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 Añejo margaritas made with honey and fresh lemon juice. As the self-proclaimed margarita connoisseur, I HAD to try this delicious spin on the cocktail.
Winter starts a little earlier in northern NH. In November, they typically have a dusting of snow and the slopes are on the verge of opening. The honey lemon margarita seemed to be the right concoction for this chilly occasion. The drink was made specifically with Añejo tequila. Añejo is stronger and smokier than your typical silver tequila, giving this cocktail a warmer feel.
The smokey Añejo perfectly compliments 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 silver 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 a top shelf tequila.
The honey lemon margarita is no exception. Honey is used as a sweetener while the lemon juice is an alternative to lime juice. You heard me right, real honey. I dissolve the honey by stirring it into the tequila and lemon juice before adding any ice to the shaker. This prevents the honey from clumping up at the bottom of the shaker and freezing.
You could use silver 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. Now, you may notice this is starting to sound like a premium margarita. If you pick up a nice tequila, I highly recommend you pair it with Grand Marnier over triple sec (orange liqueur). Let’s go all out for this one. Trust me, it’s worth it.
- 2 ounces Añejo or Reposado tequila
- ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
- ¾ ounce honey
- ½ ounce Grand Marnier
- Lemon wheel for garnish
- 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 (except for the ice) in a cocktail shaker. Stir vigorously until honey fully dissolves into the cocktail.
- 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.