When I first decided to open a bar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, I knew I wanted three things. I wanted a roof made of palm leaves, I wanted swings around the bar instead of stools, and I wanted to serve a great margarita. I managed to accomplish all three.
On any given evening, my bartender and dear friend Jorge Sierra Castillo would make margaritas for tourists, locals, and expats alike. It was generally agreed that his were the best margaritas in all of Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
Poppa’s Perfect Margarita
- Pour one shot añejo tequila, one shot silver tequila, and one shot orange liqueur over ice in a shaker. My personal tequila preference is Herradura.
- Squeeze the juice of two small limes into the shaker. Save one of the lime rinds to use later.
- Add one shot of simple syrup–more if you like your margaritas sweet. You can buy it commercially made or make it yourself. To make your own, dissolve one cup of sugar in one cup of boiling water. Cool before adding.
- Finally, add in just a splash of orange juice. Shake it all up.
- Run the leftover lime rind around the rim of your margarita glass. Spread a little salt out on a plate and dip the rim of the glass into it. Fill the glass with ice, and strain the contents of the shaker into the glass. Add a small slice of lime as garnish, putting it on the rim or floating it in the drink.
One final note: this cocktail tastes best while lying in a hammock staring at the ocean.
Driftwood: Stories from the Margarita Road is now available online and in select independent bookstores.
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