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While I’m usually a gin drinker, and the sound of the perfect, ice cold gin and tonic in a balloon glass to sip in the garden does sound rather good, when the sun hits (can you believe this weather we have been having? In April!) I turn to tequila. Now, while there are so many different gins I like for different things (I have at least four different types on top of my fridge right now, and that is not accounting for the rest of the flat!), while I can acknowledge there are some lovely, pricy tequilas you want in a clean, fresh, classic margarita or for sipping, for an affordable everyday tequila for my margaritas, palomas, boozy guacamole and also for sipping plain over ice, I always grab a bottle of Olmeca Altos’s tequila blanco. I tried a few readily available tequilas when I first got into drinking them, but this on is the best on flavour, price, and how great it looks on your summertime bar cart. I could not help but include the bottle in all these photos!
These margaritas are super refreshing and cooling, and were inspired by two different homemade cocktail techniques you should have down for summer: infusing your own tequila and making your own cucumber juice imbued with this incredible green hue. The tequila bit is really simple: just slice up whatever you’re infusing (we’re using jalapeños here for a spicy kick) and cover it in tequila, setting it aside for up to a day, but at least 2 hours before straining into a small jar or bottle for later. As for the cucumber juice, the key to getting the colour is to leave the skin on, or you’ll not get a shade of green strong enough to stand out. If you have a fancy juicer, great. If you’re going down the food processor or power blender route, strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp before chilling the juice for later.
This recipe should make you two big margaritas – it is always hard to judge cocktail recipes when everyone has different glassware, so I’ve made this generous so you won’t be caught short! However, it will yield double the amount of tequila as it stores well and it seems a little silly to just infuse enough to make two drinks! This is a great recipe to make in a pitcher when friends come as it is long and refreshing rather than short and strong, and while you need to make the infused tequila ahead, the cucumber juice will actually benefit from chilling in the fridge for a few hours to get extra ice cold and thirst quenching before serving.
Bright, refreshing margaritas with a spicy kick, perfect for Cinco de Mayo
120ml (4 fl oz) Olmeca Altos Tequila Blanco
1 1/2 English Cucumbers
Juice of 2 Limes
40ml (1 1/2 fl oz) Triple Sec
2 Large Handfuls Ice Cubes
Fine Sea Salt, for rimming the glasses (optional)
To make the infused tequila, thinly slice 1/2 of the jalapeño and in a small bowl, cover it with the tequila. Set aside for at least two hours.
To make the cucumber juice, either juice the cucumbers, skin on in a professional juicer, or blend them in a food processor or smoothie maker, using a fine sieve to remove the pulp before chilling the juice for when you’re ready to make the cocktails.
If you like the salty kick of a salt rim, dip each glass in a little of the Triple Sec or some cocktail simple syrup (anything that dries sticky), then tip each one in fine sea salt.
To build each drink, fill each glass with ice (I’m using my own ice cubes at the moment as I don’t have the freezer space for it, but I prefer store brought ice as it takes longer to melt) and stir together the cucumber juice, 60ml (2 fl oz) of the infused tequila (straining out the jalapeño pieces beforehand), the lime juice and the triple sec. Fill each glass to the brim, and garnish with the second half of the jalapeño, sliced, and a cucumber wheel in each glass if you’d like.
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