Margaritaville

Before starting on margarita week, a brief postscript to anise flavors week. I've had a recipe from a few weeks ago that calls for Sambuca, and yesterday I noticed a small bottle at my little neighborhood liquor store, so I bought it. Boy, does that smell like licorice when you open it! According to wikipedia, sambuca was being produced in Italy in the 1800s, so this isn't another absinthe substitute like Ricard or Pernod.

This drink calls for brandy, sambuca, a little lemon, very little simple syrup. It wasn't bad. Lemon goes well with the brandy, the sugar helps cut the lemon, and the anise flavor is just enough, though I'm still not a big fan. Now let's see how many more recipes my calendar his this year that call for sambuca, now that I have a bottle.

On to margaritas. The recipes all week are for margaritas in one form or another in honor of Cinco de Mayo. I wondered where the margarita came from (old Mexican favorite?), so I looked it up. No one knows for sure, but it seems to date no earlier than the late 1930s or 1940s. By 1953 it was Esquire magazine's Drink of the Month, so it sure caught on fast.

The margaritas in my calendar are drunk straight, no crushed ice, no margarita mix. I skipped the salt on the rim of the glass, just because I was lazy.

Last night I made two of the recipes: a classic margarita, and the cadillac margarita. The cadillac calls for reposado tequilla (very high end), so I splurged on a bottle and used it for both. The classic calls for cointreau and the cadillac grand marnier; I used grand marnier in both so I could judge how much difference the proportions make.

The proportions for the classic are 1 1/2 oz tequilla, 1 1/2 oz lime juice, 1 oz orange stuff. For the cadillac it's 2 oz tequilla, 1 oz lime, and 1 oz orange. I don't know if it's the reposado (I wasn't keen on the higher-end silver Patron a couple weeks ago when I was mixing drinks with it, either), or not having the salt to help cut it, or what, but I didn't care for either one very much. They sure don't taste like the ones at Applebees (which may be a good thing). I liked the classic a little better than the cadillac, which I wouldn't make again, either straight up or over ice. One of the recipes says you can use a little simple syrup if you want, so that might help.

I have 2 more recipes to mix up, and I'm still looking for fresh mint to make the Derby drinks from last weekend, so this weekend should be a pretty liquid one.