This post was made in partnership with Tequila Cazadores. Recipes and ideas are my own.
We have a tangelo tree in our backyard. It’s the only citrus tree that has not succumbed to years of neglect in the jungle outside our backdoor; it is tenacious to say the least. This year, after finally cutting back the honeysuckle that was blocking most of the sunlight from hitting its leaves, it produced an insane amount of fruit. Smaller than what we’ve got in years past, but abundant. It’s not a fruit I like to sit and just eat, so I make things like Tangelo-cello out of it, or use it in syrups, or just put in a box marked “free” in my driveway and pass on the burden to my neighbors.
Last month I wrote about making squash, a syrup whose liquid content is comprised primarily of juice, for Simply Recipes. And that got me thinking about juice content in Margaritas. Now, a straight up Margarita with just enough lime juice is a beautiful thing, but sometimes I like to change it up with flavors. My biggest pet peeve though in restaurants and bars is when they up charge you for a fancy Margarita in a big ass glass and what you realize you’ve gotten is mostly orange juice with a teeny tiny amount of tequila in it. Blarg!
What I wanted to do here is recreate some of those sweet and flavorful citrus notes without watering down my Margarita to the point of making it a breakfast drink. That’s when I thought that a squash syrup might work in this case. And then I could celebrate National Margarita Day on February 22 with a big batch of these! Oh yeah, it’s that wonderful time of the year already!
As many of you know, we partnered with Tequila Cazadores, an authentic Mexican tequila brand, last year because we have been big fans of this tequila for years and love their commitment to sustainability and ethical business practices. We’re using their Blanco expression here for this Margarita, made with 100% blue agave, because of its clean taste and soft finish. It doesn’t fight with the other ingredients, but also doesn’t get lost in the flavors. It’s just a straight up delicious tequila.
Like I mentioned above, a squash uses a high ratio of juice to water in making a syrup. So, you can do 4:1 juice to water, or 1:1 juice to sugar with no water, something like that. Then you either shake it up until the sugar dissolves (cold process), or warm your mixture until the sugar dissolves (hot process). Today I went a step further and reduced the syrup down almost by half to get a thick, viscous syrup to use in drinks. By doing this, it’s the consistency of a rich syrup, and there are deep, caramelized citrus flavors while still also tasting tangy and bright.
I am using mixed citrus here since I also had a delivery of Meyer lemons from my grandparents I did not want to let go to waste. Honestly, any mix of lemons, oranges, or other citrus could be used here so feel free to experiment.
When used in this Margarita, the drink is sweet, tart, with sharp caramelized flavors from the Meyer lemon and Tangelo squash syrup. Subtle agave and grassy flavors from the Tequila Cazadores Blanco contrast with the floral hints from the lime. There is a juiciness to the flavor without tasting watered down, and a nice mouth feel from the viscosity of the syrup.
Mixed Citrus Margarita
2 ounces Tequila Cazadores Blanco
1 ounce Tangelo-Meyer Lemon Squash (see recipe below)
1/4 ounce lime juice
small pinch kosher salt
In a shaker filled 2/3 with ice, add in the Tequila Cazadores Blanco, Tangelo-Meyer Lemon Squash syrup, lime juice and small pinch of salt. Shake well 20 seconds and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Serve with a tangelo wheel.
Tangelo-Meyer Lemon Squash
1/2 cup freshly squeezed tangelo juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine both fruit juices, water, and sugar. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once a boil is reached, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until syrup reduces by half. Depending on your stove, that can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature when finished and either use right away, or store in an airtight container in the fridge up to one month.