margarita7-22For most of us, memories (albeit hazy ones) of Margaritas tend toward blender-built confections more akin to alcoholic Slurpees than grown-up cocktails. Something was clearly lost in translation because, when mixed correctly, these cocktails are among the tastiest tipples of all time.

Few Latin libations are as mangled as the Margarita. The first corrective step to take in fashioning a fine Margarita is to take your blender… and put it back in the cupboard.

No true Margarita was ever produced this way (not that I don’t love a blender drink).

To mark National Tequila Day this Saturday, July 24th (hey, it’s as good as excuse as any for a party, I say), why not shake up this organic take on the Margarita, which relies on agave nectar – derived from the same plant used to make tequila – instead of orange liqueurs like Cointreau or Triple Sec, to make a drink of intensely bright flavors.

Oh, and honey-like agave nectar isn’t just delicious; it’s also a healthier alternative to sugar because of its lower glycemic index.

Fresh Basil Margarita

Here’s a drink that would also be nice with zingy mint, but basil’s spicier herbal flavor really makes this cocktail shine. The basil also wakes up your appetite. Not that you’ll need any help scarfing down everything in sight come midnight. 

4 to 6 organic basil leaves
1 ounce freshly squeezed organic lime juice
1 ounce organic agave nectar (you can find this in most grocery stores)
11⁄2 ounces organic tequila (either blanco or reposado, Casa Noble is one of my favorites)

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the basil, lime juice, and agave nectar until the basil is bruised. Add the tequila, and fill the shaker with ice cubes. Shake vigorously, then strain the mixture into an ice cube–filled rocks glass.  

Some organic tequilas: 

Azunia Tequila
4 Copas
Casa Noble
Republic Tequila
Tequila Alquimia                           
Tequila Tierras