Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hill Country Margarita Madness

 In cold climes, winters drive people bonkers before the snow melts.  "Cabin Fever" it's called, and people are reported driven to bizarre behavior like shooting their refrigerators.

Here in the Texas Hill Country, we suffer an opposite-season malady, arising when triple digits have driven us to live like moles, scurrying out of our air-conditioned burrows only at dawn and dusk when our skin won't burn from the rays reflected off the sidewalk.  

We call the malady Margarita Madness.  

And the time is now.  So I'm sharing my favorite margarita with youSome folks might quibble with the proportions or ingredients and they're entitled to their opinions.  But until someone pours a finer light-green beverage in my glass, I'm sold on this one.

You don't need a jigger, just use the same  thimble/cup/glass for each ingredient and the flavors will balance.  My favorite measurer is a crooked-soldier liqueur glass I brought back from Mexico decades ago after watching artisans in Tlaquepaque make them from smashed-and-melted coke bottles rimmed in the cobalt blue of smashed-and-melted Pepto-Bismal bottles.  I liked seeing something good come out of all those bouts of Tourista.

Margarita Commandments
It's all about good ingredients and proper proportion.  The liquids need to balance in intensity.  If you use a light tequila, go with a lighter density orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec), and vice versa.  

Freshly squeezed lime juice is a Law.  The lime will be better if it has never seen refrigeration, it sat on your counter until softly ripe, and you rolled it on the cutting board to loosen the juices before you cut it open.

Please read this sentence out loud (including the period): 
Frozen Lime Drinks Are Not Real Margaritas. 

Here are things that are NOT commandments:  
Salt or not--I think it's better with salt but this one didn't come down from on high.
Kind of glass--I like a wide bowl for the fun of swirling but you can use whatever shaped glass you like to hold.

Hill Country Margarita

1 portion decent tequila (mid-range quality is fine)
1 & 1/2 portion orange liqueur
1 portion (scant) freshly-squeezed lime juice (juice of 3/4 - 1 lime for mine)
coarse salt for the rim

Squeeze lime.  Run lime around rim of glass, wetting inner and outer rim.  Dip glass in coarse salt and twirl to coat edge.

Fill shaker with ice.
Measure tequila and pour into shaker.  Measure orange liqueur and pour into shaker.  Measure lime juice and pour into shaker.  Put top on shaker and bounce that baby back and forth for about the time it takes you to sing a line from your favorite song.  Taste.  Add a little triple sec or lime juice if it makes you happy.  Shake again and pour into salt-rimmed glass.  

Turn the music up and dance, returning to the glass from time to time for a sip.  Smack your lips and remember that August doesn't last forever.

Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.
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