When something calls for a casual warm weather celebration at our house, that usually means whipping up a pitcher of icy cold margaritas. Once the notion of having them comes up someone–usually one of the real margarita junkies, i.e., me, our son Ted, or one of our daughters-in-law, Jamye or Katharine–starts what’s become an Eades family tradition, the margarita chant. To a conga line rhythm, complete with conga choreography and maraca percussion on the ‘TA’ if available, it goes something like this:
Big-fat-mar-ga-ri-TA! Big-fat-mar-ga-ri-TA! Big-fat-ma-ga-ri-TA!
Everybody joins in as we form the conga line, heading for the limes in the fridge and the tequila in the pantry. It’s quite possible that every household doesn’t always have limes in the fridge and tequila in the pantry, but that would not generally be the case at our house. When we all get together, it’s pretty much a given we’re going to have a Big Fat Margarita or three. As Hank Williams, Jr. said: it’s a family tradition.
A reader, who noted the passing mention of my sugar-free margaritas in a previous blog, wrote to request the recipe, which I’m happy to provide. We did the sugar-free version on one of the Low Carb CookwoRx episodes and it’s, therefore, on the show’s website and included in the companion cookbook to the PBS tv show. What follows is a bit quicker and easier to do, although slightly higher in carb. Advanced warning: this recipe contains Splenda. Those of you who eschew Splenda, feel free to use whatever non-caloric sweetener you prefer, aiming to replace the sweetness of about 2/3 cup (or 36 teaspoons) of sugar and adjust the carb counts according to the sweetener you use.
Big Fat Margarita!
Makes about 8 servings (or 2 apiece for 4!)
Effective carb 15 grams per serving (about half of what a commercial bar margarita has)
16 ounces fresh lime juice (or 8 ounces each lemon and lime)
16 ounces silver tequila (Sauza Blanco is a good inexpensive choice)
8 ounces orange scented liqueur (Cointreau, Gran Marnier, Citronge, Triple sec)*
24 ounces cold fresh spring water
18 packets Splenda (or your choice)
Mix all ingredients, pour into a large pitcher, chill thoroughly until icy cold.
Moisten the rim of each glass with lime juice and dip into margarita (or kosher) salt, fill glass with ice, and pour on the juice.
*If you want a fully sugar-free version, more like we did on the show, that drops the carb count even further to about 6 grams per serving–a sensible idea if you plan to have more than one–omit the liqueur, up the tequila by about 4 ounces, and make your own artifically sweetened orange syrup as follows: Bring 8 ounces of water, the zest of an orange, 6 to 8 packets of Splenda (or your choice) and a teaspoon or two of ThickenThin not/Sugar to a boil in a saucepan; turn off the heat; allow the syrup to cool completely before making the margaritas.
In the Eades’ household, we drink ours on the rocks, and most of us prefer salt. If you like yours frozen, then only add say 8 ounces of water and 2 cups of ice (you’re looking for a combined total of 24 ounces ice and water, which depending on how thick you want it might even be all ice) and blend until smooth.
To my way of thinking, they’re the perfect summer celebration beverage. Vive la Margarita!