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Get fresh to concoct the perfect margarita

NINA M. PADULA

npadula@tucsoncitizen.com

What better way to celebrate the arrival of the summer rainy season than sipping a margarita.

Like many people, I assumed that making a margarita was simple: Combine two parts margarita mix and one part gold tequila. Yet, I always end up puckering my lips with every sip and dumping the margarita down the drain.

Where did I go wrong?

After talking to Tucson-area restaurateurs who make delectable margaritas, I realize that the key to this refreshing beverage is to use minimal and fresh ingredients.

Suzana Davila, chef-owner of Cafe Poca Cosa, 110 E. Pennington St., says a margarita should contain the freshest ingredients. She uses a “secret” combination of fresh lime and orange juices, triple sec and sweet and sour to go with the tequila.

At Zivaz Mexican Bistro, 4590 E. Broadway, the house margarita, the Margarita Fantastica, is simple and doesn’t deviate from the classic recipe, says managing partner Felipe Valenzuela. Fresh lime, a bit of orange juice, simple syrup, triple sec and tequila are all it takes to stir up the taste buds of margarita lovers.

“We want to make sure it has a twist to keep people intrigued,” he says.

The margarita never ceases to surprise. It comes with many different names and flavors, such as Cadillac, mango, strawberry, and prickly pear.

In Tucson, you can even drink such designer margaritas as the $35 top offering at Acacia, 4340 N. Campbell. It is made with Cuervo Reserva De La Familia tequila and Grand Marnier CuvĂ©e Du Centenaire triple sec. At any of El Charro’s four locations, you can go out and order its 85th Anniversary Margarita at $199 (that’s right $199) made with 1800 Coleccion tequila and Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge triple sec. Plus, you get a T-shirt.

Though Davila’s recipe is secret, other restaurateurs shared their house margarita recipes.

Zivaz Mexican Bistro’s Margarita Fantastica

1 1/4 part reposado tequila

1 1/4 part orange liqueur

2 1/4 part simple syrup

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tablespoon orange juice

Kosher salt for rim of glass

ice, as needed

slice of lime, for garnish

Salt rim of glass.

Combine tequila, liqueur, syrup and lime juice in a shaker. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime. Serves 1.

Risky Business’s Prickly Pear Margarita

1/2 ounce prickly pear syrup

1 1/2 ounces tequila

1/2 ounce triple sec

4 ounces Risky’s Own Margarita Mix (recipes follow)

ice, to taste

1 lime wheel, for garnish

Sugar rim of 1 margarita glass.

Combine tequila, syrup, triple sec and margarita mix in shaker. Pour into glass filled with ice and garnish with a fresh lime wheel. Serves 1.

Risky’s Own Margarita Mix

2 ounces Rose’s Lime Juice

1 ounce orange juice

1 can limeade

Combine all ingredients.

Makes enough for 5 margaritas.

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