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6 Tips for a Better Margarita

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Happy Cinco de Mayo! Chances are, you’ll be throwing back a margarita or two once the clock strikes 5 p.m. (Or maybe even earlier—we’re not judging!) We asked Estaban Ordonez, a consultant at International Cocktail Group and Manhattan’s Church Street Tavern, for a few tips that will help you take your margaritas to the next level—all summer long.

1. MAKE SURE YOU’RE ADDING ENOUGH—BUT NOT TOO MUCH—OF YOUR INGREDIENTS.

The most common mistake people make when mixing a margarita is adding way too much lime juice. “Generally, everyone says equal parts tequila and lime,” Ordonez says. Instead, here's his fool-proof recipe for a traditional margarita:

2 oz tequila (Ordonez prefers Patron Silver)
1 oz fresh lime juice.
.50 oz simple syrup.
.50 oz triple sec (Ordonez recommends Citronge Orange liqueur)

And his recipe for “frozen perfection”:

2 oz Patron silver
1.5 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
.50 oz Citronge
1 1/2 cup of ice

To get accurate measurements, use a jigger or an ounce measuring cup, and make sure you have a good cocktail shaker or blender on hand to mix everything up.

2. MAKE SURE YOU SHAKE, NOT STIR, YOUR MARGARITA.

You always want to shake any drink that contains citrus and fruit juices, Ordonez says. Shaking with ice not only chills the drink and blends the ingredients completely, it also introduces the tiny air bubbles that give a margarita its cloudy, frothy, and delicious appearance.

3. AVOID CONCENTRATE AND CHEAP TEQUILA.

“Your cocktail can only be as good as the worst of its ingredients,” Ordonez says, so lime concentrate and cheap tequila are a no-no. When it comes to choosing which type of tequila to use, “the best tequila for a margarita should be a silver/blanco, as the natural agave flavor and the true tequila taste are those of the un-aged spirit,” Ordonez says. He recommends looking for the same qualities you enjoy in a sipping or shooting tequila when picking your margarita tequila. “Remember, I might like soccer while you prefer football,” he says. “It’s all a matter of taste.”

4. USE THE RIGHT ICE AND LIMES.

According to Ordonez, what you’ve got in your freezer is “as good as it gets” for your margarita. If you’re not near your freezer, though, you should look for big, solid ice cubes and avoid crushed or hollow ice. When picking limes, “look for soft, shiny skin,” Ordonez says. “A light rub should reveal a rich citrus aroma.”

5. REGULAR SALT IS FINE, BUT YOU CAN ALSO KICK IT UP A NOTCH.

Ordonez prefers medium coarse sea salt, but what you choose for your margarita should depend on your flavor preference. Here’s his go-to salt recipe:

1 tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tbs crushed pink peppercorns
Half cup medium coarse sea salt
All mixed together thoroughly

6. GET CREATIVE.

Because margaritas are very easy to make, and also very versatile, “you can pretty much go to town” with inventive ingredients, Ordonez says. Among his favorite things to add to his margaritas are kiwis, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapefruit, jalapeños, cilantro, avocados, and pineapples (both raw and grilled).

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History
84 Years Ago Today: Goodbye Prohibition!
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
Keystone/Getty Images

It was 84 years ago today that the Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, repealing the earlier Amendment that declared the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol illegal in the United States. Prohibition was over! Booze that had been illegal for 13 years was suddenly legal again, and our long national nightmare was finally over.


A giant barrel of beer, part of a demonstration against prohibition in America.
Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Prohibition of alcohol was not a popular doctrine. It turned formerly law-abiding citizens into criminals. It overwhelmed police with enforcement duties and gave rise to organized crime. In cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis, the dismantling of breweries left thousands of people unemployed.


Photograph courtesy of the Boston Public Library

Homemade alcohol was often dangerous and some people died from drinking it. Some turned to Sterno or industrial alcohol, which was dangerous and sometimes poisoned by the government to discourage drinking. State and federal governments were spending a lot of money on enforcement, while missing out on taxes from alcohol.


New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach (right) watches agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of Prohibition.

The midterm elections of 1930 saw the majority in Congress switch from Republican to Democratic, signaling a shift in public opinion about Prohibition as well as concerns about the depressed economy. Franklin Roosevelt, who urged repeal, was elected president in 1932. The Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution was proposed by Congress in February of 1933, the sole purpose of which was to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment establishing Prohibition.


American men guarding their private beer brewing hide-out, during Prohibition.
Keystone/Getty Images

With passage of the Constitutional Amendment to repeal Prohibition a foregone conclusion, a huge number of businessmen lined up at the Board of Health offices in New York in April of 1933 to apply for liquor licenses to be issued as soon as the repeal was ratified.

The Amendment was ratified by the states by the mechanism of special state ratifying conventions instead of state legislatures. Many states ratified the repeal as soon as conventions could be organized. The ratifications by the required two-thirds of the states was achieved on December 5, 1933, when conventions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah agreed to repeal Prohibition through the Amendment.


Workmen unloading crates of beer stacked at a New York brewery shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.
Keystone/Getty Images

A brewery warehouse in New York stacked crates past the ceiling to satisfy a thirsty nation after the repeal of Prohibition.


Keystone/Getty Images

Liquor wouldn't officially be legal until December 15th, but Americans celebrated openly anyway, and in most places, law enforcement officials let them.

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Courtesy New District
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Food
Say ‘Cheers’ to the Holidays With This 24-Bottle Wine Advent Calendar
Courtesy New District
Courtesy New District

This year, eschew your one-tiny-chocolate-a-day Advent calendar and count down to Christmas the boozy way. An article on the Georgia Straight tipped us off to New District’s annual wine Advent calendars, featuring 24 full-size bottles.

Each bottle of red, white, or sparkling wine is hand-picked by the company’s wine director, with selections from nine different countries. Should you be super picky, you can even order yourself a custom calendar, though that will likely add to the already-high price point. The basic 24-bottle order costs $999 (in Canadian dollars), and if you want to upgrade from cardboard boxes to pine, that will run you $100 more.

If you can’t quite handle 24 bottles (or $999), the company is introducing a 12-bottle version this year, too. For $500, you get 12 reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines from various unnamed “elite wine regions.”

With both products, each bottle is numbered, so you know exactly what you should be drinking every day if you really want to be a stickler for the Advent schedule. Whether you opt for 12 or 24 bottles, the price works out to about $42 per bottle, which is somewhere in between the “I buy all my wines based on what’s on sale at Trader Joe’s” level and “I am a master sommelier” status.

If you want to drink yourself through the holiday season, act now. To make sure you receive your shipment before December 1, you’ll need to order by November 20. Get it here.

[h/t the Georgia Straight]

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