You're in Puerto Vallarta. It's summer. What a good time to research margaritas!
The tequila brand of José Cuervo has long claimed that Margarita is more than a girl's name. The drink became popular in the United States during a time when distribution and consumption of alcohol was illegal. With many fine liquors hard to get, thirsty citizens turned to the southern border.
Tequila wasn't anything new; the production of this fine drink went back as far as the 16th century. The actual town of Tequila, which is in the state of Jalisco, a quick day trip from Puerto Vallarta, wasn't established until 1666.
There may be a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta that doesn't serve margaritas but we certainly aren't familiar with it, unless it's a café that doesn't serve alcohol.
There are as many margarita recipes as there are legendary stories as to how they were invented. The strongest claim is probably Francisco (Pancho) Morales, in El Paso-Juarez at Tommy's Place on the 4th of July, 1942, seventy-eight years ago this month. Ironically, Pancho became a milkman after becoming a US citizen and the rest of his working days were spent delivering milk for nearly three decades!
If you want to make margaritas at home, the recipe is quite simple. Limes are plentiful in Puerto Vallarta, you can make your own simple syrup, or buy a cheap bottle of Jarabe along with your Cointreau, which is called Controy in Mexico, and tequila.
We recommend middle of the road tequilas for margaritas, such as Cazadores, Herradura, or El Jimador. Reserve your Patrón or Don Julio for strictly sipping. Avoid cute bottles, labels, names and designs; these are usually costly and not necessarily tasty.
For one margarita, use 2 ounces tequila, 1 ounce Controy, and 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime. Add jarabe (simple syrup) to the level of sweetness desired. Rim the glass with a lime wedge, followed by dipping into a plate of fine salt, and go easy. Some bartenders tend to use coarse salt in copious amounts, which sours the drink.
For a crowd, use a pitcher and mix together 3 cups tequila, 1 ½ cups Controy, 1 ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (it's not that hard; get a bag at Costco and prepare the day before), Jarabe to taste. If you need to make your own simple syrup, prepare that a day ahead, too. One cup each of water and sugar, bring to a boil, chill, and refrigerate overnight.
It's all about personal taste but the popular vote here in Puerto Vallarta is to serve your margaritas on the rocks. Blended drinks destroy the taste and there are some bars that are so opposed to the concept, they don't even have blenders. Salud!
Que es cómo es.
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