After a few weeks of tasting margaritas all over town, in an attempt to find the best “lime on the rocks” margarita, we started to realize that we may have bit off, er, sipped more than we could handle. It seems, in our very unscientific and limited quest, that there are too many variations of margaritas to ever determine a best of without spending far too much time, money and calories along the way.
So we decided the real solution was to have a taste test of our own making. Equipped with a few Bon Appetit magazine recipes set on “ridding the world of bad margaritas,” we stopped at Benz Beverage Depot for supplies: a flight of Avion tequila (Resposado, Silver and Anjejo), agave nectar, triple sec, pre-mixed Jose Cuervo mini-bottles and finally, the much anticipated (and by that we mean dreaded) Skinny Girl margarita.
We started with the Bon Appetit recipe that called for 1/4 cup tequila, 2 tablespoons agave nectar and 2 tablespoons lime juice. The second recipe skipped the agave and instead called for equal parts tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice.
Regardless of the ratio, the overall winner was the Anejo. Aged the longest in oak barrels for two years, when alone or mixed with just agave and lime, it was the smoothest. The triple sec did much to improve the taste of the Silver. The verdict? If you want complex flavors, without the pucker-up and can-only-drink one sweetness, get an aged Tequila, mix it with the simplest ingredients — agave (or triple sec) and lime — and call it good.
Next we went for the pre-mixed Jose Cuervo. If you closed your eyes, these margaritas taste nearly identical to lemonade from the gun at a bar. The kind that makes you want to turn your lemonade back in for a rebate, these margaritas were drinkable in a pinch.
Worse were the Skinny Girl margaritas. While the 30-ish calories a serving are tempting, you could just as easily sip on everclear with lime flavoring to get the same taste. Maybe it was our fault for starting with the “real margaritas” but after a few sips by each of us, we dumped our glasses, closed up the bottle and brainstormed how to hide it within other beverages.
-- Laura Kaiden
Of course you do have to order a margarita out once in a while. Here's our guide to the best (and worst or strongest) in the area.
And, you can't survive on margaritas alone, check our out roundup of the area's best guac.