To celebrate National Margarita Day (Sunday, February 22), we’re sharing a trio of recipes featuring the fruity-tart pop of our Crangerine or Pineapple Basil Shrub. (You can substitute any of our shrub flavors for variations.) In all three cases, we are sticking to the classic and classy margarita. No day-glow colors, slush, or chemical-laden mixers allowed. Just natural ingredients in the right proportions.
On the sinful side, anyone with a taste for tequila can choose Recipe #1. If you avoid alcohol altogether but still want something festive to enjoy with chips and guacamole, Recipe #3 should fit the bill. And if you fall somewhere in between — say you’ve already had a few full-strength ‘Ritas and you want to lighten up, or you just want to cut back on the calories and booze from the git-go — Recipe #2 is for you.
Recipe #1: Sinful Shrub Margarita
This recipe has the highest alcohol content, hence earning the “sinful” badge. But it is also sinfully delicious: a wonderful balance of sweet, tart, smoky and fruity. We’re partial to on-the-rocks treatments, and also to a delicate dusting – not a crust – of natural sea salt on the rim of the glass.
- Medium-grind sea salt (Atlantic Saltworks, Marblehead Salt Co.) – optional
- 2 ounces Tequila
- 1 ounce Triple Sec (Cointreau preferred)
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (save the lime wedge if you want to rim your glass with salt
- 0.5 ounce Spiker’s Shrub (we recommend Crangerine or Pineapple Basil for the most classic flavor profile, but have fun experimenting with our other flavors as well)
- Ice (2-3 cubes per drink)
- If desired, rub the rim of a chilled glass with a lime wedge and dip the glass lightly in natural sea salt. Wait 5 minutes or so to give the salt a chance to properly adhere to the rim.
- Place the remaining ingredients in a shaker and give 35-50 vigorous shakes. Pour gently into the glass.
Recipe #2: Slightly Sinful Shrub Margarita (or perhaps Slightly Saintly?)
You can trim the alcohol content of your margarita somewhat by eliminating the Triple Sec/Cointreau, and increasing the amount of Spiker’s Shrub from 0.5 ounce to 1.5 ounces. Simple!
Recipe #3: Saintly Shrub Margarita
As with all mocktails, the big challenge lies in giving the drink a sophisticated layer of flavors. We don’t believe in calling something a “mocktail” when it’s really nothing more than a glorified punch loaded with sugary juices.
So in this case, our goal was to find a way to emulate some of the flavor notes of tequila: floral, smoky, spicy. For this, we turned to the exotic Lapsang Souchong tea. Look for the best quality you can find. Lapsang Souchong has flavor notes evocative of pine smoke, whiskey, and lychees. For a tad of pleasing back-of-the-throat warmth, a tiny pinch of cinnamon adds a perfect accent.
Finally, don’t forget the bitters! Although most bitters do contain somewhere around 40% alcohol by volume, the drop or two you’d use in a drink is so scant that it is classified as a non-alcoholic food ingredient. You’ll have to shop around to find good bitters. Many liquor stores put the bottles on the lowest shelf they can find — one notch lower and they’d be in the basement. We found our Hella Bitters on a top shelf at Shubie’s Market in Marblehead…right next to our shrubs. Classy!