The goal is to craft the ultimate Margarita … not find the best tasting tequila. Therefore, we followed the suggestion first seen on The Goodist, and created a taste test to showcase tequilas in a standard Margarita recipe.
The classic Margarita recipe was just too tart for the family members that were tasked to sample some of the preliminary mixes. The classic margarita recipe has a proportion of 3:2:1
- 3 parts, tequila
- 2 parts, lime juice
- 1 part, orange liqueur
The Goodist suggested a “tequila forward” recipe of 4:1:1, but that was similarly unacceptable to our palates. We settled on a 6:5:4 recipe, as follows:
- 1-1/2 oz, tequila
- 1-1/4 oz, margarita mix
- 1 oz, Grand Marnier
Further, we decided that we would not put ice in the samples, as that would dilute the recipe based on when the sample was drunk. Therefore, we addded a cup of water to the Margarita Mix recipe, (hopefully) simulating the melting of ice. Hey, it’s our taste test; we made up the rules.
We then had to choose 13 tequilas to go into the final test. In the weeks leading up to the first big taste test, we had “pre-gamed” with almost all of the tequilas, and there were already strong opinions on those that just wouldn’t do. Therefore, we excluded 3 tequilas from the first formal tasting. Excluded:
- Jose Cuervo Gold … In our first preliminary and blind taste test with 4 tequilas, all 4 judges rated this tequila the worst sampled. “It tasted like fish.” I advocated keeping this in, as it is the # 1 selling tequila in the world, but I was overuled. Excluded.
- Pueblo Viejo Reposado … A relatively inexpensive reposado, it also didn’t make it out of the preliminary tastings. Cheap, but no good.
- Reserva del Maestro Dobel Diamond Reposado … an expensive artisan tequila that had a too bright, perhaps over-filtered flavor. I’m not a brewmaster, but I’ll tell you this tequila tasted awful. I bought it at BevMo, where another tequila buyer commented on what a lovely bottle the tequila came in; that’s true. They should have invested in the product, not the packaging, IMHO.
The 13 remaining tequilas were all mixed about 3 hours before the taste test, and refrigerated until they were poured into the tasting cups.
When the tasting began, the 11 judges were seated around the dining room table. Everyone had water to drink, as well as access to tortilla chips (salt!) and guacamole.
The results? I was surprised.