Skip the Blender: 3 On-the-Rocks Margaritas to Make Now for Cinco de Mayo

A.J. Rathbun
Cinco de Mayo, margarita, tequila

You owe it to yourself to sip a good margarita on the fifth of May – one that highlights the tequila base but has the requisite tang and sweet. Herewith: three slightly different twists on how to concoct the perfect marg. Pick your fave (or opt for all three) and start sipping.

Should you want to get started a day early, I suggest you take part in the first annual Cuatro de Burro. Sponsored by Sparkle Donkey Tequila, Cuatro de Burro is a tequila bar hop adventure that starts at Capitol Hill’s Fogon Cocina Mexicana and ends at Von Trapp’s (with many spots in between). What to expect: real donkeys, a mariachi band and free sombreros for the first 200 party goers, which may be good for a few drink specials.

Classic Margarita:
This is probably the recipe I use the most, and it’s beautiful in its simplicity. It does weigh heavier than some on the tequila, so you’ll want one with a good flavor, such as Casa Noble Crystal. It’s an award-winning, blanco-style tequila made from 100 percent blue agave and certified organic.

To Make It
(from Good Spirits):
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes
Add 2 ounces Casa Noble Crystal tequila
Add 1 ounce Cointreau
Add 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a wedge of lime

Tamaulipas Margarita:
Chinaco Tequila is a 100 percent blue agave tequila (no corn fillers) and is the only distillery licensed in the state of Tamaulipas, one of five states authorized to grow blue agave. It shines in this version, and is joined by organic agave nectar in a version with a little less kick than the recipe above.

To Make It:

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes
Add 2 ounces Chinaco Blanco Tequila
Add 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Add 1 ounce organic agave nectar
Shake well
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a lime wheel

Demitri’s Margarita:
I usually stay away from pre-blended drink mixes because they tend to be awful. The exception to this rule is Demitri’s Traditional Margarita Mix, an all-natural blended drink mix made with lime concentrate, cane sugar, filtered water and citric acid by ex-Seattle bartender Demitri Pallis. Trust me, it’s really good. If you’re in a hurry, this mix is a savior (much like the Demitri’s Bloody Mary mix on a slow Sunday morning). Pair it with Seattle’s own Sparkle Donkey Tequila – imported straight from Mexico – for this delicious marg. If you’re watching your calories, Demitri’s also has low-cal, stevia-based margarita mix with only 38 calories per three-ounce serving.

To Make It:

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes

Add 2 ounces Sparkle Donkey Tequila

Add 3 ounces Demitri’s Traditional Margarita Mix

Shake well

Strain into a cocktail glass

Garnish with a lime wedge

A note on salted rims: I tend to stay away from salted rims when out and about, just due to too much salt getting into the drink. But if you want a little salt on any of the above, start by pouring a small layer of kosher salt onto a small plate or saucer. Take a cocktail glass and wet the outside of the rim with a lime wedge. Hold the glass by the stem and rotate the rim through the salt. You want to be sure that salt coats only the outside of the rim.