Homemade Li Hing Margarita

Some days, you could just use a margarita.

Homemade Li Hing Margarita

Homemade Li Hing Margarita

One of Those Days

I had one of those days recently. Work was crazy. I felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. The minute I walked in the door, Annie could see how beat I was. Annie’s mum was still here so Annie suggested that we go out for a margarita while Mum watched the kids at home.

We ended up in McCarthy Ranch in Milpitas, at "On the Border", a Mexican-themed chain family restaurant. After looking through their extensive drinks menu, we decided to get one of their signature margaritas, called the "Borderita Grande" ($8). It was smoo-oo-ooth. So good, we downed it and ordered another!

That’s when the alcohol hit us. And it packed quite a wallop. We weren’t floored (you know that saying right? "one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR!) but walking back to the car was a shaky affair. We wisely decided to sleep it off in the car instead of getting on the road right away.

ONE HOUR LATER, I woke up and drove us safely home. I’m not doing THAT again! First of all, it’s just not right to drink and drive. Secondly, the restaurant ‘ritas were $8 bucks each! I know they had a lot of alcohol, but not $8 bucks’ worth of tequila and Cointreau. I’d rather make it at home, where I don’t have to drive anywhere, and where I can get more bang for the buck.

So Annie started looking around for margarita recipes. And you know what? Margaritas are so easy to make! It’s basically tequila, orange liqueur, Sweet and Sour mix, and lime juice.

You know what Sweet and Sour mix is? Equal parts lemon, lime, sugar and water. That’s it!

Lemon and Lime for Sweet and Sour Mix

Lemon and Lime for Sweet and Sour

We recently got a lot of lemons from our friend’s Meyer lemon bush, and limes are pretty cheap around here too. All we needed to do was squeeze a quarter cup each of lemon juice and lime juice. We used our handy lemon squeezer to quickly and cleanly squeeze out the citrus juices. Then add a quarter cup of white sugar, a quarter cup of water, and stir to combine. That’s all there is to Sweet and Sour mix. Easy, right?

Using Lemon Squeezer to Squeeze Lemon for Sweet and Sour Mix

Using Lemon Squeezer to Squeeze Lemon for Sweet and Sour Mix

Basic Margarita Recipe

3 oz sweet and sour mix
1 oz tequila (we used Sauza Hornitos Reposado)
1 oz orange liqueur (we used Grand Marnier)
1 oz lime juice

Sauza Hornitos Reposado Tequila and Grand Marnier for Homemade Margaritas

 Sauza Hornitos Reposado Tequila and Grand Marnier for Homemade Margaritas

Step Aside for a Moment

A little aside about our choices of alcohol for our margaritas. First, the tequila: You only want to use tequila made from 100% agave. Absolutely NO GOLD (eg. Cuervo Gold) tequilas! Why? Because so-called "gold" tequilas are 50% agave spirits, with sugar syrup and caramel coloring making up the other 50%. They are too sweet for making margaritas.

Secondly, the orange liqueur. Margarita recipes call for a Triple Sec ("triple distilled") orange liqueur like Cointreau or Grand Marnier. We use Grand Marnier because Cointreau is too dry and, well, we only have Grand Marnier in our cupboard!

Mixing it Together

You can mix the ingredients together in a shaker with a few cubes of ice, then it into margarita glasses to enjoy. To make a frozen margarita, buzz the ingredients and ice together in a blender (we used a "Magic Bullet" blender to make this batch of margaritas).

To make things more interesting, I added a quarter teaspoon of li hing powder to the mixture.

Li Hing Powder in Homemade Margarita Mix

Li Hing Powder in Homemade  Margarita Mix

The Pour

We got this nice looking margarita glass last Christmas, bundled in a set with a bottle of Grand Marnier. Annie wet the rim of the glass and rolled the rim through some li hing powder. Then I poured the li hing margarita into the glass.

Homemade Li Hing Margarita

Homemade Li Hing Margarita

The li hing just brings an extra sweet-salty touch to the margarita. It’s so addictive, you can’t put it down! But at least if you make these margaritas at home, you won’t have to call a cab.

Aloha, Nate

14 Comments Post a Comment
  1. K and S says:

    >I love the frozen li hing margarita at Ryan’s, Hawaii. Hope it is still on their menu.

  2. Peter M says:

    >I want that tequila…straight up!

  3. Vanessa says:

    >That looks so good!

  4. Sonya says:

    >Wow, I hadn’t read your blog until now, but I’m enjoying it…a lot!

  5. Janine says:

    >Hey – thanks for checking out my blog, love yours as well and I now have a craving for a margarita:) Think I’ll wait til I put the kids to bed though

  6. Jenster says:

    >Well, now you’ve done it. You have reached the epitome in food porn, IMHO! If it were possible for me to have a margarita in the middle of a school afternoon (and with li hing powder, to boot), I would, right this minute.

  7. Pravs says:

    >what a beautiful picture of the drink. want to try it now :)

  8. Robert says:

    >Margaritas are not really my thing, but, Nate, shooting drinks is very tricky. Man, you are getting good with the pics. You made that drink look incredible.

  9. CUMI & CIKI says:

    >all margaritas.. any margarita.. !

  10. Fearless Kitchen says:

    >This looks delightful – I do love margaritas, and you’re right. Sometimes you just need a margarita. I’m completely unfamiliar with li hing powder, but if you tell me it goes well with tequila I’ll sure try it.

  11. Kitchen Gadget Girl says:

    >I am excited to try the Li Hing in our next margarita! Our favorite is to use lemons and skip the sweet and sour. The standard measurement is 1/3 lemon juice, 1/3 triple sec and 1/3 tequila….

    Cheers!

  12. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@K and S – yes, this recipe is inspired by Ryans. But the last time I had it there, it wasn't as good as I remember. Big City Diner's was better, IMO.

    @Peter M – oh, for straight up tequila I prefer an anejo.

    @Vanessa – thanks!

    @Sonya – thank you!

    @Janine – :-)

    @Jenster – thanks!

    @Pravs – it is GOOD!

    @Robert – *blush* thanks

    @Cumi & Ciki – make sure you don't ever use gold tequila in your margaritas.

    @Fearless Kitchen – li hing powder is a Chinese flavoring ingredient that is sweet-salty.

    @kitchen gadget girl – no lime?

  13. Maya says:

    >Li hing margarita would go down easy here ;)

  14. Carolyn Jung says:

    >I think Chris Yeo of Straits restaurants makes a cocktail with li hing powder on the rim. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. But I bet your version gives his a real run for the money. Bottoms up!

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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