Food, Recipes

Recipe for the End of the Day: Camping Margaritas

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Camping margaritas

Well, I stepped off the bus in Memphis
And stumbled into the first saloon I could find
I bellied up to the rail and summoned my barkeep
I ordered up a tequila, some salt and a lime
And she said, "Son, you ain't from around here, is ya?"

-- Roger Clyne, from the song Jack vs Jose

Mezcal wine, the gentle grandmother of tequila, was one of the first products immigrant Europeans to North America learned to extract from plants. Think about that for a moment. We're talking about the 16th Century here.

Over time, the distillers refined the drink into what we call tequila and it went through a rough history of inconsistent production until the 20th Century.  When the Mexican Revolution heated up and the autocrat president Porfirio Díaz was overthrown in 1911, I'm sure you can imagine that Mexican patriotism amplified quickly.  The people embraced tequila as their country's drink. The Essence of Mexico, if you will.

I'll tip a bottle to that.

I had a Mexican co-worker once.  One day I had come down with a cold and he told me to swig just a tiny sip of tequila before bed.  You have to love Mexicans.  If a little siesta or a hot-blooded revolution doesn't fix your wounds - emotional, spiritual or otherwise - then a potent swill of tequila gets the job done.

He also told me that they'd give their babies a drop of tequila on their tongue should the need arise.  Sounds like a reason to get a house call from the CPS in the good ol' U. S. of A.

Anyway, tequila, being the strong and punishing drink embraced by revolutionaries, is best enjoyed at a mellow pace.  Regardless of how you learned to guzzle it into your bloodstream as a 15-year-old at midnight on the 50-yard line.  A slow pace around a campfire with good friends, tall tales, and ribbing jokes makes a good equation. A handcrafted margarita presents a fine way to enjoy tequila.

This mixture will make one tasty margarita.  The idea here is that you're making one or two individual margaritas directly in the drinking glass, rather than in a pitcher.  Adjust if you want.


  • Tequila - silver or reposado are good choices
  • Cointreau or orange liqueur (triple sec)
  • Fresh limes


  1. I like an even 1:1:1 ratio, then I add what ever needs adding; sometimes it's tequila, but most often it's a chair to sit in
  2. 1.5 fl oz of each
  3. Beware, this calls for the limes to be halved and squeezed the old fashioned way.  There's no app for that.  Your hands do the work, and it'll be ever so rewarding
  4. Adjust to taste (more about that below)

Short Cuts and Alternates

  1. You might be wondering where the salt is for the rim of the glass.  That step is assumed.
  2. The orange liqueur brings a sweet flavor, the limes sour.  The same ratio doesn't please everyone's taste buds; in my experience a bad margarita most often comes up short in the sweet department. That's just a little advice.  If your margarita bites too hard, try sweetening it more either with more orange liqueur or plain sugar.
  3. An alternative to the orange liqueur is a concoction called simple syrup, or sugar syrup. It's used in several cocktails. Look that one up if you're interested.  In general, it helps make some very smooth margaritas.
  4. Add sliced strawberries for more fun.
  5. Of course, there's always the green bottle in your grocery store's liquor aisle


+2 / 0
# J.R.F. 2010-03-27 14:10
I cannot believe you mentioned marg. mix. :-)
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Mark Stephens
0 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2012-04-15 20:12
You can't say you've never been distracted by a little Cabo Wabo, can you?
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+3 / 0
# Heather 2010-03-28 23:19
Drinking is not my thing but your pictures sure make it look good!!
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0 / 0
# Wen 2010-04-03 20:19
Gotta love the beachside Ritas with great friends and the sound of your children playing. Is there anything better?
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Mark Stephens
0 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2010-04-05 10:04
I kinda want to get our own set of those sweet margarita glasses. Let's go to Mexico.
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0 / 0
# Will 2012-04-14 17:49
LOL!!!! I used to bartend and do prefer using simple syrup, but hey do what you need to do is what I always say.
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