A sunny day in the backcountry, a few inches of new powder, a beautiful new trail, spending time with your people in nature; all great reasons to mix up a little trail margarita. And in case you need another reason, it’s National Margarita Day on February 22nd!
Many margarita recipes call for margarita mix, but when you’re miles from the nearest liquor store, a few fresh limes, lemons and oranges (or bottled citrus juice) plus a couple of honey sticks will help you get your margarita fix.
The recipe below is easy to mix up on the tailgate, or in camp with basic equipment, but you could just as easily mix up the components before you leave home. If it’s below freezing outside (as it was when we made our tailgate margaritas,) you’ll want to mix the honey and water before you leave home, and you can add the citrus juice to this mixture to make your cocktail shaking super speedy. The lime-lemon-orange combo below is a classic, but the recipe works just as well if you’re wanting to mix up a fancy grapefruit or blood orange marg. So long as you have ¼ cup juice for every two cocktails, you’ve got Fresh Citrus Margarita gold.
makes two cocktails
- 1 honey stick (or 1 tablespoon raw honey)
- 1 Tbsp warm water
- For the juice: juice of two limes, juice of 1 lemon and 2 squeezes fresh orange or splash orange juice OR ¼ cup fresh citrus juice of your choosing
- 2 ounces Tequila
- 1 ounce Orange Liqueur
- crushed flaky sea salt for glass rim
- 1 lime, sliced into wedges for garnish
- ice cubes (if you don’t have a bank of snow to chill your cocktails)
- 2 glasses
- cocktail shaker or large thermos
- citrus squeezer
- pocket knife
- small jar for salt, and for rimming glasses
Before Leaving Home
Assemble your cocktail-making equipment and ingredients. You’ll want to bring your large thermos or cocktail shaker, a pocket knife, two glasses, tequila and Cointreau (either in bottles or measured out,) limes, lemons and an orange (fresh and whole, or squeezed into a small jar,) your honey stick and some warm water. You may want a citrus juicer if you’re bringing fresh citrus (but squeezing your citrus over your palm to catch the seeds also works fine if it’s warm enough to have your gloves off!) If you have a small, wide-mouth Ball jar to transport your salt, you also have a perfect place to rim your cocktail glasses. If you don’t have a ball jar, a camp plate or bowl will work just fine.
Note: if it’s cold out, you’ll want to mix your honey and water in a warm place to make sure the honey stick doesn’t freeze! You can easily mix these two together and combine with the pre-squeezed citrus juice in a small jar and transport to the trail.
Make Your Cocktails
- Rim your cocktail glasses. Remove the lid from your wide-mouth Ball jar and shake some of the salt out into it. Cut a lime wedge and swipe it around the edge of one of the glasses, then turn the glass upside down and turn the mouth of the glass through the salt in the lid. The salt will stick to the lime juice and rim the glass. Repeat with the second glass.
- Place your honey and warm water in your thermos or cocktail shaker, along with the freshly squeezed juice (either premixed, or squeezed fresh.) Shake vigorously to combine.
- Add your tequila and orange liquor and again, shake vigorously to combine.
- Divide the margarita between the salt-rimmed glasses, and garnish each glass with a lime wedge.
- Place the cocktails in a little pile of snow to chill for 2-3 minutes, then toast and enjoy