Ormond Beach Restaurant Blog

What Makes a Good Margarita Great?


The Margarita is a staple American drink, famous for its mixture of tangy sours, sweet orange, and tequila. While the history of the Margarita is ambiguous, and no one really knows just where this now-famous drink actually comes from, we know that it's a must for adults who want to relax and enjoy a great evening with Mexican food. Nothing complements a great Mexican dish quite as well as a good margarita, which is why we offer over 11 different recipes at our Agave Fresh Mex and Cantina Mexican restaurant here in Ormond Beach. But, we also know that a good margarita requires special care, attention, and not just any ingredients. That's why we buy the right ingredients, use the right mixing techniques, and take care to make every margarita perfect. 

So, what makes a good margarita great? You can look for these clues on just about any menu, but you’ll find them for sure on ours. 

Balance - What makes a margarita? A great balance of ingredients. Too much of anything, and your margarita ceases to be a margarita. The International Bartenders Association defines the ratio as 7:4:3, or 50 percent tequila, 29 percent Cointreau triple sec and 21 percent fresh lime or lemon juice, and we stick to those ratios. But just using those ratios can get you results that range from 'barely a margarita' to 'incredible' depending on the quality of the ingredients, so we maintain great ingredients as well. 

Real Fruit – Whether you're making a classic lime and tequila margarita or want something more elaborate with blueberries, watermelon, or strawberries, real fruit is the key to a great margarita. While some bartenders use fruit flavored syrup, or worse, artificial lime flavoring, we know that the key to a really great margarita is fresh, authentic fruit. A great margarita uses real lime juice. And, while most of the USA uses imported Persian limes, here at Agave Fresh Mex and Cantina, we use local ingredients, including Florida limes, so they're fresh and closer to the thin-skinned Mexican limes you'd get in Jalisco. 

A Frosted Glass – To salt or not to salt is a question for the ages, and it's not one we're going to answer. However, we highly recommend using either sugar or salt to frost your glass. Why? The sweet or salty frosting on the rim balances out the sours and the sweetness of the drink, so that you get a perfect sip every time. 

Orange Liquor – The first recorded margarita recipe was published in the December 1953 issue of Esquire Magazine. The recipe called for Triple Sec, a French orange liqueur, an ounce of tequila, and the juice of half of a lime or lemon. Today, you can use almost any orange liqueur including Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, or Cointreau (or all three). Here at Agave, we use those, as well as our house favorite, Patrón Citrónge, which we use for its high-quality, long-lasting orange, and depth. Patrón Citrónge is made right in Jalisco, Mexico, so it's also the best way to get an authentic Mexican citrus taste for your margaritas.

Ice cold – Whether you're looking for an authentic Margarita sour on the rocks or prefer a fruit laden slushy drink with all the extras, the key to your drink is ice. While we don't prefer blended or on the rocks (and several of our margaritas are available in both) we do insist that your margarita be served ice cold. 

Agave Tequila – If there were one hard rule for making a margarita, we would pick the tequila. If you want a great margarita, it absolutely must be 100% Agave tequila. Why? The delicate flavor of Agave is crucial for maintaining the perfect balance between sour and sweet, so you get a truly delicious margarita. We use a Tequila Espolon Anejo, which is a 100% Agave tequila, aged for at least 1 year in white oak barrels, and finished for 3 months in ex-bourbon casks (all tequila is traditionally finished in used bourbon barrels). While we do use other tequilas when the recipe calls for it, we stick to 100% Agave every time. 

Shaken or Stirred – It's a matter of preference, but if you're going with on the rocks, we advise shaken. If you're looking for a blended drink, stirred is definitely the way to go. 

Agave Syrup Not Sugar Cane Syrup – Margaritas are a classic tequila drink, which is made with Agave. So, it only makes sense to sweeten the drink with Agave syrup or nectar. Unfortunately, most people use sugar cane, which can muddle the tequila's delicate flavor. 

Creativity – It doesn't matter if you're looking for a classic margarita or a modern recreation with new ingredients, your bartender must be creative. From choosing the best ingredients, to mixing, to presentation, the perfect margarita is all about creativity. 

Are you ready for your Margarita? Be sure to check out our Margarita and Drink Menu. Stop by Agave Fresh Mex and Cantina in Ormond Beach (We're at 1474 W Granada Blvd) and we'll make you up one of our house specials.