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Delicious, simple, and brimming with mass appeal — the Margarita is one of those cocktails that just seems to check all the boxes. And as our guest today points out, “You never see someone upset with a Margarita in their hand.”
But where did this drink come from? It’s been the topic of debate for years, but the most feasible explanation was that it evolved from the Daisy template, which entails a spirit, citrus juice, a sweetener, and effervescence. While there’s no fizzy element in this cocktail, “Margarita” is indeed Spanish for “daisy.” We can’t confirm or deny this creation theory, but the Margarita has been around for quite some time, and many versions of the original spec have been popularized over the years, from the Tommy’s to the Cadillac. Of course, more riffs are always welcome, but today we’re going to look at this classic through the lens of sustainability. Is agave nectar actually the most ethical sweetener? And if not, how does a bartender give customers what they crave while also honoring the heritage of a drink’s ingredients? It’s a delicate dance, but we’re about to find out that hospitality can mean courtesy to both customers and suppliers.
We’ve covered the Marg once before, but on this episode, we’re revisiting one of the world’s (and certainly America’s) most beloved cocktails with Maxwell Reis, beverage director at Los Angeles’s Mírate, and VinePair 50 and VinePair Next Wave Awards winner. Prepare to learn all about his distinct approach to the Margarita, and get ready to reconsider all things agave, from syrup to spirits. Tune in for more.
1 ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce No-gave syrup*
2 ounces blanco tequila or mezcal
Garnish: orange or sal-de-gusano-salted rim
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with 4 cubes of Hoshizaki ice.
Hard shake until cold.
Strain into a salt-rimmed rocks glass over ice.
*No-gave Syrup Ingredients
2 parts water
2 parts Demerara sugar
1 part honey, ideally single-variety orange blossom