Margarita….classic and all natural

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No drink screams summer and backyard parties any better than that perfect combination of tequila and lime, the margarita.  Oh how I love it.  Margaritas just seem to make people happy and they’re a great way to get a party started.  In fact, my margaritas are so popular that my friends request them……frequently.  I swear I have to make them in big batches.  Honestly I don’t know where these girls put all those margaritas, they must have a hollow leg.

At any rate, this is a very straight-forward recipe that tastes clean and refreshing.  I absolutely hate that sugary artificial tasting mix and the imitation lime juice put into most of the margaritas you find in a restaurant.  There are two key ingredients here.  The first is good tequila.  I prefer a Blanco (silver) tequila and, wait for it……fresh squeezed lime juice.  There’s just no substitution that works for the lime juice in my opinion.

These margaritas are so popular in fact that I’m working on a homemade non-alcoholic version of triple sec.  It would cut down on the alcohol content without compromising flavor.  Translation for those of you that aren’t paying attention – you can drink more!  I’m close to perfecting it so margarita lovers stay tuned.

Cheers!!!

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Margarita....classic and all natural
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This recipe makes a blender full of the most delicious, clean and fresh margaritas you've tasted! These are not frozen margaritas, they're meant to be served on the rocks or straight out of the blender into a glass. Be prepared to make several batches, they go quick!
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 cups of ice
  • 1 cup silver tequila (I use Cuervo 1800 Blanco)
  • ½ cup Cointreau (or Triple Sec)
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Kosher salt to line the rims of the glasses (optional)
  • Sugar to line the rims of the glasses (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put the ice in a blender.
  2. Add the tequila, triple sec and lime juice.
  3. Blend until the ice is completely crushed.
  4. Serve in glasses lined with Kosher salt or sugar.

 

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Strawberry Champagne Punch

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This delicious punch will be a real hit at your backyard party.  I’ve also served it during the Holidays as it’s a beautiful festive color.  The mixture of the champagne and the carbonation of the ginger ale give it a nice bubbly texture and it’s just the right balance of sweetness.  The frozen berries act as ice cubes and are really yummy to eat after they’ve soaked up the punch.  And ladies, it’s a low calorie, guilt free cocktail so drink up!

Now, lets talk ginger ale for a moment.  If you live in Michigan you know about Vernors.  It is an absolutely delicious, super carbonated ginger ale.  It was first served to the public in 1866.  There’s quite a history behind this refreshing beverage as well.  It was created by a highly respected Detroit pharmacist named James Vernor.  Mr. Vernor also ran a soda shop.  He had been working on a medical tonic of vanilla, spices and ginger to calm the stomach.  He had it stored in an oak cask when he was sent to fight in the Civil War in 1862.  When he returned from the war and opened the cask he was amazed at the delicious flavor of the drink that had been enhanced by the oak’s aging process.  Vernor began serving it in his soda shop and as demand grew for the product, it  began being served throughout the Midwest.  A plant was opened in Detroit so that Vernors could be mass produced.  Vernors was growing as the city of Detroit grew.  A large sign with the company’s logo was placed on the Detroit River in the 1940’s where the ferries passed by taking passengers to Windsor, Bob-lo Island and Belle Isle.  A shop opened on the Detroit River where customers could watch Vernors being produced while they enjoyed drinking the soda.

Vernors has long been used as a stomach ache cure given its high carbonation and ginger flavor.  It has even been mixed with fresh lemon juice and served warm as a cough and sore throat relief.

The Boston cooler is a dessert drink made with Vernors and named after a boulevard in Detroit where it was reportedly first served.  It is made by placing scoops of vanilla ice cream into a tall glass and pouring Vernors over the ice cream.

Vernors remains very popular in Michigan and surrounding areas today.  So much so in fact that I’ve known family and friends who have moved away and still have Vernors shipped to them to satisfy their craving for this delightful and unique soda.

Recently, Michigan 7-11 stores have even created a Vernors Slurpee!  I hear it’s delicious.  Oh thank Heaven for 7-11 keeping this delicious soda’s popularity alive and well.

(Information gathered from the Detroit Historical Society’s website at http://detroithistorical.org/learn/encyclopedia-of-detroit/vernors-ginger-ale)

Strawberry Champagne Punch
 
Author:
Recipe type: Punch Cocktail
Cuisine: Beverage
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 750 ml bottle of Moscato champagne
  • 2 liter bottle of Diet Vernors (or other brand of diet ginger ale)
  • 2 10 oz bags of frozen strawberries (or mixed berries)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a punch bowl and mix well.

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A lime shortage, say it’s not so!!!

 

limes.weddingWhat is with the ridiculous price of limes?  Well, apparently, there’s a lime shortage in the US.  I’m panicked, it’s my very favorite citrus fruit.  I mean, it has so many uses; fish marinade, vinaigrettes, guacamole, flavoring for water and club soda, squeezed on top of my taco and of course, that sweet elixir of life…the Margarita!!!  I mean, lime juice and tequila is as magical a combination as peanut butter and jelly!

Apparently Mexico, the leading producer of limes to the US, has had some flooding due to winter storms.  They have also had a tree disease.  Both of these events have compromised the lime crops.  So with limited production, the price of limes has risen considerably.  Now, limes are in demand in the US and Mexico and the Mexican drug cartel has been hijacking lime trucks at the border.

So, with Cinco de Mayo just days away we will not only celebrate Mexican heritage but also the fact that, if you’re lucky, you’re drinking a Margarita made with fresh squeezed lime juice, not lemon juice!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI truly do love Margaritas.  But I love the good ones, the natural ones with fresh squeezed lime juice, hold the sugary mix PLEASE!!  The photo above is from my wedding.  After the rehearsal dinner my bridesmaids, my Mom and myself juiced limes for a really long time.  The morning of my wedding I made 40 quarts of homemade Margaritas.  We served them during cocktail hour in the ice sculpted lime bowl shown in the picture.  They definitely got the party started!!

I even decorated with limes at the wedding, hundreds of them.

 

Water infused with cucumber, citrus and fresh fruit…so natural

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I am done adding drinks and juices with artificial ingredients and sweeteners to my water for flavor.  I always drink water but have gotten into the habbit of adding a splash of juice, flavored drink, powdered packet mix and the like to my water for a bit of flavor.  No more!  This water flavored with sliced cucumber, lemon and strawberries is natural, calorie free, refreshing and so delicious.  I let the ingredients infuse into the water in a pitcher and just keep it in the refrigerator.  If refrigerated, the ingredients will stay fresh and continue to flavor the water for several days.  The ingredients will eventually fall to the bottom of the pitcher.  It’s great with meals and to just drink throughout the day…and with no guilt.  I take it to work in a travel water bottle.

Try experimenting with other citrus and fruits.  Orange and lime slices as well as raspberries also work great.  I always put the cucumber in though, it’s a really nice flavor in the water and really economical.  Fresh mint is also a great addition to this water.

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