Barbarita. A Margarita that can’t be beat.
Take the basics and experiment with proportions and processes to produce the perfect tequila-spiked limonade, née ‘Margarita’.
Fresh limes or lemons. (I use the seedless bearss lime.)
Good tequila like Cuervo Tradicional, or rotgut like Cuervo Gold.
Ice. Blender. Thirst.
Overview. Making a Barbarita.
Prep your glassware. Fill a wide plate with lemon juice, ¼” deep. Fill another wide plate with Jamaica salt. Dip the glass rim into the lemon, shake off excess without striking nearby objects. Place wetted rim into salt and let sit for un ratito. Repeat until you get the salting you want. Set the prepped glasses out of the way, on the serving tray.
Make sure the blender jar is clean and holds liquid.
The Barbarita base contains twice the Tequila to the two liqueurs. There is twice the Triple sec to Cointreau. In a Mrs. Hubbard moment, you can do without the Cointreau or the Triple sec, but one or the other is de rigueur.
1 cup Tequila
1/8 cup or more Cointreau
3/8 cup or less Triple Sec
2 cups crushed ice
Well in advance:
In a blender or Cusineart, whiz a tight handful of Jamaica leaves. You want the leaves and stems broken down to powder and tiny bits. Add a cup of sugar and blend for a few seconds. Reserve dry in a sealed jar.
Prepare some table salt with pulverized Jamaica, then mix in some kosher or sea salt. Reserve dry in a sealed jar, use to salt the glasses.
Day or so before:
Squeeze limes or lemons a day or two ahead, or not. Mix Jamaica sugar with lemon juice in a pitcher, a half cup of sugar to a quart of limón; adjust to taste. This keeps for a day or so. You want the dry Jamaica to soak up liquid, swell and impart its color and bitterness to the beverage.
Prepare a pitcher of alcoholic mixture. Keeps in the reefer for weeks.
Mix your above a day ahead, too. Add equal measures alcol and limonade and adjust to taste. Stores a day or two.
The Hospitality Moment:
When you’re ready to serve Barbaritas, add ice to the blender. Add twice the measure of ice to liquid. Experiment with your blender. I add ice cubes to above the 32 oz line, then add Barbarita mix below 16 oz then whiz until I have a slush, adding ice until the slush holds its shape when poured into a prepared glass.
The lip smacking finishing touch of the Barbarita is a Tuaca float. A stiffer icy slush lets the Tuaca sit on its own, in front of the limonade, giving lips a bright surprise with each sip.
Tiny bits of Jamaica come with a sip. Chew them, spit them out, or eat them. Enjoy the experience.
Option 1, the quick and dirty method, no flotsam.
Steep Jamaica leaves in a quantity of Tequila for an hour (the no-love method) or days (mejor). The more it steeps, the more distinctively flavored the Barbarita. Use plain sugar to deprive guests of the pleasure of spitting out bits of plant material.