If you’ve spent any time with us on our balcony overlooking the lake on a summer evening, you probably already know that margaritas are my signature drink, but not one that I generally order at a restaurant. I hate those cloyingly-sweet concoctions of high-fructose corn syrup and citric acid poured from a plastic jug that pass for margaritas in most establishments. When I want a margarita, I’m either getting it from someone credible like Rick Bayless, or more likely – mixing my own. And I make a fine margarita, if I do say so myself.
Mark’s family came to visit us this weekend, and brought the sunshine with them, so we spent as much time as possible outdoors enjoying the weather, so there wasn’t much kitchen activity this weekend. But the weather was so beautiful on Sunday, it inspired me to fire up the blender for the first margaritas of the season. And they were a perfect refreshment for a sunny afternoon at home.
I don’t like to spend a lot of time fussing around with squeezing limes, so I’ve taken a shortcut on my margarita prep. I simply cut the limes into eighths, and blend them in the blender for 10-20 seconds with 5 cups of water and then strain. Instant margaritas! Not only is this method easier, but by using the whole lime you get a different, earthier lime taste from all that zest whizzing around in the blender. The result is the taste of the whole lime, and a little less tart than straight lime juice.
I also sweeten the juice with agave nectar as I try to avoid sugar as much as I can. For this batch, I decided to add a tangerine and a peeled and diced mango to the mix, which added some extra sweetness, and decreased the amount of agave required. Enjoy!
Serves 8-10 cocktails
6 limes, washed and cut into eighths
1 tangerine, sliced in half, seeds removed, then cut into eighths (optional)
1 champagne mango, peeled, and diced, pit discarded (optional)
5 cups water
approx. 1/2 cup agave nectar
1 cup good quality tequila (or to taste)
1/2 cup triple sec
- Get out a pitcher and sieve. Wash limes and cut each lime into 8 pieces. Wash tangerine, slice in half and remove seeds, then cut into 8 pieces. Place citrus in blender, add 5 cups of water, and blend for 10-20 seconds, until citrus is ground into small pieces. If you have a small, or less powerful blender, do this in 2 batches.
- Place the sieve over your pitcher, and strain the contents of the blender into the pitcher. Rinse out the blender bowl. Add the diced mango to the now clean blender, and cover with some of the strained lime juice. Puree until smooth, then pour the lime/mango mixture into the pitcher with the remaining lime juice. Stir. Pour in the agave nectar, tequila, triple sec and stir until well combined.
- Serve in cocktail glasses rimmed with salt and pour over ice. Enjoy outdoors, preferably with the sun shining above.