The Margarita is one of the most iconic drinks of all time. Beloved by everyone from more casual drinkers to serious cocktail bartenders, it strikes that golden balance of tart and sweet, boozy and refreshing. On its own, it’s a near-perfect concoction, and there’s really no reason to mess with it.
But yet, there’s not reason no to mess with it, either; that’s just the fun of the Margarita, and really, bartending in general. In fact, messing around and adding things to a Margarita is one of the most iconic aspects of the drink itself, and perhaps the most iconic of those variations is the addition of fruit, especially berries, though herbs like mint and basil are also popular additions. And while there are plenty of artificially flavored, overly sugary so-called Margarita fruit mixes on the market, there’s no reason for that with all the fresh, real ingredients you can use to flavor your drink. This is exemplified with the straight-forwardly named Strawberry Basil Margarita, a variation that has risen to be almost as iconic as the original itself.
One of the best parts about the Strawberry Basil Margarita is that it’s not much more difficult to throw together than your traditional marg. In this recipe from bartender Trudy Thomas from the Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, all it takes is to muddle some basil, strawberries, lime juice and simple syrup together, and add in the tequila and Cointreau (or another triple sec if you’re not feeling up for a splurge). For a bit of extra sweetness and to enhance the fruitiness of the drink, the Strawberry Basil Margarita also gets the addition of a generous splash of maraschino liqueur. This won’t give the drink an overtly cherry-like flavor, but it will punch up the berry notes in a satisfying way.
Like any drink with strawberries and/or basil, this libation is one for the warmer months, when fruit is ripe and basil is lush and green. Of course, with international trade and global markets, you can easily find strawberries and basil year-round, but unless it’s summer where you are, they just won’t be as good. Instead try something like a Blood Orange Margarita during the colder months, when that citrus is in season.
- 3 medium-size strawberries
- 3 basil leaves
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- 1 1/2 ounces tequila
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau
- 1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
- Garnish: lime wheel
- Garnish: basil leaf
In a shaker, muddle the strawberries, basil, lime juice and simple syrup.
Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice.
Shake vigorously and strain into a Margarita glass or rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish with a lime wheel and additional basil leaf.