Highland Margarita

Salt crusted Margarita glass with lime

Everyone knows the Margarita as the pre-eminent tequila cocktail and staple of the ‘sours’ stable. A classic drink, and one of the few that has spawned its own unique glassware, the Margarita dates back to the 1930s, and is a Mexican variation of the earlier American classic, the Daisy (which uses brandy in place of tequila). Coincidentally (or decisively depending on your view of Margarita-lore) the Spanish for daisy is margarita. The traditional Margarita starts with a salted glass:

  1. Frost the glass by rubbing a lime wedge round the outside of the rim.
  2. Dip the glass in a saucer of coarse salt (try and avoid getting any on the inside of the glass).
  3. Shake 40ml reposado tequila, 20ml triple sec and 20ml fresh lime juice with cubed ice for twenty seconds.
  4. Double strain into the frosted glass.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel.

A popular alternative is Tommy’s Margarita:

  1. Shake 40ml reposado tequila, 20ml fresh lime juice and 10ml agave syrup with cubed ice for twenty seconds.
  2. Double strain into a chilled rocks glass over cubed ice.
  3. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Of course a Margarita can be frozen, flavoured or served up with a salt foam float, but not being a massive Tequila fan – I blame too many years working in an Irish bar dealing out shots of the cheap stuff – and living in Scotland, I prefer a whisky-based drink, and for that I turn to the Highland Margarita.

First salt your glass as above (it wouldn’t be a Margarita without it):

Then mix your drink:

  1. Shake 40ml Scotch whisky*, 20ml triple sec and 20ml fresh lemon juice with cubed ice for twenty seconds.
  2. Double strain into the frosted (margarita) glass.
  3. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.
If you’re feeling adventurous a barspoon of ginger liqueur is a nice addition, either added to the mix before you shake, or layered in after the pour.

* This being a Highland Margarita, a Highland single malt would be apposite (I use Oban as a matter of course), but this drink will work just as well with whichever type of whisky (or even whiskey) you prefer.

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