This past week Patty and I were up in Bretton Woods (northern New Hampshire), to visit some friends at their winter house near Mount Washington. Bretton Woods is about two hours north of where we reside on the New Hampshire/Massachusetts line.
We took a trip over to the historic Mount Washington hotel for cocktails. My friend, Evan and I ordered margaritas made with Añejo tequila, Grand Marnier, honey, and fresh lemon juice. Amazing.
The margarita was made specifically with Añejo tequila. Añejo is stronger and smokier than your typical blanco tequila, giving this cocktail a warmer feel that complements the sweetness of the honey. Añejo is aged for at least one year in wooden barrels. That’s why Añejo and Reposado tequila have a golden hue and a smokey, oaky finish, unlike blanco tequila.
Once you go real ingredients, you never go back. Real margaritas are made with natural ingredients. No mixes or artificial sweeteners. For a traditional margarita—I always use fresh lime juice and simple syrup (melted sugar and water) in place of a store bought mix. I’m going to boycott the use of pre-made margarita mix, ESPECIALLY if you are using higher-end tequila.
The honey lemon and Grand Marnier margarita is absolutely no exception. Honey syrup is used as a sweetener while the lemon juice is an even more balanced alternative to lime juice.
How to Make Honey Syrup
What is honey syrup? Honey syrup is essentially simple syrup made with equal parts honey and water. It’s easier to make than simple syrup as the honey will more easily dissolve in warm water unlike sugar.
To make honey syrup, heat 1/4 cup of water in the microwave for 15-25 seconds until warm. Stir in 1/4 cup of honey until fully dissolved. The proper consistency is a little thicker than water when room temp.
You could use blanco tequila for this cocktail, however I highly recommend you try Añejo or Reposado first. The smokey flavors will give the cocktail more character and give it more of an edge. I’m sweet, but not that sweet.
Why Put Grand Marnier in a Margarita?
Now, you may notice this is starting to sound like the Cadillac of margaritas. If you use Añejo or Reposado tequila, I highly recommend you pair it with Grand Marnier over triple sec (orange liqueur).
Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored French liqueur made from cognac and orange flavor. It’s really flavorful, complex, and a step above your typical orange liqueur.
Let’s go all out for this one. Trust me, it’s worth it.Print
- 2 ounces Añejo or Reposado tequila
- 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce honey syrup
- 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
- Lemon wheel for garnish
honey syrup (makes 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup water
- To make honey syrup, combine warm water and honey in a glass and stir until honey is fully dissolved. I usually heat water in a glass measuring cup in microwave for 20-30 seconds and stir in honey.
- For the salted rim, take a lemon wedge and coat the rim of an old fashioned glass. Dip in margarita salt, rotating until coated.
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add a cup of ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Pour straight into the old fashioned glass with the (now crushed) ice from the shaker. Garnish with a lemon wheel.