When it comes to making a great margarita this Cinco de Mayo, which is easily the official drink of the unofficial holiday, it really comes down to one thing.
“The cocktail is only going to be as good as the ingredients,” said bartender Kyle Ford, co-founder of Ford Mixology Lab.
That means using a premium tequila and triple sec and, even in the age of the lime shortage, fresh lime juice.
“Never compromise the integrity of your drink by not using the real deal,” said Ford.
If the rising price of the citrus fruit still gives you second thoughts, you can always swap out lime juice for lemon juice and make the margarita’s cousin, the Picador, suggested Ford.
“It’s not well-known, but you can make just as delicious a tipple with lemon juice,” said Ford.
If you take yours with salt, skip the kosher stuff and try a smoke salt, which goes especially well with mezcal.
“Salt is the fourth ingredient nobody really talks about, but why settle for something plain?” said Ford, who likes the selection at The Meadow on Hudson Street. “It’s an easy way to jazz up and customize a margarita.”
Want to get shaking? Ford recommends a 2-1-1 ratio of tequila, Cointreau and lime juice for a classic margarita that’s easy to concoct at home.
“That’s exactly how it was made in 1948 when popularized by Margarita Sames,” said Ford, referring to the Dallas socialite who was fond of the drink. “Now, it’s the no. 1-consumed cocktail in America.”
Make the perfect marg at home with this recipe, plus three more cocktail offerings from Manhattan establishments known for their creative concoctions.