A Lexi Bites culinary exploration of Mexican food and drink would be incomplete without an exploration of the ubiquitous margarita. Just three ingredients—tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur—comprise the easy drinking concoction. But don’t let the drink’s simplicity lead you astray. The simple trifecta of ingredients lends itself to wild exploration, as in today’s recipe for Strawberry, Honey and Jalapeño Margaritas.
The origins of the margarita are a little fuzzy. Some stories place its invention in 1940s Mexico, though others will claim it was invented in Texas. The margarita can be served up (shaken over ice), on the rocks or blended into an icy slush. My personal favorite way to drink a margarita is on the rocks, with salt on the rim.
The margarita’s star component, tequila, is a distilled liquor derived from the blue agave plant. First produced in Mexico in the 16th century, exports of tequila exceeded 170 million liters in 2013.
If your college experience ruined tequila for you, I urge you to give it another try. There’s a new wave of artisanal and small batch tequilas that are a far cry from the rail shots of your early 20s. There are five main types of tequilas produced:
- Blanco – Young and unaged, this white spirit is bottled immediately after production. It has a clean flavor with a slight mineral finish.
- Oro – This unaged tequila is rich with notes of oak or caramel.
- Reposado – This “rested” tequila is aged for a minimum of two months, but less than one year in oak barrels.
- Anejo – Vintage tequila that is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, but less than three years.
- Extra Anejo – Tequila which is aged in oak barrels for at least three years.
My favorite tequilas include Patron, Milagro and Corzo. As with most liquors, the older and more complex the flavor, the higher the price. For your favorite margarita, I recommend blanco, oro or reposado tequila. Save the more expensive anejo and extra anejo versions for sipping after a sublime Mexican meal.
Back to our drink at hand. The Strawberry, Honey and Jalapeño Margarita is the perfect sipper on a warm spring day. Strawberry imparts fresh berry notes and a vivid pink color to the tequila and lime, while the jalapeño adds a spicy bite on the finish. Fresh honey syrup cools everything down with a whisper of sweetness.
Best of all, this killer cocktail is so simple to make. Just muddle strawberries, honey syrup and jalapeño in a shaker, add your favorite tequila, fresh lime juice and orange liqueur and shake until chilled. Strain over ice into a salt-rimmed glass and drink immediately. Simply delicious and strikingly beautiful, this intoxicating concoction will be your go-to party drink all spring long.
- 4 strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 coin-sized sliced fresh jalapeno, plus more for garnish
- ½ ounce honey syrup (See note below.)
- 2 ounces tequila
- 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- ¾ ounce orange liqueur
- In a cocktail shaker, place strawberries, jalapeno and honey syrup. Muddle until strawberries and jalapeno are crushed and juicy. Add ice, tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur. Shake until chilled. Pour into a glass and garnish with fresh strawberry, lime and jalapeno. Serve immediately.
- Note: To make honey syrup, mix together 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon warm water.