Classic Cadillac Margarita Cocktail Recipe

Classic Cadillac Margarita Cocktail Recipe

Inspired by Cantina Hussongs, Ensenada, Mexico

Classic Cadillac Margarita Cocktail Recipe | https://saltandwind.com At team Salt & Wind Travel, we see eye-to-eye on most everything. Truly, there are very few things that divide us. Want see what we're talking about? Ju...
Skill
Course
Cuisine
Ingredients
7
Hands-On Time
5 minutes
Total Time
5 minutes
Yield
1
Servings
1
Season
Classic Cadillac Margarita Cocktail Recipe | https://saltandwind.com
Skill
Beginner
Course
Drinks
Cuisine
American
Ingredients
7
Hands-On Time
5 minutes
Total Time
5 minutes
Yield
1
Servings
1
Diet
Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian
Classic Cadillac Margarita Cocktail Recipe | https://saltandwind.com

At team Salt & Wind Travel, we see eye-to-eye on most everything. Truly, there are very few things that divide us.

Want see what we're talking about? Just to name a few things: we all adore cooking Italian food, love traveling to Mexico, have unending desire to explore Mexico City, and we all hate cotton candy!

But of those few things that we don't agree on, nothing divides us quite as much as one topic: how to make the best classic margarita cocktail. Even when you take away all the fancier options -- ahem, Skinny Margarita, Spicy Margarita, or Charred Citrus Margarita -- we still can't agree. That's because we don't on the most basic of basics like if the cocktail should be salt rimmed, whether it should have orange liqueur, or what type of tequila to use.

Despite that there are things we agree on: all of us prefer a margarita on the rocks, all of like those rocks to be cracked (not crushed!), and we only ever use freshly-squeezed lime juice. And all of us like this version of a Classic Cadillac Margarita!

The Basic Margarita Recipe Formula

We already went over the various origin stories behind the classic Margarita when we covered the must-try classic food and drink from Baja California. But we didn't mention the formula.

If you were to create a cocktail family tree, you'd find that the Margarita falls squarely in the sour cocktail family. A sour is a cocktail that combines a liqueur with some citrus juice (usually lime or lemon) and a sweetener. According to the IBA -- the authority on all things alcohol -- the official ratio is 10 parts tequila to 4 parts triple sec/sweetener to 3 parts lime juice though you'll find all sorts of variations on that!

Cadillac Margarita Vs Regular Margarita

Along those lines the classic Margarita is a sour cocktail made with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur. So, you're now wondering what is a Cadillac Margarita, right? Well, a Cadillac Margarita is a premium version -- hence the reference to the most classic of luxury vehicles -- of that same drink.

Not only is top-shelf liqueur used but also golden liquor is used, which is why you sometimes hear it called a Golden Cadillac Margarita. What do we mean by golden? Well, traditionally the golden-colored liqueur Grand Marnier - a brandy-based take on triple sec - is used instead of clear-colored triple sec. Also, the straw-colored reposado tequila, which is aged a minimum of two months in oak barrels -- is used instead of silver (aka blanco aka plata) tequila.

Tips To Make A Perfect Cadillac Margarita Cocktail

Regardless of how you have it there are a few key tips to help you shake up cocktail perfection:

  • Use 100% Agave Tequila: Truth is you're supposed to use reposado tequila in order to call the cocktail a Cadillac. But, if you want to use silver tequila or the more aged, Añejo style, we say go for it. Just pinky promise us that you'll only use 100% agave tequila (check the label to confirm) and to steer clear of the swill that is mixto tequila.
  • Choose A Quality Triple Sec: Just to be 100% clear -- triple sec is not a brand name but rather a style of orange liqueur. It's similar to Curacao liqueur but it tends to be drier and originated in France. While there are plenty of crappy, low grade bottles in your local liquor store labeled "Triple Sec" there are, in fact, high end styles of the liqueur -- like Cointreau or Grand Marnier - that are good enough to drink on their own. As we said before Grand Marnier -- a brandy-based triple sec -- is the de facto liquor for a classic Cadillac margarita.
  • Take The Time To Make The Cracked Ice: Like we said, this cocktail is classically served up and not on ice so feel free to make it that way if you'd like. For our version, we like pebble-sized pieces of ice and we crush it by hand. Yes, it takes some extra effort but it's very much worth it.
  • Use Freshly-Squeezed Lime Juice: We'll say it over and over until we're blue in the face: please only use freshly-squeezed juices in your cocktails. If you're making a big batch of margaritas, you can by all means juice a ton of limes up to one day ahead and have it ready to go -- just please never use the bottled junk!
  • Use Agave Syrup If You'd Like: We like to make our Cadillac Margaritas with one major twist from the classic: by using agave syrup in addition to the triple sec. We do this because we feel that the triple sec on its own can be a lot of orange flavor but you still need a decent amount of sweetener for a balanced cocktails. We take a page from the original agave syrup-based margarita, known as the Tommy's Margarita and created by Julio Bermejo at Tommy's bar in San Francisco in the 1990s, and add a touch of agave syrup to the mix.
    If that's not for you, no sweat. Feel free to leave it out and instead just add more of the triple sec.
  • Salt The Rim With Style: Whether you want your margarita with or without salt? That's 100% your personal choice. But, if you are going to add salt, you have a couple options of how to do it. The most classic way is to put salt on the entire rim, which is done by rubbing the cut-side of a lime against the rim of a cocktail glass and then rolling that in a plate of salt.

    We like half salt meaning that only part of the rim has salt on it. To do that, we rub the cut side of the lime in one specific part of the glass and then dip that section so that, as it sounds, only part of the glass is salted.
    Then, of course, you can mix up the salt as you please! Try different style of salt, be it the flaky Maldon or pink Himalayan salt, or add some flavor to your salt like say some thyme leaves, some chili powder, or dried hibiscus flowers!

Variations On The Cadillac Margarita Cocktail

Once you've shaken up a few Classic Cadillac Margaritas, you may want to mix it up a bit. Here are a few of our favorite twists -- some spicy, others sweet, and some charr-y -- to try out:

Need some inspiration for what to serve with your oh-so perfect Margarita? Take a look at these recipes that are perfect for a Mexican-themed feast!

If you need to up your home bar, check out our bar essentials. Then have fun shaking it up and be sure to share your results with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social! 

Ingredients

  • ice cubes
  • 1 Lime

    thinly sliced (saving the end piece to rub the glass)

  • Maldon sea salt or other flaky sea salt, for garnish
  • 2 1/2 ounces good quality Anejo tequila

    or any other style of 100% agave tequila that you like

  • 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce agave syrup or simple syrup

Instructions

Chill The Cocktail Glass: Prep the cocktail glass by filling it with ice water then set it aside until ready to use.

Make The Crushed Ice: Wrap a handful of ice cubes in a clean kitchen towel or in a ice bag, and, using a rolling pin or mallet, tap on it until all the ice is broken up and crushed into pieces ranging from pea-sized to snowflake sized.

Shake The Margarita: place the tequila, lime juice, agave, and orange liqueur in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well until chilled and frosty, about 15 to 20 seconds.

Serve The Cadillac Margarita: Right before you going to serve the drink, discard the ice water, rub the rim with the end of the lime then dip it in salt, pressing to adhere.

Strain the margarita into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice (with a salted rim, if desired). Garnish with a few slices of the lime and serve.

Footnotes

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