Margaritas are fairly simple: two parts tequila, one part liqueur, one part lime juice, right? LOL, NOPE. We asked six professional chefs to give us their favorite margarita recipe, and as a surprise to literally no one, each chef had their own spin on the perfect cocktail.
Restaurateur Millie Peartree prefers to make her marg sans alcohol but promises it's just as good as the real thing. "I have no fond memories of this recipe at all," Millie joked. "It just makes me feel included when my friends are throwing the drinks back."
To make her virgin strawberry marg, all you need is a blender, frozen strawberries, lime juice, alcohol-free tequila, and sugar-free triple sec. Millie opts for the Ritual Tequila Alternative which is made from a blend of botanicals that mimics the taste of traditional tequila and is a simple 1:1 replacement.
"If you're from New York, you know about the icy man, this gives me exactly what I'm looking for in summer."
Geoffrey Zakarian's favorite margarita is easy: Cointreau, tequila, grapefruit juice, and agave syrup. There's no need to mess with a good cocktail, he explained. However, instead of topping with a lime, he goes for a thick slice of grapefruit.
"First of all, you need to have really great ingredients. By that I mean freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and instead of simple syrup I like to use agave," Geoffrey explained.
Simple syrup is too sweet for Geoffrey's taste, and he cautions against being heavy-handed with sugar in cocktails. "You wanna be able to have one and then have another one. If it's too sweet, you don't feel like having another one," Geoffrey said. "Especially if you have a bar business, you want to be able to sell another one."
Adam Richman knows the rules of a good marg two ounces tequila, one-ounce lime juice, one-ounce orange liqueur but he doesn't like to play by those. Instead, Adam adds a little bit of heat with blended jalapeño.
To make his spicy marg you'll need to squeeze your own orange juice and lime juice, don't worry, you can drink the rest of the OJ you don't use, then pour in white tequila and Cointreau.
"You can use Grand Marnier [there are] other orange liqueurs out there, but Cointreau tends to be the most classically used," Andrew explained.
His finished product is a frozen spicy marg, garnished with salt and lime. "A little bit of jalapeño and a whole lot of love."
Of course, Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern would find a way to include worm salt into his recipe. If you've never had Sal de Gusano, let us explain: Its larvae that you can find in the agave plant that's toasted, ground up, then mixed with chiles and salt. It's spicy, smoky, and will certainly make your marg stand out from the rest.
Another uncommon addition you'll find in Andrew's cocktail is mint. "This is my trick. It's a combination between a south side which was the beverage of choice at all the summertime clubs on the south fork of Long Island when I was growing up," Andrew said.
The rest of his marg is classic: ice, sugar, lime juice, orange juice, Grand Marnier, and obviously: tequila. Once blended together the marg takes on a light pistachio colored drink, garnished with the bold orange Sal de Gusano.
We should've known that inviting Richard Blais to make a simple margarita would turn into anything but, well, something simple. Richard starts by pouring a healthy dose of tequila and Cointreau into a large glass bowl (ok, nothing strange here...) then brings out a whisk (weird, but ok, we're still keeping our cool), then whips out his liquid nitrogen tank. Blink. Blink.
"Can you freeze alcohol? Well, you can when you have a cryogenic fluid," Richard explained. "It's -367 degrees Fahrenheit. We're using the nitrogen as a coolant."
He pours the liquid nitrogen over the bowl while furiously whisking and soon enough, the entire bowl of alcohol is frozen into a slushie-like mixture, which Richard lovingly dubs a "tequila sorbet."
Chef Judy Joo loves a good tart frozen margarita (AKA an adult Slurpee, right?) and her signature drink is full of raspberries and fresh lime juice. Judy keeps her recipe simple: a bag of frozen raspberries, a handful of ice, lime juice, a "good amount" of tequila ("you can just eyeball it," Judy said), triple sec, and agave syrup.
Her final product is similar to Richard's: a thick, frozen boozy treat that you can eat with a spoon.