PDA

View Full Version : In a margarita, are you supposed to taste the alcohol?


amaguri
04-01-2015, 11:06 AM
I don't drink, so I have no context here. I made margaritas for a friend and he said he couldn't taste the alcohol (but after finishing the drink, he definitely FELT the alcohol!) I used what I thought to be standard margarita ingredients, made my own sour mix, etc.

Is that a sign of a good or bad margarita?

Ethilrist
04-01-2015, 11:10 AM
Depends on whether you want to enjoy the margarita taste, sip it slowly to keep cool, or get hammered. Back when I was homebrewing, I made a 13% alcohol cyser (mead made using apple juice instead of water). Tasted like apple juice. I had three of them in about an hour and a half and ended up drunker than I even like to think about.

Procrustus
04-01-2015, 11:10 AM
I usually can taste tequila in good margaritas. It shouldn't be overpowering.

Master Wang-Ka
04-01-2015, 11:14 AM
Speaking as a former bartender:
If it's a man, he wants a strong margarita. Should be detectable but not overpowering.
If it's a woman, err on the safe side; use a little extra lemon and salt, or cut the tequila a bit.

Works both ways, really. Although if the individual is a hard drinking sort of either gender, just go nuts; they'll thank you for it.

Omar Little
04-01-2015, 11:19 AM
Tequila isn't a very strong tasting alcohol to begin with, IMHO. But that may be because of my alcohol consumption it's about 75% tequila.

lieu
04-01-2015, 11:46 AM
If your friend got a little buzzed when he couldn't taste it, imagine how snockered he may have been if it had enough tequila in there to dominate the strong, sweet citrus flavors. And that's usually not preferable, to reach your limit after just one drink.

You did good.

scabpicker
04-01-2015, 12:05 PM
Tequila isn't a very strong tasting alcohol to begin with, IMHO. But that may be because of my alcohol consumption it's about 75% tequila.

IME, even cheap ass tequila is smooth compared to rotgut whiskey, even though I drink more whiskey than tequila, these days.

I think when you have any style of margarita, you should know there's some tequila in there, at least a twinge of alcohol hotness, all the way up to approaching the sensation of a neat scotch is acceptable.

Even better, since you're mixing it, use a smoky mezcal. :)

pulykamell
04-01-2015, 12:14 PM
Tequila isn't a very strong tasting alcohol to begin with, IMHO. But that may be because of my alcohol consumption it's about 75% tequila.

Huh. I would have said tequila is one of the more distinctive alcohols out there. I can taste it a mile away. That said, I typically want my alcoholic drinks to, well, taste like they have alcohol in them.

Labdad
04-01-2015, 12:16 PM
I don't use any sour mix at all in my preferred tequila cocktail - just two parts good tequila, 1/2 part Cointreau, and 1/2 part sweetened lime juice (equal parts fresh squeezed lime juice and agave nectar). Shaken cold and served straight up in a martini glass with a wedge of lime. Even in that drink you barely taste any alcohol, but I always use a good reposado tequila.

For Margaritas mixed in a pitcher and served with tacos or fajitas, etc., it's 3 parts sweet sour mix, 1 1/2 parts tequila (not necessarily reposado, but always good agave tequila), 1/2 part triple sec and 1/2 part Rose's lime juice. You really don't taste alcohol in that drink, either. Decent tequila generally isn't more than 80 proof, so you're not going to get the alcohol taste you do with 90 or 100 proof liquors.

lieu
04-01-2015, 12:16 PM
Even better, since you're mixing it, use a smoky mezcal. :)Is mezcal smoky by definition?

I used a jalapeno tequila recently for margaritas. While I wouldn't want it that way every time, they were delicious and you definately could taste that tequila.

Anaamika
04-01-2015, 12:38 PM
I don't want to taste the alcohol. I just want a tasty drink with a little buzz in it.

pulykamell
04-01-2015, 12:44 PM
I don't want to taste the alcohol. I just want a tasty drink with a little buzz in it.

And that pretty much sums it up. Some people want to taste the alcohol; others don't. So there's no objective measure as to whether the margarita was good or not. If it's what the person wanted, you've succeeded.

Dallas Jones
04-01-2015, 12:47 PM
Yes, you should be able to taste the Tequila. It is one component of the whole drink.

Is the taste of Tequila over-powering the other flavors? That's too much.

Is the taste of Tequila absent? That is too little.

Just like a good dish you cook, if all you can taste is the garlic then you have over added garlic. If you can't taste any you haven't added enough. And like a good dish, don't spoil it by making it muddy, no more than 5 distinct flavors so you can taste a little of each with every sip or bite.

GargoyleWB
04-01-2015, 01:16 PM
Do we mean taste the "alcohol" or the particular liquor variety? I don't think I could taste alcohol as an individual element even drinking tequila straight out of the bottle. Or are we talking about masking the tequila taste instead?

DrCube
04-01-2015, 03:25 PM
Personally, I feel like the liquor is part of the flavor of a cocktail, and should be prominent. Or else, why use that liquor in the first place? If people didn't want to taste tequila in their margarita, they'd just use cheap vodka or a small quantity of everclear.

On the other hand, some people hate alcohol and that's why they're drinking cocktails in the first place instead of straight whisky or rum or gin.

On the third hand, cocktails were invented to mask the taste of bad liquor, so I wouldn't use the best stuff or expect anyone to note all the nuances of the liquor's flavor when drinking it mixed. So I usually mix drinks for people strong enough to know there's alcohol in it, but not so strong as to be overpowering. If I get feedback, then I adjust the strength up or down.

scabpicker
04-01-2015, 08:29 PM
Is mezcal smoky by definition?


Yes. Like scotch, it varies, but it usually has a smoky element to its flavor.

silenus
04-01-2015, 09:01 PM
Do we mean taste the "alcohol" or the particular liquor variety? I don't think I could taste alcohol as an individual element even drinking tequila straight out of the bottle. Or are we talking about masking the tequila taste instead?

This. In a good margarita I surely want the taste of tequila. Not necessarily the heat of the alcohol, but I want to taste the plant.

Ukulele Ike
04-01-2015, 09:55 PM
The primary component of any cocktail (as opposed to a highball or other alcoholic concoction) is booze. So, yeah, you should be able to taste the booze.

Labdad
04-02-2015, 01:48 PM
I my post above, with EVERY tequila drink I make, you taste the tequila! That's why I use good tequila. I thought when the OP said "alcohol," he/she meant it literally, the way you taste alcohol in 151 proof rum, or even 101 proof whiskey.

stillownedbysetters
04-02-2015, 05:55 PM
Good tequila is wonderful. I'd be heinously disappointed if I couldn't taste a bit of it in my margie.

typoink
04-02-2015, 06:32 PM
I my post above, with EVERY tequila drink I make, you taste the tequila! That's why I use good tequila. I thought when the OP said "alcohol," he/she meant it literally, the way you taste alcohol in 151 proof rum, or even 101 proof whiskey.

This was how I read it as well. I think it's fair to say that, for a margarita, you should be able to taste the flavor of the tequila but not really notice the flavor of the alcohol. This is true for a lot of classic drinks, I think. With a few exceptions (martinis and many vodka drinks), the idea is usually that you taste the flavor of the spirit but dilute it enough that the alcohol doesn't really jump out at you.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.