After an unexpected two-year stint in Washington D.C. and a journey of reckoning, I have finally returned to the beautiful embrace of the Appalachian mountains. Words can not convey the extent of relief and happiness I feel to have made my escape from another steamy, concrete, urban summer.
One of my most sacred spaces to regroup is the front porch of my families mountainside home in Virginia. The vast expanse of mountains and the diversity of flora and fauna is absolutely captivating. The setting is at once inspirational and calming, meditative and rousing. Luckily, I have returned to my little nook in the mountains just in time to enjoy Summer in all it’s splendor. A Summer spent in the country usually consists of soaking in the sights and sounds of Mother Nature while taking a contemplative step back from all that ails you.
Morning light is announced by the crowing of a rooster, the gentle humming of our Alpacas and the aroma of percolating coffee. The woods are filled with the commotion of birds singing and foraging. Finches, Buntings, Blue Birds, Orioles, Chickadee, Cardinals and Nuthatch.
The afternoon pops with color. The hazy, cobalt hue of the Blue Ridge Mountains are the canvas for bumble bees and ladybugs, hummingbirds and wildflowers. The air is thick with the scent of grasses, foliage and blooms.
Evenings are alive with the calls of tree frogs, the chirping of crickets and the strobe lighting of fireflies looking for love. If you are really lucky, a summers eve breeze blows through and the night sky reveals the entirety of its constellations. The guest list often includes gnome-like toads and lime-green Luna moths with their velveteen wings, delicate and sprightly.
Being the passionate cook that I am, I love making any occasion ornate with some manner of food and/or beverage. A favorite past-time is to embellish and enjoy this enchanting country ambiance with some good conversation and a fitting beverage. My summer libation of choice is most often a margarita (hold the salted rim). Both citrus and berries are classic accompaniments to a summer menu.
In this recipe I use both to take your classic lime based margarita and give it added depth of flavor and a festive color. I start by making a fresh raspberry-limeade base and mixing it with three different liquors. I fill country-esque mason jars with the margarita mix and chill or freeze.
The result is charming individual servings of margarita, juicy and refreshing. You can make a batch or two for a party or keep some on hand in your freezer to impress should an impromptu get together arise. You can bet that I will be on my porch sipping this boozy essence of Summer while communing with my woodland neighbors.
Fresh, Make Ahead, Raspberry Margaritas
- 8 cups Homemade raspberry-limeade can substitute good quality, store-bought limeade and blend with raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups Tequila top shelf, (must be 100% agave to adhere to a gluten-free diet)
- 1 1/4 cups Chambord
- 1 1/4 cups Cointreau
- 8 cups of filtered water
- Juice from 10-12 fresh limes approximately 1 1/4 cups juice (pressing firmly on the lime, roll it between the palm of your hand and the counter top to help separate the membrane and more easily release it's juices)
- Zest from two limes
- 1 cup agave syrup
- 6 oz fresh raspberries
- pinch of sea salt
In a large bowl or pitcher, combine the raspberry-limeade with all of the liquors. Stir to incorporate.
Fill all of the mason jars with the margarita mix, making sure to leave a little space between the mix and the top of the jar to allow for a small amount of expansion during the freezing process. The amount of alcohol in this recipe only allows for minimal expansion so the mason jars are not at risk of breaking (unless you decrease the amount of alcohol in the recipe or you fill the jars completely to the top with the margarita mix).
Tightly screw lids onto the jars and freeze for at least five hours for frozen margaritas or refrigerate until chilled and ready to serve. The margaritas can be kept in the freezer for up to two months or in the refrigerator for five days.
Remove the margaritas from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for approximately ten minutes to become slushy. For chilled margaritas remove the jars from the refrigerator when ready to serve. Unscrew the lid, give a quick stir, add a straw and serve. For a more decorative touch you can also top with a "daisy lid", decorative straw or just garnish with a lime wedge.
Add the raspberries, lime juice, lime zest, agave syrup and sea salt to a blender and blend on high until completely pulverized and thoroughly combined.
Over a large bowl or pitcher, strain the raspberry-lime juice through a fine mesh sieve. Be sure to press on the solids left in the sieve to extract as much flavor form the zest as possible.
Add the water, stir to combine and adjust the taste to your liking.
You can serve the raspberry-limeade as is, over ice for a non-alcoholic beverage (do not freeze in mason jars) or you can use it in this margarita recipe.
- 16 - 8oz mason jars
- fine mesh strainer
- 16 "daisy" tops for the mason jars *optional
- 16 decorative straws *optional
*Adapted from food52.com