Sometimes a classic with a simple twist can create the perfect drink for the moment you’re in. That’s how I feel about a blackberry margarita. I don’t know that I’d always choose it over the original recipe, but on a certain kind of day, when the mood is right, there’s nothing better.
Muddling fresh fruit in a cocktail shaker is one of the most popular ways to tart up a drink, and it’s a technique that’s been used as long as there have been bartenders. Margaritas get their fair share of this treatment; there was a time you couldn’t escape a Taco Tuesday without a half dozen marg riffs. But of all those easy deviations, the blackberry margarita remains a favorite of mine. Both good blanco tequila and ripe blackberries are a bit on the prickly side, and their flavors seem right at home together.
You definitely want a quality blanco tequila that’s 100% agave for any margarita. I like brands like Siembra Azul and Tequila Ocho in this one, but the margarita is a great template for tasting different agave products, so feel free to experiment. This recipe cuts the curaçao (I typically use Cointreau for my orange liqueur) with a little simple syrup. That touch of sugar helps to balance and make your drink a little more forgiving in case it sits on the ice awhile.
I strongly suggest double-straining any drink made with muddled fruit. To do this in one smooth motion, strain the cocktail using a Hawthorne strainer or the built-in strainer on your shaker using one hand while holding a fine-mesh tea strainer over your serving glass with the other. Pouring the drink through both filters catches little bits of fruit that make it past the first barrier.
If salting rim, place 1 Tbsp. kosher salt on a small plate. Moisten exterior rim of a rocks glass with lime wedge and roll in salt. Set glass aside.
Muddle 2 ripe blackberries in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 oz. blanco tequila, ¾ oz. fresh lime juice, ½ oz. curacao or triple sec, ¼ oz. simple syrup (1:1), 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters, and ice to shaker and shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Double strain into prepared rocks glass or a coupe and garnish with a ripe blackberry, if using.
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