The Perfect Margarita

We’ve all been duped before. Margarita-Mix Margaritas are the mixology equivalent of Play-Doh Pancakes. In stark contrast to the authentic mexican margaritas we’ve come to love between Scottsdale and Sonoyta, our at-home concoctions have left a lot to be desired.

So, when we picked “Make the Perfect Margarita” from our Sunday Bucket this week, we knew some research was in order.

We started at Cien Agaves, a great spot in Old Town Scottsdale, last Sunday afternoon. We picked 2:00pm to sit down at the bar, figuring we’d get the most attention from the bartender between the lunch and dinner crowds, when the place was empty. There, we learned the basic recipe:

3 Fresh-Squeezed Lime Halves
0.5 oz Triple Sec (we used Cointreau)
1 oz Simple Syrup (Half Sugar/Half Water)
1.5 oz Tequila (100% Agave)
Salt or Sugar Rim Optional (use Triple Sec or Simple Syrup on the rim)
Shake with ice, then pour over new ice

We learned that not all tequila is made equal. “Blanco” means new, “Reposado” means rested or aged, and “Anejo” means even more aged, usually in oak barrels. The longer the aging process, the more character, color, and smoothness the tequila generally has. But, as a component to a Margarita, any middle-of-the-road tequila will do just fine. Fun fact: to be called a ‘tequila’, the liquor must be made in one of five states of Mexico, sort of like French Champagne.

On Monday, we celebrated our dating anniversary at Elements, a restaurant in Scottsdale’s Sanctuary resort, and finished our meal with a Margarita sorbet, proving that the perfect margarita isn’t necessarily on the rocks.

Tuesday, we finished up our research at The Spotted Donkey Cantina up near Carefree, where we learned that Agave Nectar could be substituted for simple syrup for a more natural alternative (tequila is made from Blue Agave after all).

Our experience culminated on Wednesday night, when we hit the grocery store and finally put our knowledge to good use. A few nice dates, great drinks, and new education can make any week a great one!



For Your Bucket:

Cost: $46.80 for our ingredients, plus our “research”
Restaurant WebsitesCien AgavesElementsThe Spotted Donkey Cantina
Location: Scottsdale and Carefree, AZ


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cronzio (3961 days ago)

Are you a bartender or a margarita aficionado? How did we do? Do you have a better recipe or any other suggestions?

Kathleen Ronzio (3961 days ago)

looks yummy and very summery

cronzio (3961 days ago)

Perfect for summer! Or all year round in Arizona :-)

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