Will the real Margarita please stand up?  Cherry Margarita (photo courtesy Created By Diane).  Grape Margarita (photo courtesy California Table Grape Commission.  Guava Margarita (photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann).  and  The real deal, from Casa Noble Tequila: a classic Margarita and the classic with a smoked salt rim.  A Margarita made with GranGala orange liqueur in a Margarita glass.
Around this time of year, we get bombarded with every imaginable recipe for National Margarita Day (February 22nd).
In fact, most of these drinks are Margarita in name only.
Because Margarita and Martini are the two most popular cocktails in America, some tequila companies (who know better) and establishments (who should) call too many concoctions by one of these names. Grape Margarita? Avocado Margarita? Seriously?
Here are just a few of the oh-so-wrong Margarita recipes we’ve received in recent weeks:
It was delicious—we had two—and the name was delightfully catchy. Many variations have appeared all over the ensuing 30 years. But in retrospect, they aren’t Margaritas at all; just cocktails riding on Margarita’s coattails, appropriating the name.
We are complicit: We’ve published numerous poseur Margarita recipes, because they were really good cocktails. But the madness (at least ours) stops today.
We’ll still publish good cocktail recipes, but any faux Margarita will be linked to this conscious-raising rant.
The original Margarita combined tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice: a orange-flavored tequila cocktail with a salt rim, served with a lime wheel (here’s the Margarita history).
Unless you’re talking Frozen Margarita—where any flavor can be added via fruit purée—Margarita is an orange drink, not a cherry, grape or pineapple one.
Once you take great license with ingredients, you create a different cocktail.
Would you make a Pineapple Cosmo, substituting the standard cranberry juice with pineapple juice? Create a Grapefruit Screwdriver?
A Screwdriver combines orange juice and vodka. Grapefruit juice and vodka is a Greyhound.
Adding cranberry juice to a Greyhound produces a Sea Breeze.
And that’s how it should be. Cocktails should observe a nomenclature, like everything else.
That being said, there is license to slightly vary the original ingredients. Each change marginally alters the original flavor profile, but the drink is still recognizable.
But a recipe of tequila, lime juice, spicy mango syrup, grapefruit bitters and basil leaves? Call it something else—even if that’s Margarita’s Sister.
Ditto, an Apple Cider Margarita, tequila, apple cider, lemon juice and a cinnamon-sugar for rim.
Ditto, tequila and lime juice with muddled cilantro.
If you get rid of the orange liqueur and lime, it’s not a Margarita.
Give your raspberry-tequila cocktail another name—or look it up: There aren’t many combinations that haven’t been otherwise named.
(That said, We just looked up “raspberry tequila cocktail” and got the usual slew of Raspberry Margarita recipes, although Deliciously Organic forthrightly called it a Raspberry, Lime and Tequila Cocktail. Right on!)
The Margarita is the most popular† drink in the country.
Give it the respect it deserves.
Create a new name for your cocktail—just like every other drink recipe has done.
*The Margarita glass is a variation of the classic champagne coupe, and is used to serve blended fruit Margaritas and frozen Margaritas. The same glass can be used to serve shrimp cocktail and other appetizers and desserts. The glass was originally made from recycled Coke bottles, and the mottled green color of the original survive.
†Some industry reports place the Martini first. It depends on the survey and the year.
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