Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Squid Mixes: Strawberry Margarita

My friend and local food celebrity Nancy Mock hosts an annual taco/margarita gathering in the summer.  Naturally, my wife put me in charge of our margarita contribution.  Strawberry season coincided nicely this year.

Fortunately, I had time for tinkering before the big day.  I got my basic recipe from The New York Bartender's Guide:  silver tequila, triple sec, strawberry syrup, lime juice (4:1:1:4 proportion).  I went with a simple strawberry garnish and skipped the salted rim - as previously discussed, not a fan.  My strawberry simple syrup recipe came from Fifteen Spatulas.  My first attempt was too limey which suggested toying with the proportions. 

One needs to be careful in experimenting with recipes.  Lime is an essential flavor in a margarita.  Without it, the drink would really need to be called something else.  But if the strawberry is bringing only color, why not just use a splash of grenadine instead - same flavor, same color, less fuss?  Injecting enough strawberry without killing the basic character of the root cocktail was the challenge.

Testing the syrup on its own was step one.  Thank goodness I have a daughter who likes Italian sodas.  She did note the first one didn't have enough syrup so I added a little more - 2 oz. total - and more ice to the second.  Winner - with distinct strawberry flavor, not just sugar.

Still, I felt more strawberriness wouldn't hurt.  Per my wife's suggestion, I left the strawberries in longer during the cooling stage for the second batch of syrup.  Then for the pitcher, I adjusted the proportion of the ingredients above to 4:1:2:2.  I also tossed in chopped berries at the end.

Reviews at the party were good.

12 comments:

  1. Don’t be modest: those margaritas were VERY good! I’m surprised to see the proportion of syrup is so low... I think that was a good call to let the berries stay in longer for a stronger flavor. I’m so glad you brought them!
    Would you recommend the NY Bartenders Guide if one wanted a good drink guide on hand? I know you’ve been studying several guides lately.

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    1. Aw, thanks.

      I got the book as a gift in college and it was my go-to for years. I especially like two things about it: the sheer number of drink recipes far beyond anything else I have and the excellent index. The drinks are indexed by ingredient - a handy thing if, for instance, you find you have a carton of grapefruit juice and you want to put it to good use. It also has solid guidance on stocking your bar which I have found useful.

      Of course, it has drawbacks. The drinks tend to be on the strong side - generous proportions in general and an occasional bit of vodka for no apparent reason other than to add more alcohol. There have been several updates since and, if I cared more, I'd probably invest in a more recent edition. For now, though, it will do as my basic Fannie Farmer while I look to other resources to enhance the subtleties of my craft.

      My mother recently asked me for a good starter book so I'll give you the same advice I gave her. Go to a bookstore with a decent selection - Phoenix in Burlington would be my choice - and browse. Drink books take so many different approaches that personal preference is really the most important consideration. Find one that speaks to you. You have a lot more experience with food than I do so you already know this: don't be afraid to tinker. Historically, I've been reluctant but as I gain confidence, I'm becoming more comfortable.

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  2. I made strawberry margaritas recently, but it was just for me and my wife. I didn't make syrup; I just muddled the strawberries (with a bit of sugar to draw out the juice) and added the rest. They were very good.

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    1. Sounds good, and less fussy. Just the strawberries and tequila?

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    2. No, it had lime juice, too.
      Basically, the strawberries took the place of the Cointreau.

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    3. Aha. I can see how that would work.

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  3. The only thing I can say ... is this looks so FABULOUS !
    parsnip

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  4. This sounds really good and I have tasted this drink and only tasted lime and not much strawberries. You must be collecting quite the bar goods

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    1. Actually, I'm really careful about accumulating ingredients. I try to stick with the few staple liquors and don't buy mixers until I have to, then use them up as quickly as I can. That said, there are a few exotic bottles in the cabinet...

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  5. Strawberry and lime--plus other good stuff,mingling all together. Excellent.

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    1. Took some work but all came out well in the end.

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