Everyone has that drink they crave when the weather gets warmer. Eric (along with most of his family) loves his gin and tonics. For me, it’s pretty much anything with tequila in it. I used Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to purchase a bottle to make some margaritas (not that one needs a reason to make a margarita).
Now, I’m not typically a fan of flavored margs… ones that hide the flavor of the tequila. In fact, I am fine with drinking it straight with a squeeze of lime and a splash of tonic. But, hey, I had to get festive and that meant trying something a little different.
The difference between this watermelon margarita and the ones you find at most “Mexican” restaurants is that this recipe calls for fresh watermelon puree. Don’t be turned off by this step, because it’s the simplest thing in the world. Cut the watermelon into cubes, put it in a blender, and puree it up!
Instead of being overly sweet, I was able to taste all of the different components of the beverage. The pairing of the watermelon with the lime juice also adds to the experience, as it mellows the sweetness of the fruit. And without the lime juice, the watermelon would overpower the tequila. And that would be a travesty, right?
Hope you all enjoy this one! Bottoms up!
(from Emeril Lagasse’s Emeril Live)
Yields 1 (or two, depending on how big your glasses are)
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 lime wedge
1 cup watermelon puree (*see Cook’s Note)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup premium 100 percent agave tequila
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier or triple sec)
1 cup ice
In a medium saucepan, combine the lime zest, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature and strain out the zest. (Can be made in advance; keep in a covered container in the refrigerator.)
Chill a margarita glass in the freezer for 30 minutes. Place the coarse salt in a shallow dish or saucer. Wet the rim of the glass with a lime wedge and dip the glass into the salt, coating the top edge.
In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 tablespoons of the cooled lime syrup with the watermelon puree, lime juice, tequila, orange-flavored liqueur, and ice. Shake until frothy and well chilled, at least 1 minute. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
*Cook’s Note: To make the watermelon puree, remove seeds from fresh watermelon and cut into large chunks. Place in a blender and process until smooth and well pureed.