Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Mangling" Margaritas



Maybe I should have saved this post for a Friday? Perhaps :)

This post is brought to you by happy accident. Happy accidents are actually a part of my process. When you are still learning all there is to know about food, mistakes happen. A lot. Sometimes the mistakes are really, really bad- like my incursion into French Onion Soup. The soup wasn't even edible. It literally tasted like feet. But sometimes, sometimes the mistakes are good. Like when I accidentally grabbed mango margarita mix at the grocery store this weekend instead of my go-to original mix. 

You see, we had our fantasy football draft over the weekend. The hubby and I had invited our couple friends over who participate in the league with us. By sheer luck (for Jessica, mwhahaha!), our agreed upon menu had a decidedly Mexican flair. Taco dip with salsa, jalapeño poppers, and sliders. I thought margaritas would go gang-busters with the food. And margaritas are something I have down to a science. In fact, when the hubby and I first started dating (maybe even just before we started dating) he learned just how good at making margaritas I am. Before there was ever an "us", he was rooming with one of my college friends. I just happened to be at my friends house that weekend for "Girl's Night". Aka batches of margaritas and horror movies all night. The hubby was supposed to be out with his friends, when he came home in the middle of our inebriated terror-fest. Always one to be polite, I offered him a margarita. To my shock and horror, he downed it in a couple of gulps. Uh, my marg's are pretty strong. Really strong. You don't mess with a sorority girl and her tequila. Well, that margarita went down the hatch. And then another. And then another. Not long after that, they really caught up with him. He spent the entire night sleeping with his head on the toilet. Lesson learned.


Returning from my tangent, I could make a margarita in my sleep. Lots of tequila, a shot of Cointreau, one lager-style beer, and just enough margarita mix to give some color. And, oh yes, lots of ice and salt. I'm an on-the-rocks girl. So here I am, mixing drinks for our guests, when I do the first taste test. That first spoonful I put in my mouth shocked the hell out of me. Instead of tasting like something I've been making for many years, I was gifted with a sweet, fruity flavor. Once I got over my consternation with the exotic flavor, I realized I liked it. I liked it a lot. A quick read of the bottle I bought solved the conundrum. I bought mango mix. 

If you're like me, you're probably thinking that mango mix and lager beer have no business going together. You would be wrong. If you've never added beer to your margarita, I recommend trying it immediately. Adding a beer really mellows out the overly sweet quality of a margarita mix. Once the sweet is turned down, you can taste the tequila. You can taste the hint of orange from the Cointreau. And more importantly, you can drink more than one without getting a sour stomach. And surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly) the beer helped tone down the sugary sweetness of the mango mix. The margarita ended up being sweet, but not sickeningly so. It's precisely that saccharine quality that usually turns me off from mango cocktails. Problem solved! I used Yuengling lager for this batch, but my go-to's for margaritas are anything light. Coors Light, Bud Light, Miller Light, PBR, etc. Obviously a stronger beer will add more flavor to your cocktail, and that's not always what I'm after. 

And speaking of football, the season kicks off tonight! The hubby and I are ready, I'm making pizza and- dare I say? Margaritas! :)

Happy Thursday friends!


Ingredients (makes a 60-oz pitcher):

3 cups ice
2 1/2 cups tequila
4 oz Cointreau
1 1/2 cups mango margarita mix
1 (12 oz) Yuengling lager
lime wedges and coarse salt (garnish)

Directions:

1. Fill a large pitcher with ice. Add tequila, Cointreau, mango mix, and Yuengling. Stir to mix. Taste test, and adjust to taste.
2. Run lime wedge around rim of glass. Dip glass in coarse salt. Fill glass with ice, and pour margarita over ice. Garnish with lime, and serve immediately. 



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