Mixologist and Beverage Specialist Mike Canlas In Reggie's Kitchen

Much like a summer afternoon spent drinking too many margaritas, things are a little bit hazy when it comes to the precise origin of this classic cocktail. The most accepted version is that it was created in Tijuana, Mexico sometime in the 1930s, where a bartender took the elements of a tequila shot (salt, tequila, lime) and turned it into a refreshing blend.

Since then, the margarita has been reinvented in an assortment of flavors and colors, but these are usually just a variation of the three standard ways to serve it: shaken with ice (on the rocks), blended with ice (frozen margarita), or without ice (straight up).

For a casual cocktail that is most associated with poolside parties, the beach, or backyard barbeques, there are countless people who take their margaritas very seriously. The debate usually revolves around its so-called “official” ingredients. On one hand, there are those who stick to only three established components: Tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau or Grand Marnier. Conversely, there are those who maintain that a good margarita isn’t a margarita unless it contains Triple Sec, a sweet liqueur made from dried orange peels.

Mike Canlas, a certified drink specialist and one of my favorite bartenders around, subscribes to the latter school of thought. In the following video, he demonstrates a fool-proof way to make an exceptional classic margarita, as well as some interesting variations.  

One interesting thing to note about Mike’s margarita recipe is that he uses agave syrup. The thinking behind agave is that it adds sugar to balance out the heat of the tequila and the acid that comes with freshly squeezed lime juice. The agave brings a measured sweetness that is clean and delicate, allowing the rest of the drink to shine through. Moreover, tequila is made from the agave plant, which makes it an even more ideal match.

I hope you enjoy the video below, and have your margarita glasses ready!