5 Great Margaritas in L.A., Plus 5 Ways to Make Your Own
The Bazaar's Salt Air margarita
Just in time for National Margarita Day, which thank God is a Saturday (Feb. 22), El Milagro Tequila has released a margarita survey, which may not really be eye-opening, but is certainly fact-filled. For instance, of those surveyed, about 91% of people prefer their margaritas fresh over packaged mix. Almost two-thirds of the respondents prefer a salted rim - and nearly 70% drink directly from that salty edge rather than through a straw. Fascinating stuff, right?
Wherever you find yourself in this survey, one thing is certain: This weekend, you'll be able to find a margarita made almost any way you like it. Here are eight margaritas, where you can drink them, and recipes for five of them - should you prefer to indulge in the comfort of your own casita.
Hearts and Tarts
5. Hearts and Tarts from Tart Restaurant
It's not just Mexican restaurants that have jumped on the tequila band wagon. At Tart, you can sip a mezcal monster called Hearts and Tarts. Created by L.A. mixologist and consultant Marcos Tello, who is brand ambassador for El Silencio mezcal, it balances the smokiness of mezcal with the zing of passion fruit, lime and orange curaçao. 115 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles;(323)556-2608.
Hearts and Tarts
From: Tart Restaurant
1 jalapeño slice
1 1/2 ounces El Silencio mezcal
3/4 ounce passionfruit syrup
3/4 ounce orange curaçao
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1. In a mixing glass, with a muddler ,press a jalapeño slice.
2. Add rest of ingredients, add ice and shake. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
4. Cucumber Lavender Margarita Flight from Tortilla Republic
If one margarita isn't enough, then three should do the trick. The three-cocktail flight at Tortilla Republic includes the House (El Jimador Blanco, housemade lime-agave syrup and triple sec), the Cucumber Lavender (Casa Noble organic tequila, muddled cucumber, housemade lavender syrup, lime juice) and the Spicy Pomegranate (Corzo Silver, pomegranate puree, fresh jalapeño, triple sec and lime juice). 616 N. Robertson Blvd.,West Hollywood; (310) 657-9888.
Cucumber Lavender Margarita
From: Tortilla Republic's Johanna Breeland
2 ounces Casa Noble Organic Tequila (or other 100% organic silver tequila)
2-3 ½ inch cucumber slices, muddled
1.5 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
0.75 ounces lavender-infused simple syrup
(soak 4-5 sprigs of lavender in simple syrup for 2-3 days, or purchased at farmers markets and specialty grocers)
1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake to combine.
2. Pour into a 12.5 oz. glass on rocks. Garnish with cucumber and fresh lavender blossoms.
The Bazaar's Salt Air margarita
3. Salt Air Margarita from The Bazaar
Looking for a bit molecular mixology with your tequila? At the SLS Beverly Hills Hotel, you can sip their stylized classic called the Salt Air margarita, whose frothy topping is made with a powdered emulsifier called sucro. The white fluff adds a layer of food science to the classic mix of sweet, sour and salty. (And if that isn't your style, you can always try the Jasmine margarita, made for SLS Hotels designer Philippe Starck and his wife Jasmine, who favor pomegranate margaritas.) 465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 246-5555.
Salt Air Margarita
From: The Bazaar (via Jose Andres' MiniBar in Washington D.C.)
4 ounces water
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sucro (available at http://www.modernistpantry.com/texturas-sucro.html)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce Cointreau or other triple sec
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1. For the Salt Air, combine the water, lime juice, sucro and salt in a large bowl. Using an immersion blender, mix until bubbles form. Set aside.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, Cointreau and lime juice and shake well. Strain into a chilled coupe. Carefully spoon the Salt Air on top of the drink.
Loteria Grill's Ginger margarita
A Loteria favorite, the Ginger Margarita combines tequila with the heat of ginger juice countered by the sweetness of pineapple plus agave nectar and lime for balance. This tweak on the familiar tequila, lime and sugar is available at all Loteria locations. 12050 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; (818) 508-5300 and three other locations.
From: Loteria Grill
2 ounces tequila Cazadores Blano
1 ounce agave nectar
2 ounces pressed ginger juice
1 ounces fresh lime juice
.75 ounces fresh pineapple juice
1. In a mixing glass, combine tequila, agave, ginger, and lime. Shake.
2. Add the pineapple juice, add ice and shake again. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and candied ginger.
Tamarind Chinchón Margarita
From: Border Grill
Makes: 1 drink
2 to 3 tablespoons tajín spiced salt*
1 wedge orange
2 ounces tequila reposado
1/2 ounce Chinchón Spanish anis sweet liqueur
2 ounces tamarind puree (see recipe below)
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
Ice for the cocktail shaker
1. Cover a small plate with tajín to a depth of 1/8 inch. Run an orange wedge around the rim of a martini glass and dip glass in tajín to coat rim. Set aside.
2. Combine tequila, Chinchón, tamarind puree and orange juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled and strain into martini glass. Serve immediately.
8 ounces tamarind paste**
4 cups hot water
3/4 cup sugar
1. Combine the tamarind paste and hot water in a large mixing bowl.
2. Mash and stir until all tamarind pulp is combined with water.
3. Push mixture through a strainer into a saucepan, discarding the fibrous membranes and seeds. Add sugar and bring tamarind mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.
4. Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.
* Tajín is a tangy, spicy Mexican seasoning powder, consisting of dried chiles, dehydrated lime juice, and salt. It can be found in Mexican markets and most supermarkets.
** Tamarind is a brittle, brown seed pod with a unique sweet tart flavor. Bricks of tamarind paste are available in Mexican and Asian markets and most supermarkets.
Tamarind Chinchon Margarita, Border Grill
Lesley blogs at 12 Bottle Bar, tweets at @12BottleBar and is the author of the book "Gin: A Global History." Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
Get the Squid Ink'd Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly food newsletter, which features top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips and a link to our print review.