The Magic Behind A Totally Clear Margarita

Margaritas are one of those cocktails that are good any time of year. It makes a great tropical drink on an island getaway, pairs perfectly with some chips and salsa, and can even help warm you from the inside out on a chilly night. A standard margarita recipe uses tequila, fresh lime juice, agave, and Cointreau liqueur. The ingredients are shaken and strained into a glass. A frozen margarita utilizes the same ingredients but is blended with ice instead of shaken.

One non-negotiable for many is the salt rim. The salt rim is added by running freshly cut lime around the glass. Next, the glass is rolled in salt, and voila, you have a perfectly salted rim. The Cookful suggests using coarse Kosher salt for optimal taste and texture. You can even add spices, like sugar, cinnamon, and chili, to enhance the flavor of the margarita.

Gone are the days of the basic lime margarita served frozen or on the rocks. Depending on where you go, you'll find spicy margaritas and endless fruit-flavored options (per Love to Know). When it seems like every type of margarita has been invented, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon has turned the tables with a clear margarita.

What makes it clear?

The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon in Anaheim, California, is home to the award-winning cocktail, 'Now You See Me, Now You Don't.' What makes this margarita unique is that it is completely clear. It includes Casamigos Blanco Tequila, Bols Triple Sec, and clarified lime juice (per Slurrp). The clear liquid is then strained, poured over ice, and served in a glass with a salt rim.

The secret to the transparent look is the clarified lime juice. The cocktail's inventor, mixologist Cristina Smith, uses agar agar and a "temperature-specific cooking technique" to clarify the juice. Agar-agar is a tasteless, odorless substance similar to gelatin. Since it is derived from red algae, it is often used as a vegan thickening agent (Taste), but in this case, it helps tame the bitterness from the lime and remove tannins.

Though there are many fans, some critics say the drink is just another take on a clarified margarita. According to Slurrp, a clarified cocktail has all impurities removed, resulting in a clear appearance. The easiest way to do this is to pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. For a clarified margarita, citric acid can work in the place of lime juice to add the tangy bite without using limes that fog the liquid.

Regardless of the nay-sayers, there has to be something going for the drink — it was named Best Cocktail In America in 2022.