As most devoted margarita fans know, the ‘secret’ ingredient to a truly great margarita is beer. In the so called beergarita the beer provides an excellent sprightly backdrop to the sweet and sour flavors of the classic cocktail.
I am definitely a savory over sweet type of person. I’d order another appetizer over desert 95% of the time. This carries over to cocktails and wine. It’s dirty martini over Cosmo. Grüner Veltliner over Riesling. Classic margarita with salt on the rocks over strawberry/mango/you name it frozen margarita. And you already know about me and beer.
This is no ordinary beergarita.
I learned about how indispensable beer is to margaritas in my early twenties, under some very pleasant circumstances. Since then the knowledge has served me and those around me quite well:)
It was at a friend’s summer/garden party. One of the guests was a spirited, beautiful Mexican woman. A celebrity chef from Mexico City as it turned out. She had brought the best guacamole I have ever tasted – it was in a giant bowl with no less than a dozen avocado seeds to keep it fresh. It barely lasted the first hour after her arrival. Perfectly flavored, vibrant looking and matched only by the sparkling pitchers of margarita she concocted every hour or so in response to the enthusiastic requests of the other guests.
These are the things I learned from her (with gratitude) on the subject of margaritas.
Never use pre-made sour mixes, use only freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice. Always make your own simple syrup. Use a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice in addition to Grand Marnier or triple sec. Most importantly, always add a bottle of light beer to every pitcher of margarita you make.
Makes perfect sense about beer and tequila together, doesn’t it? Beer being the typical chaser for tequila shots?
About this Session IPA beergarita. It is definitely a twist on the classic margarita and definitely one worth trying. More than that actually. It is a must try, I promise.
I used a silver tequila, freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice, simple syrup and beer. But not just any light beer. The Ellicottville Brewing Co. 2 Brothers Session IPA is packed full of American hop flavor and aromas and has an ABV of only 4.7%. With a beer this fragrant I completely omitted the triple sec and splash of orange juice.
Session IPAs are crisp and citrusy with low alcohol content. At the same time they are high in hoppy satisfaction. People often refer to them as full flavor, aromatic IPAs that can be enjoyed over longer periods of time (as in will not cause rapid intoxication). Their beautiful aromas are well suited to the sharp flavors of fresh citrus juice and their color, much deeper than that of lagers, adds aesthetic appeal.
The precise origin of session beer in general is as convoluted as that of the margarita cocktail. No one is sure exactly how either one came to be. It is however commonly cited that session beer was first brewed in pre-WWI England as a flavorful but low alcohol alternative to pale ale. It was supposed to be consumed by factory workers as a refreshing drink during their work breaks called ‘sessions’. If this is true, sounds like the working conditions back then were not too terrible…
To create an even more noticeable pop of flavors I used our Cascade hops infused salt for the glass rim (perfect, perfect, perfect) and lime and jalapeno flavored ice cubes. I did remove the seeds and ribs from the thinly sliced jalapenos since I was going for just a hint of spiciness.
The best part was that Chris had two of these fragrant beergaritas! Talking about living la vida loca! This is unprecedented:) He is not much of a cocktails fan and rarely drinks margaritas – maybe once every three to four years… I am pretty sure that the Session IPA earned me half the credit, but I will take the credit anyways.
Recipe for Session IPA Beergarita
- 8 oz silver tequila
- 2 12 oz bottles Session IPA
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup water + more to make ice cubes
- 2 limes (juice of)
- 1 lemon (juice of)
- hop salt for garnish
- 1 jalapeno, sliced very thin, seeds and ribs removed, for garnish
- ¼ lime, sliced very thin, for garnish
- In advance: Fill an ice-cube tray with water. In each slot place a thin cross-section slice of jalapeno and/or lime. Freeze.
- In advance: Bring the water to simmer, add the sugar and remove from heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and let cool.
- In a pitcher mix the tequila, beer, lime and lemon juice, and the cooled simple syrup. Add the lemon and lime halves for extra flavor if you wish.
- Pour hop infused salt in a shallow dish/plate. Moisten the rim of each glass with a lime wedge and dip into hop salt.
- Place 4-5 ice cubes in a glass (use more if you prefer a weaker drink).
- Fill glass with beergarita.