Try to cure the summertime blues with a Blue Margarita

Brian Rung

    In the summer of 1958 Eddie Cochran told us that “there ain't no cure for the summertime blues.”
    Almost 60 years have passed and, as far as I know, both the summertime blues and the common cold have not yet been cured. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try, enter the Blue Margarita.
    A Blue Margarita, also known as a Moonlight Margarita is as tasty as it is colorful. The Blue Margarita is not simply a Margarita with blue food coloring. It is very much its own drink with a sweeter flavor profile than the traditional lime Margarita.
    Where does the blue come from? As a rule of thumb, almost every “blue” cocktail includes blue curacao.  Curacao is an orange liqueur that mixes well in place of a triple sec or other citrus liqueur. Orange curacao and blue curacao have the same flavor profile, the only difference is the color.
    The industry standard Blue Curacao is Bol's, also known as “Bol's Blue.” Reach for DeKuyper's blue curacao if Bol's is unavailable. Despite the strong color and citrus aroma, blue curacao is quite versatile.
    Keep a bottle handy if you would like to try your hand at the Blue Hawaii, Blue Lagoon or Blue Monday. If you are feeling adventurous, use blue curacao to turn your favorite cocktail blue.  
    Other than the addition of blue curacao, this is your standard Margarita which is tequila, lime juice and agave nectar. You will never, ever need a pre-made, preservative packed, high fructose corn syrup-laden mix to turn out a quality Margarita.
    Don't believe me? Throw the three main ingredients in a shaker on a hot day and strain over fresh ice in your favorite Margarita glass. Chances are this simple scratch-made Margarita from your home bar will be every bit as good as the one served at your favorite bar.
    The key to a good Margarita is to use quality ingredients. Bad tequila, squeeze bottle lime juice and low grade triple sec will turn out a bad Margarita.
    Good tequila, fresh lime juice and either a quality orange liqueur or agave nectar will turn out a beach party in a 12 ounce highball glass.
    What is “good” tequila? Is it expensive? Good tequila is 100 percent agave tequila. Only use quality 100 percent agave tequila in Margaritas and every other tequila cocktail. If the bottle is not labeled “100 percent agave” don't buy it.
    Be careful. Many labels will read “made from blue agave” but the tequila inside is not 100 percent blue agave. Legally speaking, a tequila only has to be 51 percent tequila to meet the legal standard.  
    That means that some tequila can be 49 percent “not tequila.” That 49 percent consists of artificial coloring, flavoring and preservatives. These tequilas are classified as “mixtos” and you are almost guaranteed one of the worst hangovers of your life if you choose to drink this stuff.
    The beginning price point for 100 percent agave tequila is about $20 for a quality blanco, a few dollars more for a reposado.
    Avoid the bold flavored “anejo” tequilas in cocktails as they are aged spirits meant for sipping. Some of my favorites in the $20 range are El Amo, Altos, Hornito's, El Padrino and Tierra Fertil.
    Use fresh lime juice in every drink, every time. Pick up a lime squeezer on your next trip to the store if you don't already have one. If you are thinking about using the green squeeze bottle lime juice, consider this: the lime juice accounts for almost one third of the drink. Freshly squeezed lime juice is every bit as important as the tequila in a good Margarita.
    There are a few ways to go with the sweet component of the classic Margarita. I prefer agave nectar for a few reasons.
    First, tequila is agave based and a good tequila will have notes of agave in its flavor profile. A quality organic agave nectar is a perfect match with a dry blanco tequila.
    The other reason that I prefer agave nectar in Margaritas is that it doesn't take much to sweeten the drink.  Half an ounce usually does the trick.  
    The Blue Margarita is built in a shaker and served in your favorite Margarita glass.
    Fill shaker with ice.
    Add 2 ounces blanco tequila (100 percent agave).
    Add 1/2 ounce blue curacao.
    Add 1 ounce fresh lime juice.
    Add 1/2 ounce agave nectar.
    Shake and strain over fresh ice.
    Garnish with lime.
    Until next week, enjoy responsibly.