By Sam Harriss / Correspondent
April 2, 2021
The hunt for the perfect margarita — I know it well. I’ve ordered one at every Mexican restaurant in some 30-plus states and every Mexi-themed bar within a 50-mile radius of the Outer Banks. I’ve shaken more of this elixir than any other drink and I’ve drunk more margaritas than any other cocktail; not sure if this is a claim to fame so much as an expression of true love for tequila, ice, and lime.
In my search, I have sauntered down many a country’s hot cobblestone street looking for the eponymous cocktail. I have driven across the U.S. to find a desert town bar between Tijuana and Rosarito that claims to have concocted the first margarita. I have perched on a stool in the oldest bar in Mexico and dove into the culture of margaritas all over border towns in the Southwest. I’ve had agave wine margaritas, mezcal margaritas, margaritas with mini Coronas turned upside down in them, frozen margaritas, deconstructed margaritas, and too many airport margaritas. It’s the “Green Eggs and Ham” legacy I was born to, for I have drunk them on a boat, and with a goat. Honestly, I have crooned so much Jimmy Buffett in my day that I believe wasting away in “Margaritaville” is truly the only way to go.
So, while there is surely a right and a wrong way, there is also surely a way to enjoy them all. Which maybe isn’t about the drink at all, but rather the path of introspection we all have to walk to find happiness. Maybe the drink is quite possibly the reaching of hands to lead us into the sense of righteous joy we all deserve, the hand that pats the seat in quiet understanding that we just need to sit and take life a sip at a time. It’s not the tequila, nor the ice, not even the lime — it’s the time and place. It’s the folks we share our fleeting moments with and cheers to new beginnings and old friendships and long-lost loves and destinies fulfilled. Every drink tastes better with a blue bird on your shoulder, so I guess the moral to the margarita is you will enjoy any and all of them in a box, or with a fox, or on a train in the rain.
This is my tried and true margarita mix recipe and makes 3 cups. You can add whatever makes you happy, because that’s the key to this life.
Sam-I-Am’s Margarita Mix
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons lime and lemon zest
1 cup water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh lime juice
Method Rub sugar and zest together with hands until the sugar is damp. Let sit for a few minutes to break down. Add sugar to water and heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and add lemon and lime juice. Can store for up to a month in the refrigerator.