We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Margaritas for You and Me or A Crowd, Por Favor!

by Linda

   A few years ago, before I moved to the beautiful North Bay in California, I moved to San Jose from the Santa Ynez Valley. It was quite a change for me to leave my home of 20 plus years in the rural wine and horse country of "The Valley" as we liked to call it, and find myself living in a tiny "in-law cottage" near the downtown of San Jose with large and very loud jets flying over my cottage every five minutes.
   Fortunately, my landlord's ample backyard served at my front yard, and so although my little house was too small to host a large party inside, I could accomodate a large group outside. I was working as a Team Leader for Whole Foods Market®, and I wanted to be able to have my team over for an informal gathering. I asked everyone to bring his or her own beach chair so seating was not a concern and we would keep warm by burning wood in the Weber grill for a makeshift fire bowl.
   Since I was very much on a budget, I needed a menu that would serve a crowd, be delicious, and work within my means. I decided to make pork carnitas with all the sides and serve my favorite margaritas which I made the day ahead and stored in empty gallon water bottles in my fridge.

   I created a playlist of my favorite Latin artists like Maná, Juanes and Ricky Martin and mixed in some great dance tunes from other artists like the B52s. The party was such a huge hit with my guests, and as it turned out, a passion was ignited for two of my friends who shared their first kiss in my kitchen that night.Thus my annual Carnitas Party was born, and my cottage became fondly nicknamed "The Love Shack", since that tune happened to be on the playlist that first night.
   My team always looked forward to the next Carnitas Party, and even though I offered to change the menu for subsequent parties, they all clammored for Carnitas and Margaritas. What more can possibly be said about Margaritas you might ask? Well, here is my “algo mas” on the subject as one would say in Latin America.
   One of my pet peeves when it comes to cocktails is that bartending manuals usually provide measurements for a single cocktail. When it comes to margaritas and mojitos, I personally prefer to have some friends around to share in the fun, and I like to make a pitcher. I have been making margaritas for almost 20 years, and I finally came up with a recipe that has gotten a big thumbs up from family and friends, and has become a standard for us sisters when we entertain, or simply celebrate the arrival of Friday night.
   It will keep for a week in the fridge and indefinitely when frozen. I always make it for my annual Carnitas Party, and depending on how large the group will be, can be made in volume. I have found over the years that there is no substitution for real lime juice from fresh and juicy limes—forget that stuff sitting on some grocery store shelf —the juicing is worth the effort.

   The choice of Triple Sec is also very important. Bols is my TripleSec of choice, and the margaritas will not taste the same without it. There is no need to use an expensive sipping tequila for margies. I am currently using Zapopan (available at Trader Joe's in California), but have used Jose Cuervo, Montezuma's and a number of others over the years. This cocktail gets a big boost from the other ingredients, and is an economical choice for a large party since the alcohols used are relatively inexpensive.
   For parties I like to place the pitcher on the bar with an ice bucket full of cubed ice, a dish of sliced lime wedges and a small plate of coarse sea salt (I like Eden Hand Harvested French Celtic Sea Salt which can be found at Whole Foods Market or your local natural foods grocer), and a selection of great glasses.
   Guests are able to prepare their own margaritas with or without salt. Guests that like salt can rub the rim of their glass with a lime wedge and dip it into the plate of sea salt. With a bar set up, guests are also able to go back for a refill without needing bartender assistance, and be assured, they usually go back for a second. Here’s the basic recipe:
Linda's Margaritas 

1 cup Lime juice, freshly squeezed, about 6 to 8
2 cups Reposado grade Tequila, 80% proof
1-1/4 cups Triple Sec, 30% proof, preferrably Bols
2 cups Lemon Italian Soda, either Whole Foods Brand or Safeway's O Brand (avoid Santa Cruz brand)

1. In a large pitcher, add lime juice, tequila, triple sec and lemon Italian soda. Stir. Salt rims of glasses if you like and serve each portion over ice. Servings: 8-10

Also... check out our newer post for Not So Girly Strawberry Margaritas. You'll be glad you did!

Linda's note 2015: Inspired by a visit to Cafe Poca Cosa (one of our favorite restaurants in Tucson), I began adding the juice of one fresh orange to my original recipe. The charming owner of Cafe Poca Cosa, Suzana Davila, confirmed that they add it to their delicious recipe in the restaurant, and I find I like my recipe better when that addition is made. Cheers!


  1. Replies
    1. Yummmm is right! They are really delicious and refreshing. These days we have taken to adding the juice of one ripe orange to the recipe. We got the idea from the excellent margaritas that are served at Cafe Poca Cosa in Tucson.


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