate all the long, arduous hours I put into testing and tasting to come up with the perfect mint margarita. It was a really tough job but I would do anything for you.
Mint Margarita Recipe
5 tablespoons (packed) fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon organic blue agave
3 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon orange flavored liqueur (such as Cointreau)
Kosher salt, optional
Limes slices – for garnish
Mint springs – for garnish
Place 4 tablespoons of whole mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker along with the lime juice and agave. Using a muddler, press down and twist repeatedly until you really smell the mint. Add the tequila, orange flavored liqueur and about a cup of ice. Shake well until really cold.
If you like your margaritas with salt, pour some kosher salt into a small plate, rub a lime wedge around the top of the glass and dip into the salt.
Take the remaining mint leaves, roll them up like a cigar and slice thinly with a very sharp knife. Add some ice to the glass, strain in the margarita and then stir in the sliced mint. Serve with a few slices of lime and a sprig of mint if desired.
A gluten free recipe that serves 1.
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