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4 Delicious Cinco de Mayo Margaritas from Gastronomista

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Cinco de Mayo is one of my favorite holidays of the year—mostly because there are margaritas involved. I love margs for any occasion, but they taste extra delicious when you know that summer’s quickly approaching after a long, cold spring. 

Today we’ve got four, yes four, recipes for Margaritas that will satisfy even the pickiest palates: The Mercadito with Jalapenos and Cilantro, A Smoky Ginger Mezcal Margarita, a Habanero Grapefruit Marg, and a recipe for A Perfect Margarita—none of which are dispensed from an icee machine. Cheers!

The Perfect Margarita

Recipes vary a bit for a “perfect marg” but a few things are always essential: for a great margarita, use high quality 100 percent agave tequila and freshly squeezed lime juice. Stay away from mixes that are filled with tons of sugar and food coloring. I like my margaritas with Reposado tequila, which is aged for two to eleven months and has a golden color. I always use Cointreau or Triple Sec to add a little bit of sweetness and to round out the acidity of the lime juice.  

Pro Tip:  Margaritas are easy to adjust! If it tastes too sour, add some agave. If it’s too sweet, you can add more lime juice. 

1.5 oz Don Julio 100% Agave Reposado Tequila
1.5 oz triple sec or Cointreau
1 oz Lime juice
¼ oz Agave nectar (optional)
Salt for garnish
Lime slices for garnish
Salt for rimming

Pour salt onto a small plate. Rim edge of margarita glass with lime juice and gently dip into salt. Shake drink with cracked ice and strain mixture into the margarita glass. Enjoy! 

Smoky Ginger Mezcal Margarita

Last year I travelled to Oaxaca and fell hopelessly in love with mezcal, tequila’s smoky brother. You can substitute mezcal for tequila in any margarita, making it taste instantly more earthy and smoky. I love this cocktail that introduces ginger, adding a spicy bite!

1.5 oz Los Amantes Oaxacan Mezcal
1 oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
1 oz Fresh lime juice
½ oz Fresh lemon juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
Lime Slices for Garnish 

Shake drink with cracked ice and strain into a cocktail glass with a large cube of ice. Garnish with a slice of fresh lime. 

Option:  If you want to turn down the smoky flavors in this cocktail, swap out the Los Amantes mezcal for Zignum Reposado, another type of mezcal that has just a touch of smoke!

Mercadito Margarita with Jalapeño and Cilantro 

The Mercadito is a great cocktail for someone who is a bit bored of the traditional margarita. It’s spicy and sweet, and has cilantro and cucumber to give it extra freshness. 

1.5 oz Milagro Silver
½ oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz Fresh lime juice
¾ Agave nectar
2 Dashes celery bitters
1 tsp Minced cilantro
Jalapeño slices
4 Cucumber slices for garnish

Muddle Cilantro and Jalapeño in a shaker. Add the first five ingredients and shake well with hand-cracked ice. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice, jalapeño, and a sprig of cilantro.

Habanero Grapefruit Margarita

This Margarita is for those who like their cocktails HOT!  Habanero infused tequila is easy to make, and instantly heats up a traditional marg. This cocktail has a low baritone heat from the peppers, which contrasts marvellously against the bright flavor of the grapefruit.  

1.5 oz Habanero infused Camarena 100% Agave Silver Tequila (see below for recipe)
3 oz Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
.5 oz Fresh lime juice
.5 oz Simple syrup
Orange zest and sugar for garnish
Sugar for rimming

Mix sugar and orange zest on a small plate. Rim edge of glass with lime juice and gently dip into the sugar. Shake well with cracked ice and strain into a highball glass. Garnish with a whole habanero pepper (not recommended for eating). 

Option:  If you’re not into spice, use Joven (Silver) Tequila instead of habanero-infused tequila.

Habanero-Infused Tequila

2 Habanero peppers
8 oz Silver 100 percent agave tequila (we used Camarena Tequila)

Slice peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place into a non-reactive bottle and add tequila. Depending on your tolerance to spice, you will want to adjust the time you leave the habanero slices in the tequila. After just a few hours, the tequila will be quite spicy, so you might want to taste it after four hours or so. If you really like heat, let it infuse for 24 hours. If it’s too spicy, use half joven tequila and half habanero-infused tequila when making your margaritas. 

Pro Tip: Habaneros are notoriously spicy and can be tricky to work with.  Take out contacts before slicing, and refrain from rubbing your eyes with your fingers.

Love these cocktail suggestions? Check out more delicious drink recipes here.

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