Courtesy Georgie Gerber at Montage Beverly Hills
A top-notch margarita should be just the right balance of sour and sweet with a hint of that signature tequila flavor. But there’s one ingredient that takes a margarita from perfectly tasty to perfectly tasty and unique, and you won’t find it in any liquor store: baby food. Yep, you read that right.
“Gerber makes really great fruit puree that’s good enough for our growing nation of children, so why not put it in a cocktail for a pure fruit flavor? There’s a whole rainbow of flavors for you to work with,” says master mixologist Brian Van Flandern of mymixologist.com, who was dubbed “America’s Top Mixologist” by Food Network.
It might sound strange, but Van Flandern is so confident in Gerber fruit’s alternative role as a cocktail star that he serves it up at the trendy The Garden Bar in the upscale hotel Montage Beverly Hills in California. Named the Georgie Gerber after chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s son, it’s a popular signature drink at the restaurant of the same name, Georgie. Add 1 ½ ounces blanco tequila, ½ ounce agave nectar, ½ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice, one ounce Gerber peach baby food, and one egg white to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously; then add ice, shake again, and strain into a glass. “The egg whites give a little frothy texture and the combination is balanced and really tasty,” says Van Flandern.
As long as you use a good quality 100 percent agave tequila (he suggests blanco before reposado or anejo, which are aged longer and tend to have a smokier flavor) and fresh squeezed lime juice (“Fresh is critical, no pre-made margarita mix!”), you can experiment with your favorite fruit purees like blueberry, pear, mango, or apple. For a mild smokiness that doesn’t overpower, try Santo Puro Mezquila, a blend of mezcal (also distilled from agave) and tequila.
“Always taste before serving. If it’s too sweet, add a little more lime juice; too sour, add a touch more fruit; not strong enough, pour another splash of tequila,” says Van Flandern.
And if you just can’t seem to get the proportions right, there’s one more trick that might be the easiest yet: “Go to a good bar, and ask the bartender to make it right in front you. Take notes and enjoy!” he says. (If you happen to have a tad too many, don’t miss these tips on curing a hangover naturally.)