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Shaken or frozen

Adapt a versatile margarita to suit personal taste

Adapt a versatile margarita to suit personal taste

August 30, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

On the plus side, working with tequila in this way doesn't require licking salt from the back of the hand.

But there's also a drawback: Summer's almost over, so there's less than a month left (less than a week if you count Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer) to enjoy the iconoclastic beverage of summertime - margaritas.

This year marked the 35th anniversary of the invention of the first frozen margarita machine, created by Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez in 1971. People have been creating frozen margaritas in blenders since the 1930s, but demand prompted the invention of a machine that could crank out the beverage quick, fast and in a hurry, according to information from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, which acquired the machine last year.

Margarita purists, on the other hand, might balk at the thought of imbibing a slushy margarita made from crushed ice. "Real" margaritas are served chilled and strained, in a salt-rimmed glass with a blend of tequila, triple sec and sour mix, and - most important - without ice, said Laurie Lee, manager of Barefoot Bernie's Bar & Grille in Hagerstown.

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Some margarita enthusiasts might even nix the sour mix. Others might argue that it's still "pure" when served on the rocks.

So what makes a good margarita? That depends on whom you ask.

Frozen, strained or otherwise, margaritas have evolved into an add-what-you-like concoctions where the end product is generally named after its maker (example: a Tiff-"arita," named after this reporter, would likely involve something sweet and fruity).

Submitted margarita recipes on RecipeCzar.com called for items such as candy corn, gelatin dessert and litchis (pronounced LEE-cheeze), the tropical fruit from a Chinese evergreen tree.

Some homegrown recipes might include adding a shot of beer. Others go for the gusto, using top-shelf tequila and triple sec. Barefoot Bernie's Cantina Rita, for example, blends Patron Resposado tequila, Gran Marnier and a secret ingredient the beverage's makers refused to divulge.

Though unwilling to share their secret ingredient, Lee and bartender Michelle Knuckles did offer a few easily adaptable margarita recipes that can easily be re-created at home.

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