I was expecting these Lemon Drop Margaritas to be mind blowing for one reason, but they turned out to be mind-blowing for a completely different reason. You see, I wanted to stick pretty close to a traditional margarita recipe, but swap all of the lime juice for lemon juice, and then rim the glasses with sparkling sugar (like you would get with a lemon drop [vodka] shot) instead of the traditional salt for margaritas.
“They’re going to be so lemony!,” I thought. I made them and took a sip . . . and they tasted just like a regular (lime) margarita. I took another sip and waited . . . same reaction. So, though I was expecting some life-changing lemon flavor in these margaritas, I didn’t really get that.
I used really good tequila (my husband takes business trips to Mexico frequently, and brings home the good stuff for the price of bottled water, basically), so mostly, the great tequila flavor was coming through. There was lots of citrus flavor, but by the time it muddled with the tequila, my tastebuds couldn’t tell much of a difference between lemon and lime here.
I think my tastebuds are still getting over my last sinus infection, because my husband says he COULD tell they were made with lemons, so go figure. Maybe you’ll think these are lemony, and I’m just crazy.
The reason this recipe IS mind-blowing for me? Because I don’t always have limes on hand (and they can be expensive at times) or blood oranges for a blood orange margarita, but I ALWAYS ALWAYS have lemons around. They’re cheap and plentiful, and I have a drawer in my fridge that is JUST lemons, usually.
Which means that homemade margaritas don’t have to be a “great, now we have to go buy 20 limes” situation. It’s more like a “let’s have margaritas because we have a few lemons” situation.
So, when life gives you lemons, make margaritas!
For the Lemon Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- Peel of 1 lemon
For the Lemon Drop Margaritas:
- 4 cups ice
- 6 ounces fresh lemon juice
- 6 ounces tequila
- 4 ounces Lemon Simple Syrup
- 1 ounce triple sec
- Sparkling sugar, for rim of glasses
- Make the Lemon Simple Syrup: In small saucepot, heat sugar, water and lemon peel over medium-high heat. Cook until all sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally (do not boil). Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Remove and discard lemon peel; transfer syrup to jar or bottle and refrigerate until completely cool. Makes about 8 ounces (enough for 8 margaritas).
- Make the Lemon Drop Margaritas: Place ice, lemon juice, tequila, 4 ounces Lemon Simple Syrup and triple sec in blender; blend until well combined. Divide between 4 glasses garnished with sparkling sugar.
Home Chef Tip: Want to make just one margarita? Let me do the culinary math for you: 1 cup ice, 1-1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice, 1-1/2 ounces tequila, 1 ounce Lemon Simple Syrup, and 1/4 ounce triple sec.