According to Mexican law, tequila must come from the state of Jalisco or certain regions of Michoacan, Nayarit, Tamaulioas and Guanajuanto. Famous as a shooter with salt and a wedge of lime, tequila is also a favored ingredient in mixed drinks. Use high-quality tequila when you can. It's expensive, but the flavor of the tequila is an essential element.
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A Classic Margarita
Combine two parts of tequila with one part Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec in a cocktail shaker. Add one part fresh, sweetened lime juice. Add ice to the cocktail shaker and shake. Pour the Margarita into a stemmed glass. Leave the ice in the shaker. For a frozen Margarita, put the ingredients in a blender, add ice and blend until the drink is slushy.
Make the lime juice by squeezing fresh lines, adding a splash of water and just enough sugar to make a slightly sweet juice that is still tart.
Make a Clam Digger by combining 1.5 ounces of tequila with 3 ounces of tomato juice, 3 ounces of clam juice, a teaspoon of prepared horseradish and a dash of lemon juice. Add a shake of Worcestershire sauce and a shake of hot pepper sauce. Pour over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with lemon.
The Tequila Sunrise is a classic. Make this variation by putting ice in a cocktail glass and pouring a shot of grenadine over the ice. Combine a shot of tequila, an ounce of lime juice and 4 ounces of orange juice in a shaker. Pour the contents of the shaker over the grenadine. Garnish with a cherry.
Mixed Drinks with Other Alcohols
Combine 2 ounces of tequila, 1 ounce orange liqueur and one tablespoon each lime juice and cranberry juice in a shaker half-filled with ice. Shake, strain and serve in a cocktail glass for a variation on a Cosmopolitan.
Make simple syrup from equal parts water and sugar. Put ½ cup in a punch bowl and add a bottle of champagne. Pour in a bottle of white wine, half a cup of lemon juice and a pint bottle of tequila. Garnish with melon balls for a punch with punch.
Add a few ice cubes to a glass and pour two parts tequila and one part vermouth over the ice. Stir and strain. Pour the drink into a cocktail glass and garnish with an olive or pickled onion for a Tequila Martini.
Straight Up or On the Rocks
If you're drinking your tequila straight or with ice, select a top-of-the-line brand. The best tequilas are made from 100 percent blue agave juice. Lesser tequilas only have to be 51 percent agave. The rest of the liquor is made from other sugars that are added during fermentation.
Cuervo roasts the agave. This creates a sweet, syrupy juice that is turned into agave wine. The wine is distilled twice in copper pots. Casa Noble Anejo is matured in oak barrels. Patron Anejo has a slightly spicy flavor with hints of caramel, orange and clove.