When I think of margaritas, the memories that come to mind are long bus rides with my high school track team, singing Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet at the top of our drunkest possible voices, adding “SALT! SALT! SALT!,” after Jimmy sings, “searching for my lost shaker of salt.” Stumbling through the bus aisles, flailing arms all asunder, I have no clue how our coaches didn’t leave us in gaahforsaken hotspots in the Nevada desert – like Elko or Battle Mountain for crying out loud – and tell us we could run our own asses home…you know, for training purposes. Their patience never ceased to amaze me.
Songs we sang on the track bus also included Abba’s Fernando, and Jimi Hendrix’s Foxy Lady, and the beat goes on…Did I mention our graduation song was Bohemian Rhapsody? And that my graduating class included 82 individuals?
And suddenly this girl makes more sense.
Le sigh…those were the days…dreaming about being old enough to purchase a bottle of tequila by your very own lonesome. Legally.
Following the Margaritaville memories of high school came the college memories of actually drinking margaritas…
…and the vicious hangovers that ensued the sugar-laiden duh-licious drinks.
…because you can’t just have 1 when you’re 21, oh no.
For the longest time, I thought margs and I were not a match, until I realized authentic Mexican margaritas are not cut from margarita mix – they’re far more clean and next-day friendly, consisting of a simple mixture of fresh lime juice, tequila and sugar.
After trying these cleaner-ish margaritas from a local Mexican joint during the post-college era (circa 2009, if you will), I realized there was hope for me + margaritaville. Cleaning up the drink even further, I recently began using natural sweeteners, such as agave or pure maple syrup for my own mixologicalistic pleasure. Which is what brings us to present day: the naturally sweetened homemade margarita that won’t make you hate yourself in the wee hours of the morn.
Spicy, sweet, zesty ginger margaritas, people! I can’t think of a better way of washing down enchiladas.
After developing a Beet Margarita for Love Beets, it dawned on me how margarita-able root vegetables are! I mean, just think of the possibilities: carrot margs? Margarita à la sweet potato juice? Zee possibilities are endless…okay, they pretty much start and stop at beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and ginger, but point is, roots are guh-reat for tying one on in cocktail fashion.
Since Cinco de Mayo is tahmarrawh, I have margarita-like cocktails on the brains. Sure thing, smalls, you can totes make those Naturally Sweetened Horchata Cocktails I showed you last week, or you can take your chances with tequila and just.see.what.happens.
To make these margaritas, you prepare a simple syrup using nothing but lime juice, agave nectar (or pure maple syrup) and fresh grated ginger. Heat these ingredients together in a saucepan, strain the mixture, and you’re ready to use the simple syrup for your margs (or other cocktails). I used sparkling water to give the margaritas a little pep, but you can also use orange juice for a non carbonated bevvie.
You can make these margaritas in a large batch by stirring all of the ingredients together in a pitcher and then serving over ice, or you can make the margs individually in order to control the liquor strength. The recipe makes 4 cocktails, which means it serves 1, so definitely consider tripling the batch. <- kidding, not kidding.
Hey wanna know something nifty? You can also use store-bought or homemade ginger beer, lime juice, and tequila in order to make a really simple sparkling margarita. It’ll certainly get the job done in a pinch.
Pour like it’s Hemingway’s last call #MozzieQuote
Ginger Margaritas (Naturally Sweetened)
Ginger-Lime Simple Syrup:
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
- 3 inch piece fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 8 ounces tequila 1 cup
- 8 ounces sparkling water* 1 cup
- Ginger-Lime Simple Syrup recipe above
- 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
Heat the lime juice, agave nectar and ginger in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a full boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Strain the ginger using a fine mesh strainer. Use the back of a spoon to press the ginger against the strainer to get all of the juice out. Allow simple syrup to cool.
Rim four glasses with coarse sea salt by wetting the rim with lime juice or water and dipping in salt.
Prepare the margaritas in a large batch by stirring together the ginger-lime simple syrup, tequila, and sparkling water in a pitcher. Fill four glasses with ice and divide the margarita between the glasses. As an alternative, you can prepare the margaritas one at a time by adding 2 tablespoons of simple syrup, 2 ounces of tequila, and ¼ cup of sparkling water to each ice-filled glass. Stir well and serve with wedges of lime and enjoy!
*For a non-carbonated beverage, use orange juice