This week for Last Call, my frozen drink series continues with arguably the most popular cocktail in the state. That's right, it's time to make some frozen margaritas. Sounds simple enough. I've already written an article about "regular" non-frozen margaritas; all I'd have to do is take one and toss it in a blender, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Frozen drinks have challenges that you don't have to deal with when making drinks straight up or on the rocks. The main one is a matter of taste. There's a double whammy going on here. First, all of the ice you're consuming waters down the drink more than usual, so you have to use strong tasting ingredients. Second, the very cold temperature numbs your taste buds. A regular margarita that's been blended will taste like nothing.
The simple solution to this is to add more of the flavorful ingredients, namely triple sec and lime juice. You can only go so far with the triple sec before it takes over the tequila; in fact, I usually add a little less triple sec to frozen margaritas than I do to regular. So, in goes extra lime. But that creates another problem: Now the drink is tart enough to give you perma-pucker.
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It's an easy problem to fix: Just add simple syrup. Plenty of simple syrup. When I make margaritas on the rocks, I often add a small dash of simple syrup. For frozen margaritas, I add at least a full ounce of simple syrup. While this brings balance to the drink, there's an extra benefit. Sugar lowers the freezing point of the mixture more than alcohol alone, giving your drink a smoother texture. With my trusty Vitamix, it comes out as smooth as silk.
Frozen margaritas come out best when they're still a little slushy; start out easy on the ice and add a little more if you need. To salt-rim a glass, rub the cut side of a lime wedge around the outside edge of a glass. Roll the edge through a shallow dish of kosher salt. Hold the glass upside-down over a trash can, and tap the glass to remove excess salt. Be warned, the sugar and cold mask the alcohol's potency. 1 ounce fresh lime juice 1 ounce simple syrup ¾ ounce triple sec 1 ½ ounces blanco tequila Blend at high speed with 1 generous cup of ice. Pour into a chilled, salt-rimmed large goblet or wine glass.
Fruit Frozen Margarita Replace triple sec with 1 ounce fruit-flavored liqueur. Or, add ½ cup frozen or fresh fruit to the margarita recipe. Or, do both. Strawberries work especially well with ¼ ounce maraschino liqueur added.