Few things numb the pain of a stressful workweek quite like a margarita. And even though we've barely reached the hump, we're fixing up the fruity tequila drink tonight in honor of its National Holiday. Thanks to certified mezcalier Courtenay Greenleaf, who oversees beverage menu at N.Y.C.-based Mexican restaurant Rosa Mexicano and its newly-opened subterranean cocktail bar Masa y Agave, we have the perfect recipe.
"Margaritas are addictive because of the intoxicating flavors," she tells InStyle. "The tequila and fresh lime juice balanced by the subtle sweetness and salty finish completely satisfies your palate." Not to mention, agave spirits give you the best buzz. Read on below for Greenleaf's tips on how to fix yourself the perfect one, plus a recipe for her spicy cucumber version, which blends cucumber, basil, and jalapeño. Cheers to a spicy Monday!
1. Use high-quality ingredients.
"Everything should be as fresh as possible, and it all hinges on the base. I prefer a blanco tequila—it cuts through the citrus and the flavor really comes through. Opt for fresh-squeezed lime juice over sour mix and kosher salt or sea salt instead of table salt."
2. Arm yourself with the right tools.
"A Boston shaker is best for mixing the agave syrup, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and 100% blue agave. Then I recommend straining it with a Hawthorne strainer over fresh ice."
3. Start with salting your glass, but be careful...
"When salt rimming your glass, rim on the side of the glass not allowing salt to actually get in the glass (which will make your cocktail salty in taste)."
Pepino Picante (Spicy Margarita Basil)
2 oz Pueblo Viejo Blanco tequila infused with jalapeño and serrano
3/4 oz cucumber juice
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz agave syrup
4 basil leaves
1. In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle jalapeño slices.
2. Combine remaining ingredients into shaker and shake vigorously.
3. Double strain over a fresh ice into a rocks glass.
4. Garnish with a cut cucumber slice and basil leaf.