Jaime Salas shakes up expert margarita tips that anyone can master

Jaime Salas shakes up some Jose Cuervo margarita tips, photo provided by Jose Cuervo
Jaime Salas shakes up some Jose Cuervo margarita tips, photo provided by Jose Cuervo /

While some people might think of a margarita as the perfect beverage pairing to a flavorful Mexican dish, the classic cocktail can be more than just a single note sipper. Even though some beach escapes might serve frozen, fruity varieties with a little umbrella, tequila expert Jaime Salas wants everyone to appreciate the nuances of the sour cocktail and these expert margarita tips will make that sipper even more enjoyable.

As Tequila Expert and Head of Agave Advocacy at Jose Cuervo, Jaime appreciates that tequila cocktails can instantly get a reaction around the table. Although some people might think back to an overindulgent night, the reality is that a great margarita and a smooth tequila is far different than those college escapes.

During a recent conversation with FoodSided, Jaime Salas offered some margarita tips, creative food pairings, and encouraged everyone to think a little outside of the shaker with unique flavor combinations.

Specifically, Jaime wants everyone to remember that a margarita is a sour cocktail. That punch of flavor is what drives people to enjoy another sip, but all the ingredients need to be in balance. Specifically, Jaime said that a great margarita is about the “balance of sweetness, brightness, and acidity. That trifecta makes it enjoyable.”

Building on that idea, Jaime said that the classic margarita is the starting point. “Whatever is added on top of those three flavor notes should keep the balance. Whether it pulls back a little on the lime or the extra fruit cuts back on the sweetness, all the items should be interlaced together to get that perfect cocktail.”

Jaime explained that tequila is unique because of its connection to the agave plant. While there can be many margarita flavors, the other ingredients should never overshadow that unique tequila flavor. That “terroir driven profile” with its vegetal, mineral and more qualities are the “perfect backdrop for a margarita.”

While the classic lime forward margarita will always be a refreshing choice, Jaime shared a few variations that are worthy of a try. First, he took the Jose Cuervo Mango Margarita and gave it a spicy kick with a chili salt rim. Jaime calls it a “symphony of sweet heat.”

Although that tropical take is quite tasty, Jaime gave the classic margarita an effervescent twist. With a touch of seltzer water or club soda, that sparkling margarita feels a little more special. Also, Jaime said that a flavored sparkling water can boost the flavor, too.

Lastly, Jaime showcased a batch version of the Strawberry Lemonade Margarita flavor. Served in a large format vessel, it can be the feature beverage on a bar. As everyone serves themselves, it could be the easy way for the host to get out from behind the bar.

Since Jaime knows how to impress with a margarita and often entertains, he has a great way to get his guests engaged and offer them a little bit of customization on the glass. Specifically, he recommends making various salts so that guests can choose their salt rim flavor. Some ideas that he suggested were a little lemon zest with kosher salt, a pink peppercorn salt rim with a hibiscus margarita, or even an herb blend salt.

While fruit margaritas are popular, Jaime recommended a savory twist for a margarita. Whether it is mint, rosemary, or another herb, there are many ways to bring a new flavor combination to the glass. Jaime specifically mentioned basil, which has an aromatic quality similar to tequila.

Jaime Salas margaritas for Jose Cuervo
Jaime Salas shakes up some Jose Cuervo margarita tips, photo provided by Jose Cuervo /

With all these flavor combinations, it can get the home mixologist’s creative juices flowing. Jose Cuervo is encouraging everyone to share their special margarita creation and it could become the brand’s new flavor offering. Although last year’s top choice, Tropical Paradise, might be hard to beat, there are many people who have their own special take on that classic sour cocktail. That masterful margarita could win a portion of the $100,000 prizes available.

And, what does Jaime Salas say when it is time to raise a toast to the margarita? “Here’s to good friends, a life well lived and something to be proud of.” Salud to that sentiment.