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EPICURE: In the Drink 2

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Lovely ’Rita

Up, on the rocks, frozen or flavored, margaritas are synonymous with summer, epitomizing the laid-back spirit that reigns from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The basic recipe is simple: fresh-squeezed lime, simple syrup, ice and tequila—easier to make than iced tea. You might prefer those hefty, frozen concoctions, but take it from Sergio Ruiz, general manager at Xochitl in Center City: When making a good margarita, less is more.

At Xochitl, bartenders use 100 percent blue agave tequila—blanco (white), reposado (aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year, in oak barrels) or anejo (blanco tequila aged in white oak casks for more than a year). Their favorite brands include Sauza, Patrón and Don Julio. The trick, says Ruiz, is finding the correct balance between the citrus and the sugar. “Fresh-squeezed juice is a must—as is good-quality tequila. I like the blanco agave the most because you can really taste its essence,” he says.

Like vodka, bourbon and scotch, there are numerous varieties of tequila to choose from, and you don’t have to limit your consumption to margaritas. Tequila can be substituted in mojitos and other favorite drinks. Xochitl’s mojito (pictured here) features Herradura Blanco, fresh-squeezed muddled lime, sugar and thyme, served on the rocks. And lucky you, there’s plenty of time to experiment.

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