Recipe: Merry Christmas from the Family Margaritas

Robert Earl Keen’s classic Christmas song “Merry Christmas from the Family” (sometimes styled “Merry Christmas from the Fam-O-Lee”) features several food mentions. Champagne puncheggnog, margaritas, bloody marys, and turkey are all mentioned outright. This margarita recipe is part of a series of REK-inspired recipes for your next Christmas party!

The Idea

Margaritas are not traditionally associated with Christmas, but down here in Texas, there’s never a bad occasion for a margarita. Margarita is a classic, simple Mexican cocktail that can be served frozen, on the rocks, or straight up. The beauty in the margarita is celebrating the lime without killing it with sugar. This recipe is for a pitcher of margaritas because it’s for a party.

The Recipe

What You’ll Need:
For the Drink:

3 cups (or a little more if you like) of silver tequila.*
2 cups of Grand Marnier (any orange liqueur will do, but GM is the best)
6-8 large limes (do not use store-bought lime juice)
2 tablespoons of agave nectar (available at most liquor stores)
Lots of ice. If I had to put a measurement on it, I would say about 8 cups, which should cover mixing and serving.

To dress the glasses:

1 tablespoon of agave nectar
2 tablespoons of salt
2 limes, cut into wedges

You’ll also need a pitcher for serving. I recommend a pitcher with a lid so that you can shake the entire pitcher to combine. If you don’t have a pitcher with a lid, be ready to stir vigorously for 60-90 seconds.

*My preference is 1800 silver tequila. However, almost any will work, but the silver (or “clear”) tequilas will generally have better flavor than darker tequilas.

  1. Microwave your limes for 15-20 seconds. I know this sounds weird, but microwaving helps ensure you get as much juice as possible from each lime.
  2. Once the limes are microwaved, squeeze them into your pitcher. You’re going for about 1 cup of lime juice, which is typically about 7 limes. I love lime so if it’s lime-heavy that’s fine with me. If you’re worried it’s too much lime, pour in half, follow the remaining steps, taste, and add more lime if needed.
  3. Add the tequila, Grand Marnier, and agave to your pitcher or shaking vessel.
  4. Add ice until the liquid is about an inch from the top of your vessel.
  5. Shake (or stir) vigorously. I prefer using a large pitcher with a lid that has full pour and slotted options. Just make sure that the lid is such that no liquid can escape during mixing.

To serve, do the following:

Prepare glasses: put the reserved agave nectar on a small, lipped plate and the salt on a different small, lipped plate. Take four glasses (I just use lowball glasses but margarita glasses, martini glasses, and even pint glasses all work) and dip the rim of each one first in the agave nectar then in the salt. Add ice about 3/4 of the way up the glass. Strain the margarita into each glass and garnish with a lime.

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