For Nathan and I, margaritas are very much
an every day a year round beverage. During the winter, a margarita brightens a dreary day with hints of summer and during the summer, the margarita is a light and refreshing respite from the DC heat and humidity. To be perfectly honest, we’ve come to the point of not really liking other cocktails because they just can’t compare to the perfect balance of sweet and sour that the margarita offers.
Fortunately, the margarita lends itself well to additions and adaptations so if we ever get bored with the classic margarita (#thiswillnevereverhappen) there are opportunities for variety. And so we present the tamarind margarita, a spin-off that preserves the tart acidity of the margarita while introducing the unique sweet and sour flavor of the tamarind. The tamarind, meaning ‘Indian Date’, is a bushy tree that produces a pod-like fruit that is used extensively in cuisines around the world…but definitely not so much in American cuisine.
To find tamarind you’ll need to venture to your local Asian or Middle-Eastern grocery store. We encountered a language barrier at our local Asian market when we went to ask where the tamarind was located. Nathan pulled out his iPhone and conversed with the non-English speaking sales lady by showing her tamarind pictures until she said ‘Ah! Tamarillo!’ and directed us to the extensive tamarind section that we had previously overlooked.
We were then faced with a choice between sweet tamarinds (ripe and mature fruit) and sour tamarinds (juvenile fruit) and decided to buy and try both so you won’t have to! Originally I thought I would prefer the sour tamarind margarita but it ended up being too sour…even for my taste! The sweet tamarind provided a moderate level of tartness while introducing a mild sweetness that was a great balance to the acidic lime juice. Get creative and pair this margarita with your favorite Ethnic cuisines…it would be great with Thai food or Indian food!
For the tamarind puree:
4 sweet tamarind pods
½ cup water
For the Margaritas:
3 ounces tequila
1 ½ ounces Triple-Sec
1 ½ ounces lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 ½ ounces tamarind puree
salt, for the rims of the glasses
lime slices, for garnish
1. Start by making the tamarind puree: Remove the husks from the tamarind and peel away the fibers. Place the tamarind fruit in a saucepan with the water. Using your hands, mash the fruit up to separate it from the seeds and remaining fibers and put the saucepan over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until most of the fruit has dissolved into the water. Strain the tamarind puree through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds and fibers from the pulp. The resulting consistency should be that of a thin apple sauce or puree.
2. Juice your limes and add juice to your mixer. Add in the tequila, Triple Sec, and tamarind puree. Top off with ice. Shake vigorously. Dip the edge of your glass in water and line with salt (if desired).
3. Strain the margarita into the glass, garnish with a lime slice, and serve over several ice cubes.