Some days, you could just use a margarita.
Homemade Li Hing Margarita
One of Those Days
I had one of those days recently. Work was crazy. I felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. The minute I walked in the door, Annie could see how beat I was. Annie's mum was still here so Annie suggested that we go out for a margarita while Mum watched the kids at home.
We ended up in McCarthy Ranch in Milpitas, at "On the Border", a Mexican-themed chain family restaurant. After looking through their extensive drinks menu, we decided to get one of their signature margaritas, called the "Borderita Grande" ($8). It was smoo-oo-ooth. So good, we downed it and ordered another!
That's when the alcohol hit us. And it packed quite a wallop. We weren't floored (you know that saying right? "one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR!) but walking back to the car was a shaky affair. We wisely decided to sleep it off in the car instead of getting on the road right away.
ONE HOUR LATER, I woke up and drove us safely home. I'm not doing THAT again! First of all, it's just not right to drink and drive. Secondly, the restaurant 'ritas were $8 bucks each! I know they had a lot of alcohol, but not $8 bucks' worth of tequila and Cointreau. I'd rather make it at home, where I don't have to drive anywhere, and where I can get more bang for the buck.
So Annie started looking around for margarita recipes. And you know what? Margaritas are so easy to make! It's basically tequila, orange liqueur, Sweet and Sour mix, and lime juice.
You know what Sweet and Sour mix is? Equal parts lemon, lime, sugar and water. That's it!
Lemon and Lime for Sweet and Sour Mix
We recently got a lot of lemons from our friend's Meyer lemon bush, and limes are pretty cheap around here too. All we needed to do was squeeze a quarter cup each of lemon juice and lime juice. We used our handy lemon squeezer to quickly and cleanly squeeze out the citrus juices. Then add a quarter cup of white sugar, a quarter cup of water, and stir to combine. That's all there is to Sweet and Sour mix. Easy, right?
Using Lemon Squeezer to Squeeze Lemon for Sweet and Sour Mix
Basic Margarita Recipe
3 oz sweet and sour mix
1 oz tequila (we used Sauza Hornitos Reposado)
1 oz orange liqueur (we used Grand Marnier)
1 oz lime juice
Sauza Hornitos Reposado Tequila and Grand Marnier for Homemade Margaritas
Step Aside for a Moment
A little aside about our choices of alcohol for our margaritas. First, the tequila: You only want to use tequila made from 100% agave. Absolutely NO GOLD (eg. Cuervo Gold) tequilas! Why? Because so-called "gold" tequilas are 50% agave spirits, with sugar syrup and caramel coloring making up the other 50%. They are too sweet for making margaritas.
Secondly, the orange liqueur. Margarita recipes call for a Triple Sec ("triple distilled") orange liqueur like Cointreau or Grand Marnier. We use Grand Marnier because Cointreau is too dry and, well, we only have Grand Marnier in our cupboard!
Mixing it Together
You can mix the ingredients together in a shaker with a few cubes of ice, then it into margarita glasses to enjoy. To make a frozen margarita, buzz the ingredients and ice together in a blender (we used a "Magic Bullet" blender to make this batch of margaritas).
To make things more interesting, I added a quarter teaspoon of li hing powder to the mixture.
Li Hing Powder in Homemade Margarita Mix
We got this nice looking margarita glass last Christmas, bundled in a set with a bottle of Grand Marnier. Annie wet the rim of the glass and rolled the rim through some li hing powder. Then I poured the li hing margarita into the glass.
Homemade Li Hing Margarita
The li hing just brings an extra sweet-salty touch to the margarita. It's so addictive, you can't put it down! But at least if you make these margaritas at home, you won't have to call a cab.
Presenting the Whole Margarita (from the San Francisco Chronicle)