When it comes to tequila drinks, one can’t go wrong with a margarita on the rocks; its timeless flavor knows no season. But we’d argue that the frozen margarita has its time and place, too, and with Memorial Day cookouts in full swing, that time is now.
Should you find yourself out of practice after a long winter and a crazy spring, just remember this: A margarita is nothing if not the sum of all its parts. In order to make the best possible drink, you’ll need to start with the very best of everything. Read on to learn more about what should (and shouldn’t!) go into your next blended margarita.
A good drink starts with the right glass—in this case, a traditional margarita glass. The stepped-diameter glass, which some say resembles an upside-down sombrero, maximizes the rim area, which is important in a drink where a salted rim is so important. We’d suggest opting for a version that’s shatterproof (below), to go along with all those active occasions—on the beach, by the pool, at a barbecue—when a blended cocktail feels just right. Or, try a glass etched in a festive south-of-the-border style, or hand-cut glassware for more elegant occasions.
Since the margarita is a tequila cocktail, it’s essential that the base spirit be top-notch. Trust us when we say this: Your margarita should be made using nothing other than 100 percent agave tequila. If the label doesn’t clearly state this, then your tequila could contain as much as 49 percent fermented cane sugar (not a good thing).
It’s worth it to spend a bit more for a quality tequila; our go-to comes from our friends at Casamigos. Use a blanco tequila, which is barely aged or not aged at all. It has a clean, assertive flavor, and is more affordable than its aged (and pricier) reposado and añejo counterparts.
If you’re making your margarita from scratch, fresh lime juice will always contribute to the most vibrant flavor. Since fruit varies in ripeness and sugar levels, be sure to taste your lime juice and sweeten it as needed.
A good-quality mix is, of course, your other option for a fresh, full-flavored margarita and a choice we make often. The Williams Sonoma Margarita Mixes offer a full range of fruity flavors from which to choose—pineapple and jalapeño, strawberry-watermelon, key lime, mango—in addition to classic lime, offering something to quickly satisfy any preference.
Ice may sound like a small detail, but when half of your cocktail is composed of ice, the ingredient shouldn’t be overlooked. Opt for freshly-made ice cubes—the smaller the better, as they incorporate more quickly into the drink when blended.
A salt rim helps enhance the sweet and sour flavors that are signature to a margarita. There’s an art to getting that pretty salt rim—nothing’s worse than salt that won’t stay on a glass!—and it calls for dipping the top of each glass into lime juice before coating it in salt. The stickiness in the juice helps the salt rim stay intact.
Stay away from any fine salt, including table salt, which is too salty and lacks a satisfyingly crunchy texture. For a fresh, clean mineral flavor, we use Jacobsen Salt Co.’s margarita salt, a flake sea salt harvested from the pristine waters of Oregon’s Netarts Bay and packaged in a container that’s wide enough to accommodate a margarita glass. You can also opt for a spiced margarita salt to offer more flavor variety to your glass.
Any of our margarita mixes can be turned into a delicious frozen drink using the following recipe. If you have time, put your margarita glasses in the freezer about an hour before making the drinks.
- Coarse salt for the glass rim (optional)
- 4 lime wedges (optional)
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) margarita mixer of your choice
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) tequila
- 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) ice cubes
If coating the rim of the glass with salt, spread the salt on a small plate. Moisten the rim of 4 margarita glasses with the lime wedges, then dip the edges of the rim into the salt and shake off any excess.
In a blender, combine the margarita mixer, tequila and ice; blend until smooth and slushy, about 30 seconds. Pour into the prepared glasses and serve immediately. Makes 4 drinks.