The following 101, on making simple margaritas, comes from HOMEGROWN's flock tender, Jennifer, who looks forward to margarita season all winter long.
I remember one night a few years back when, even though I had a bottle of tequila and a bagful of limes, I was convinced I couldn’t make margaritas because I didn’t have any Triple Sec. How young and dumb I was.
Don’t get me wrong: I love fancy ’ritas as much as the next person. Cointreau and Grand Marnier have their uses, for sure, and one of my all-time favorite margarita recipes calls for the decidedly unorthodox egg white. But it turns out you don’t need any flavored boozes or secret ingredients to make a mean margarita.
You don’t even need limes.
Bear with me. At the time I’m writing this, there’s an international lime shortage, due in part (in the States, at least) to a colder than average winter in Florida and the ongoing drought in California. Limes, like most fresh produce, are especially sensitive to dramatic price fluctuations. A drastically reduced supply means more demand, and more demand means $1 limes at the market. For us nonfarmers, this is a good reminder that farmers' yields and livelihoods are inextricably tied to the weather.
Now, I’m certainly not advocating not buying limes. But I also like the chance to take a page from the HOMEGROWN playbook and remember that using what you’ve got on hand can yield serendipitous surprises. What I had this week was an abundance of grapefruit, thanks to my farm share, which swaps produce with out-of-state farms. (You can read more about why and how a Massachusetts farm offers a winter share at the bottom of this page.) Inspired by The Kitchn’s grapefruit guacamole, I made grapefruit margaritas. I've since learned that this isn't so different from the cocktail known as the paloma, but in my head I'm still calling my version the frescarita. Mostly because it's fun to say.
That said, I used another Kitchn recipe, one in which the word “grapefruit” is nowhere to be found, as my starting point. So, for the purists and the diehards, the following would work just as well with limes as with grapefruit. Either way, you’ll end up with a drink that's pure and simple, with tequila as the only processed ingredient. And that’s one process I can get behind.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Makes 2 drinks
» 2 oz (1/4 cup) tequila
» 1 oz (2 Tbsp) freshly squeezed lime or grapefruit juice
» 1 Tbsp simple syrup (Make it yourself—including flavored varieties—with Cynthia's Simple Syrup 101! Here's the short version: Dissolve 1 cup organic cane sugar in 1 cup water over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let cool then store in a jar in the fridge. Makes about 1½ cups and keeps for several weeks—as in, weeks of 'ritas.)
» 2 Tbsp cold water
» salt (optional)
WHAT TO DO
Combine the tequila, juice, simple syrup, water, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Rattle and roll like you mean it. If you want, you can moisten the rims of the glasses and dip them in kosher salt before filling them with ice. Split the contents of your shaker between the two glasses. Salud!
Got your own twist on the classic margarita to share? Post it below and keep the conversation going! You might also be interested in Rachel H.’s Homemade Tortillas 101, 101s on how to make tamales, horchata, and guacamole, Rachel B.’s recipe for watermelon fresca, or how to make a bee’s knees cocktail. You can always find more things to cook, preserve, plant, grow, make, craft, and shake in the HOMEGROWN 101 library.
ALL PHOTOS: JENNIFER
This weekend we went to the beach in the ole RV and took a 1/2 gallon of apple pie shine. Homemade 40% and added to 1 bottle Jose Cuervo margarita mixz and a bottle of water as this was a frozen machine we were using not a blender. It was pretty good actually! We can't buy tequila on a sunday and we had not planned ahead. :)
PS we only used 24 oz of the Pie!