OK, so I know some of you are probably thinking “she has lost her damn mind.” And I get it. Cilantro isn’t for everyone. Certainly not in cocktails.
BUT! I’ve made it my mission today to get you to at least consider making these delicious margaritas. They are so, so refreshing and taste lighter than your standard marg.
Annnnd you guys shouldn’t be TOO surprised about me putting herbs in your drinks. It’s sorta my thang. I love the savory note that fresh herbs add to otherwise sweet cocktails. These blackberry-thyme gin fizzes and lemon-sage martinis are two of my favorite drinks of all time. Both feature herbs big time. Both are freaking yummy.
And these cilantro margaritas are no different! I promise.
If you follow along on Instagram, you probably saw my stories last week where I was talking about testing out some recipes using cilantro-infused syrup. I said it was a newer-to-me idea, although I know bars and restaurants across the country have been adding cilantro to cocktails for a long time now. I am not alone in love for my herby cocktails!
It all starts innocently enough. Well, as innocent as things start when tequila is involved.
The margarita itself is pretty basic: tequila, orange liqueur, fresh lime juice, and salted glass rims. The only difference is that the typical simple syrup you add to margs has some flavor infusion. Fresh cilantro goes into the simple syrup and steeps until the mixture cools. The flavor is sort of….mind blowing. Simple but mind blowing! In my brain, sweet cilantro doesn’t work. It seems weird. Wrong, even. That’s probably where you guys are right now too.
But, it’s really good! Surprisingly, mind-blowingly good! I tasted the syrup after it had cooled and the cilantro had done its job, and oh my gosh, it was so delicious! I knew it would work perfectly in a margarita. I strained out the cilantro and started mixing and shaking and tasting. Before I knew it, I had finished an entire margarita at 3 pm in the afternoon on a Thursday. Whoops.
Sorry not sorry! It was just that good. I couldn’t put it down!
Now, if you REALLY can’t get behind the idea of cilantro in your margarita, I suggest experimenting with other, possibly less offensive herbs. Mint margaritas! Basil! Even thyme. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy that herbaciousness in your bevs!
I have a sneaky suspicion that you’ll be as obsessed as I am.
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
1 bunch of cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
4 oz white tequila
2 oz orange liqueur (Triple Sec or Grand Marnier)
Additional limes, for garnish
Additional cilantro, for garnish
Salt and sugar, for rimming the glasses
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add in the cilantro. Allow the cilantro to steep in the simple syrup until it is cooled to room temperature. Strain out the cilantro and discard.
Transfer the cilantro-infused syrup to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
In a shaker filled with ice, add 2 oz of the cilantro syrup, the lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur. Shake vigorously for several seconds to thoroughly mix and chill the ingredients.
Run a lime wedge around the edges of two glasses and then dip the edges of the glasses into a shallow dish filled with an equal mix of coarse salt and fine sugar.
Fill the glasses with ice and pour in the margarita mixture. Garnish each glass with a lime wedge and additional cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.