We set ourselves the goal of creating a clear Blood Orange Margarita in time for National Margarita Day as we wanted to come up with a recipe which would work perfectly with the fresh steak tacos which our friends at Bastard’s Bistro & Thic Boy Kitchen were providing for our Margarita Day giveaway collaboration!
These boys have a wealth of experience & passion for food & flavour so it makes perfect sense for us to collaborate with them on a series of future projects once hospitality is all systems go again. Their constant innovation and excitement around taste really strikes a chord with us and we can’t wait to invite you into the Studio to experience them for yourselves!
So, what’s so great about the Margarita?!
According to the founder of National Margarita Day, Todd McCalla…Everything! Although the National Day has only been knocking about for around a decade, the cocktail itself is a beloved classic which was officially first penned in 1938 by Carlos “Danny” Herrera; we now see a variety of twists on this original recipe – Tommy’s Margs, Frozen Margs, Strawberry Margs and so on. There’s something about a Margarita which instantly takes you back to sunning yourself in sunnier climates (remember when holidays were a thing?!) and although National Marg Day occurs during our winter season, there’s something reassuring about it which gives us hope that the sun will come back out again one day soon! I mean, we went out for a walk today without our scarves for the first time since November so we’re basically in summer mode now!
We didn’t want to simply produce a classic Margarita for the day and with Jon at the helm of our drinks development this was never going to be allowed to happen! The Margarita is the perfect accompaniment to a Mexican food bonanza – a subtle but delightful mix of earthy, dry blanco tequila (blanco works best as it presents tequila in its most raw, vegetal manifestation), fresh lime to give it a zesty, tarty kick & Triple Sec to balance the flavours and leave a silky orange note on the palette. These 3 ingredients refresh the palate with every sip & prepare you for the next party in your mouth provided by the rich flavours and spices of Mexican cuisine!
We set our sights on a crystal clear variation with a blood orange twist – the fruit is only in season for three months a year (Jan to March) so with National Marg Day conveniently placed smack bang in the middle of its season it was the perfect time to showcase this fantastic combination.
Blood oranges, like all fruits, are full of certain acids – citric acids (think lemons & limes), malic acids (naturally occurring in apples), ascorbic acids (shout out to oranges and grapefruit) and tartaric acids (a grapes best friend). The classic margarita is iconic because of its high citric acid kick delivered by the lime juice and so we sought to create a solution which would combine this iconic zesty hit with the blood orange essence.
We peeled 3 fresh blood oranges (thanks, Leeds Market!) being careful to avoid the pith as this can provide a bitter taste which would counteract the fresh aromas & sour citrus notes of the skin. We expressed the oils from the skin into our acidic solution (see below) and sous vide it for 5 hours at 50 degrees, after which we coffee-filtered our “blood orange juice” to reveal a clear liquid with an orange hue along with an amazing blood orange aroma & a balanced citric kick to taste.
Clear “Blood Orange Juice” Ingredients
18g Citric Acid
8g Malic Acid
8g Ascorbic Acid
1g Sea Salt
The oil from 3 Blood Oranges
We then had to decide on our Tequila; we put a few to the test and found that Revel Blanco, a triple distilled tequila from pure 100% agave was the answer due to its citrusy, earthy notes with the slightest touch of mint on the palate – perfect for adding a big depth of flavour to our cocktail.
Next up was our search for the perfect orange liqueur; this was the most difficult of all the flavours to bring together as no single liqueur had all the qualities we were looking for to balance the drink. We settled on a combination of triple sec & dry orange curacao to bring a much needed silky, smooth texture as they helped round off the harsh edges of the drink. Last but not least we add a very small touch of sugar syrup, it really helped to lighten the drink and took it from a delicious drink, to a delicious drink you order again, immediately!
The Crystal Margarita
Shake hard with ice and serve either over ice or straight up depending on your preference & how quickly you intend to drink it.
Finally, garnish with a wedge of fresh blood orange – but be quick, their short season will soon be coming to an end!
If you fancy knocking up a few Margaritas without having to prepare any homemade ingredients then give these recipes a bash;
20ml Lime Juice
5ml Sugar Syrup
Shake hard & serve straight up over ice – or better still, blend it to create a frozen Marg!
Tommy’s Margarita (Suitable for diabetic/no sugar diets)
25ml Lime Juice
15ml Agave Syrup
Shake hard, serve over ice with half of a spent lime to garnish.