The World's Greatest Margarita Recipe
1-1/2 cups good tequila!
Life is too short to drink cheap tequila! Jose Cuervo Gold is the minimum standard. A standby that I use is 1800 Silver or I've also been using Sauza Hornitos Reposado a whole lot lately.
... And, face it, the flavor and smoothness of the margarita will be incrementally better if you jump up to a higher-end brand (besides the better the tequila, the less severe the hangover!). Experimenting with high-end tequilas will add subtle flavors and allow you to create your own signature margarita. My latest favorite is a brand called Cazadores recommended to me by Fernando Avelar whose family has a legacy of growing and harvesting the blue agave cactus for tequila in Mexico. Patron Silver Tequila has also been a very good mix.
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
This is as good as is gets. I do not float this on top but rather mix it in with the blender.
A great alternative is the Italian version of Grand Marnier called Gran Gala (it's less expensive and just as good).
1/3 bottle of beer
Yes, you did read that right, a 1/3 bottle of beer. The best results are with a standard bland American icon beer like Budweiser, Coors or Miller. Avoid micro-brews with lots of character as this will leave an aftertaste to your margarita. The carbonation dissipates with blending and so the addition of beer to this margarita will make a mellow tasting, smooth drinking formula. This is one of the 'secret' ingredients and I have never had anyone guess that there was beer in their margarita. For lack of a better explanation, the beer adds "character" and "character" is what makes for a great margarita.
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
I've experimented with lime-aid, and all sorts of lemonades. You will have to do the same. I avoid the ones with the pulp. Sometimes you will have to add sugar if you've selected a sour brand. (12 ounce size). Interestingly enough the generic store brand private label lemonade is usually my favorite.
3-4 Tablespoons of fresh Lemon Juice
For the high end margarita, you will use an actual squeezed lemon (use a sieve to eliminate the pulp) but for convenience and in bulk you can certainly use a big long healthy squirt of Real Lemon This is real lemon juice concentrate and adds the wonderful lemon tanginess a great margarita needs.
3-4 Tablespoons of fresh Lime Juice
As with the lemon, using a squeezed lime is ideal, but an alternative is a big long healthy squirt of Real Lime. This is real lime juice concentrate and also adds the lime tartness for a subtle enhancement.
Water or Ice to fill up the blender
My preference is to add half ice and half water to fill up the blender to the top. This way you are not serving a frozen margarita but a very cold one with shards of crushed ice. The best margaritas are quite concentrated but then poured over a heaping full glass of ice that starts to dilute the power of the cocktail as it melts. Now, lately we've been serving these straight up or "perfect" in a margarita glass or (my personal favorite) a martini glass. Shake it up on the rocks and pour it in straight up. Somehow this promotes more of a sipping approach (very fast sipping often, but still technically sipping).
Add sugar to taste.
As you are completing the mix portion in the blender, you may choose to add sugar to taste. By doing it in a blender you don't have to worry about a granular texture in the drink.
Variations on a theme:
The true joy of a margarita connoisseur is adding character and uniqueness as you journey through the evolution of your mixology.
Some of the ways to introduce your own signature to this classic is to experiement with:
1) Different tequila
2) Adding fruit or fruit juice for flavor
3) Adding different liqueurs (I really like the Mexican liqueur Damiana for a unique and subtle flavor), maybe peach schnapps, or Midori (melon).
4) Frozen Margarita - Keep adding ice to the blender and blending until you get the consistency that you like
5) Stong "martini-like" margarita - don't add the lemonade and just use extra fresh squeezed lemona and lime juice. Be careful as these can double as rocket fuel!