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Making margaritas - life in the home chem lab

At Thanksgiving we went to Distrito, a Mexican tapas restaurant in Philadelphia (which was quite good) and had margaritas. We decided we should try making them. rsc bought some Tequila the other day and tonight was the night. I looked up recipes and found several - tequila, lime juice, and Triple Sec -- even parts of each or various combinations of 3-2-1. Cointreau was a documented substitute.

I had gotten some limes and we had some old ones so I squeezed them and a new one which had decidedly more juice into the little citrus squeezer that isn't calibrated. So I poured what I got into a small liqueur shot-like glass. Not knowing how big it was I took another one and filled with the same amount of water and poured it into a 1/4 cup measuring cup. It was full and since rsc said that 1/4 cup was two ounces that seemed like the right amount.

Not having a cocktail shaker I decided to use a jam jar as the cocktail shaker (it was clean). Robert added the tequila from our brand new bottle of José Cuervo, struggling a bit to open it - a little more than 2 ounces.

We had no Triple Sec, nor Cointreau but did have some Grand Marnier. It was quite old. I noticed a piece of cork in the bottle but there was an intact replacement cork in the bottle. That is it was intact until I tried to get it out. It broke at the bottle top. I tried a corkscrew but the cork was so dried out that the the corkscrew pulled out with a few pieces of cork. More attempts with the corkscrew and a knife finally made it's way through but there were lots of cork bits floating in the Grand Marnier as well as some stuck to the inside of the bottle neck. I poured the Grand Marnier through a fairly fine strainer into a measuring cup which was almost large enough. The strainer took out most of the cork bits but there was a little bits left. I then strained into another measuring cup using a paper towel as a sieve which worked pretty well except for the Grand Marnier that spilled on the bread cutting board. I used a spoon to remove the last bits of cork from the measuring cup. I poured some into the shot glass and then poured that into the jam jar. The leftover Grand Marnier was placed in an empty Wheat Germ Jar (a small one that was large enough in spite of a certain person claiming that it was too small). During this whole process there was a fair amount of ambient noise with questions such as "why are there paper towels in the sink?"

I put the jam jar (with lid) in a measuring cup with some water and ice cubes to cool down while hors d'œuvres were made. Robert did that while I cleaned up a bit of spilled Grand Marnier from the counter and the floor.

We didn't use salt on the rims of the glasses. This is probably just as well since there would probably be salt everywhere including spilled into the drinks. I did notice a margarita salt kit in the store the other day along with margarita mix that had no lime juice but did have citrus flavoring in it; I bought neither of these.

The margaritas were quite good. And next time it will be much easier.

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It's possible that we should invest in a cocktail shaker. (Which we would hardly ever use.)

But but but...

Were the margaritas on ice or not?????

Geez, some people leave the most important things out.

You might have extrapolated from the step of putting the jam jar full of margaritas into a measuring cup with ice (and, unnecessarily,liquid water), the idea being to have the drinks cold without having to dilute them.

So that's what you were trying to do. Huh. Not how I would have gone about it.

But one approach, I suppose. :-)

Me neither, probably. John was going to put the jar in the freezer, but I didn't think that would be good enough for the short time before we were going to be ready to drink the stuff. So he went with this other plan, pretty much before I could stop him. (That happens a lot around here.)

Grand Marnier so old the cork dried out? Jam jar instead of cocktail shaker? No salt? You guys clearly don't have enough vices.

s/enough/the right/?

At some point in the distant past, we stopped doing after-dinner drinks (not that we did them often before that), except on the rare occasions when a guest wanted one. So we haven't had much occasion to open the Grand Marnier recently.

When rinsing out the bottle this morning, I could not get the last remnant of cork out. I guess we'll let the recyclers deal with it.

I would like to go on record as saying that EVERYONE should have a home chemistry set.

[of course, I have four entire chemistry laboratories of my own, with loads o'glassware and toys to stock them]

but EVERYone needs more chemistry in their life.

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