What You Need For The Perfect Margarita, According To Tony Abou-Ganim - Exclusive

It's no surprise that the margarita was America's best-selling cocktail in 2023, as it has been many times before, according to a report by CGA by NielsenIQ. When made well, a margarita stimulates four of the five major flavors you taste on your tongue: sweet from the agave or simple syrup, bitter from the tequila, sour from the lime juice, and salty from the salted rim of the glass. Sharp and refreshing, it takes you on a wild ride of invigorating taste. For advice on how to make a perfect margarita, Food Republic spoke with author and leading bar professional, Tony Abou-Ganim, at the Nassau Paradise Island Wine and Food Fest's Jerk Jam about what goes into his ideal version.

Despite the dozens and dozens of flavors and variations that exist, from spicy margaritas to strawberry ones, Abou-Ganim is ultimately a purist. "I like lemon and lime," he said, adding that his perfect version includes "Fresh, hand-extracted lime juice, fresh pressed lemon juice, agave nectar, Cointreau always, and I lean towards Blanco, [one] hundred percent agave tequila. If it's a good tequila, it's going to work great in a margarita." The only deviation from the classic recipe here is the lemon juice, as the most basic margs use just lime. Abou-Ganim's version is undoubtedly for citrus lovers and those who prefer to enjoy a quality tequila.

A cocktail that never goes out of style

There are several theories regarding the margarita's origin story, so it's difficult to know exactly when and where it came about, but there's no doubt that it's an absolutely timeless cocktail. While perfect when made the classic way, which Tony Abou-Ganim prefers, this classic drink is also incredibly versatile. The most simple tweaks are to serve it on the rocks or blended with ice, but both pro and home bartenders around the world enjoy throwing in fruits like pineapple, strawberries, mangos, and watermelon. Herbs like basil or mint are more understated yet flavorful additions, and in the aforementioned spicy marg, red chiles complement the zesty lime and slight burn of the tequila.

A salted rim on your margarita glass isn't a requirement, but it serves an important role in your enjoyment of the drink. The salt neutralizes more bitter flavors, softening the bite of the lime juice and tequila, while also enhancing the sweet and sour flavors for a pleasant and smooth drinking experience. Abou-Ganim's recommendation of fresh lime juice also beats the pre-squeezed stuff (or instant marg mix!) every time. To have some on hand for whenever the craving hits you, juice leftover limes into an ice cube tray and freeze. Thaw some out for a classic marg, or toss them into your blender if you like your cocktail frozen.