More with Margaritas

Celebrate National Margarita Day with recipe riffs from rocker Sammy Hagar, celeb chef Guy Fieri, and more
The Classic Santo Margarita by Sammy Hagar

Photo: Santo Tequila

National Margarita Day, which is celebrated annually on February 22, falls on a Saturday this year, so we have even more reason to raise a glass to this popular cocktail! How do these “holidays” come to be? For this occasion, a group of Margarita fans designated the day simply in honor of the cocktail, which is the most common tequila-based cocktail in the United States today. As the group’s website states: “Friendship, good times, and memories of somewhere warmer are all great reasons to enjoy a Margarita.” Can’t argue with that!

Like many cocktails, the origins of the classic Margarita are debated, but two variations date back to the 1930s. Both, however, lack the distinctive salt rim. Frozen margaritas were created later in the 1970s. Groovy.

The classic Margarita formula is simply a mix of tequila, lime juice, and orange-flavored liqueur (think triple sec or Grand Marnier) and usually a splash of sweetener, such as simple syrup or agave nectar. There are many variations of lime juice, with some including sweetener, and there are premade Margarita mixes as well.

There are endless options for spins on this delicious concoction, and National Margarita Day provides the perfect reason for a roundup of ideas—as if you need one! The following recipes go from close-to-classic (the 1800 Margarita) to variations from the tequila brand started by George Clooney and Rande Gerber, Casamigos—the Prickly Pear Margarita has sweetness, the Cayennade Margarita adds a little fizz with the addition of kombucha, and the Smoky Casa Margarita uses Casamigos Mezcal to add smokiness.

Rocker Sammy Hagar and celeb chef Guy Fieri are sharing their riffs in honor of the “holiday,” as they have teamed up to produce a new brand, Santo, which is beginning to roll out nationally. Created by Hagar and Fieri, the recipes include a few of the partners’ tips and tricks for making the perfect Margarita. Cheers!

The Classic Santo Margarita

Makes 1 | Recipe courtesy of Santo Tequila

2 ounces Santo Tequila Blanco
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce lime juice, plus a little more for the rim of the glass
salt
½ ounce of Damiana Herb Liqueur (optional)
¼ teaspoon agave or simple syrup (optional)

Mix all the ingredients except the salt in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Rub lime juice over the rim of the glass and turn the glass upside down into the salt, so that the salt sticks. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Hagar’s Note: For a slightly sweeter Margarita, use Key limes or Mexican limes, which are less acidic and make a better drink. This classic Margarita comes out pretty sour (which I like), but the Key limes will naturally make the drink a little bit sweeter with a pleasant tang. You can also add a half ounce of Damiana to sweeten it up ever so slightly with a unique herbaceous flavor. If you want to kick it up, literally!

Guy Fieri’s Caliente Margarita

Photo: Santos Tequila

Guy Fieri’s Caliente Margarita

Makes 6-8 drinks | Recipe courtesy of Santo Tequila

6 ounces Santo Tequila Blanco
2 ounces triple sec
1 bunch cilantro leaves
3 jalapeños (2 for muddling, 1 for garnish)
1 lime, cut into wedges
2 ounces Homemade Sour Mix (recipe below)
1½ cups sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh lime juice

For the Sour Mix: Mix together sugar with 1½ cups of water in a saucepan. Allow to simmer until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Once it has cooled, add the lemon and lime juice and chill it until you are ready to use it.

For the Caliente Margarita:
Muddle the cilantro and two jalapeños in the bottom of a large pitcher. As you are muddling, add tequila and triple sec. Stir the Margarita well, adding sour mix as you go. Pour into glasses rimmed with salt and garnish with a lime wedge and jalapeño slice.

Fieri’s Note: Spice it up! Substitute the salt rim with my Rojo Rim by mixing ½ cup kosher salt; ½ tablespoon each of freshly ground black pepper, smoked paprika and Cajun seasoning; and ¼ teaspoon each of chili powder and cayenne powder.

Prickly Pear Margarita

Photo: Casamigos

Prickly Pear Margarita

Makes 1 | Recipe courtesy of Casamigos

2 ounces Casamigos Blanco Tequila
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce prickly pear puree
½ ounce simple syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
pear slice, for garnish

Combine all ingredients into iced mixing glass, shake vigorously, and strain into rocks glass. Garnish with a pear slice.

Note: If you can’t find prickly pear puree try honeydew melon, kiwi, or pear.

Cayennade Margarita

Photo: Casamigos

Cayennade Margarita

Makes 1 | Recipe courtesy of Casamigos

2 ounces Casamigos Blanco Tequila
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce Agave Nectar
1 serrano chili pepper slice
Cayennade by GT’s Kombucha, to top
lemon wheel, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except kombucha into tin shaker. Muddle serrano, add ice, shake vigorously, and fine strain into rocks glass. Add fresh ice, top off with GT’s Cayennade Kombucha, and garnish with lemon wheel on skewer with Cayenne salt sprinkle over top.

 

Smoky Casa Margarita

Photo: Casamigos

Smoky Casa Margarita

Makes 1 | Recipe courtesy of Casamigos

2 ounces Casamigos Mezcal
1 ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce agave nectar
2 dashes orange bitters
flamed orange peel, for garnish

Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Add ice, shake well, and strain into rocks glass. Add fresh ice and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

 

1800 Margarita

Photo: 1800 Tequila

1800 Margarita

Makes 1 | Recipe courtesy of 1800 Tequila

2 ounces 1800 Silver tequila
1 ounce lime juice
½ ounce agave syrup
½ ounce fresh squeezed orange juice
lime wedge, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, shake and strain into salted rocks glass.  Garnish with lime wedge.

Thirsty for More?

• Try Jimmy Buffett’s Perfect Margarita and variations plus a recipe for guacamole.
• Mix up Casamigos Pineapple Cilantro Margarita and more recipes from the brand—I celebrate this holiday every year!

Hungry for More?

• Pair your Margaritas with some Beef with Tequila, Tomato, and Orange tacos.
• Looking for a vegetarian option? Check out Fried Avocado Tacos with Shredded Vegetables and Crema.

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Mary Subialka
Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.