Published Nov 9, 2008

One of the benefits of living in California is the year-round summer. That means every day is a great day for a Margarita, and, with a lemon tree in our backyard, that means homemade sour mix for those Margaritas!

First step is to make the sour mix. You can use lemons, limes, or a mix of both, although limes alone are often too sweet. Since we’ve got that tree, lemons were the obvious choice. Mix an equal quantity, in cups, of lemon juice and sugar, then heat that over a flame, delicately, so that the sugar dissolves in the lemon juice. Stir periodically and you’ll get a nice, clear, and remarkably yellow-green liquid. Leave that to cool in the fridge overnight.

Get your sour, a good tequila — not really a sipping tequila, but, please, something better than your stock Cuervo — and some triple sec or other orange liqueur of your choice. Pour a tiny bit of the sour mix onto a plate and a coarse salt, such as kosher, onto another.

Dip the rim of your glass into the sour mix, then into the salt — get a nice rim.

Fill that glass with ice — it’ll make it seem more like what you get in a bar or restaurant, and they don’t just do it because ice = profit; the coldness makes the drink taste good and, as the ice melts, the bruising helps you finish it. Then pour in a good two ounces of tequila, and fill almost to the top with your sour. Try it — with your smooth, delicious homemade sour, and a slightly higher-quality tequila, you might not need the triple sec, which really just serves to smooth out the harsh edges.1 Make another for later, and then another for a friend!

1 It does this for any drink, so try it!


I wonder, if you got the zest off your citrus (cleaned first, obviously) in large strips, that could be fished out after cooking, if they might not add something to the overall quality of the sour mix?

Christa once made candied lemon peels, and the lemon-peel syrup that was left after the cooking process (you boil them in syrup for quite a while, and then you pack them in sugar and replace the sugar periodically as it draws out the water) was tasty in its own right. The “used” sugar was also fine for making lemonade.

Hmm, that sounds great! I might just have do do that.