drinks

National Margarita Day!

Guess what tomorrow is?? National Margarita Day! Ok it’s also National Sword Swallowers Day so if that’s more your style then …. Have fun?

I’m not a huge drinker.  It’s fun for celebrations but in general I don’t drink casually.  When I have booze on the brain, however, you can find me with one of three things in my hand: a mimosa, vodka cranberry, or a margarita. Yes, I’m unapologetically a total girl when it comes to my liquor.

Anyways…

National Margarita Day is phenomenal. It’s like Cinco de Mayo without the piñatas and sombreros. Actually, if sombreros happened tomorrow I wouldn’t be upset. A few bars in the city are having drink specials tomorrow so you can bet I’ll be there. 2014 has been a whirlwind so far and I haven’t had any time to take off work for a fun weekend. So tomorrow I’m letting loose with my bff tequila.

In preparation for the big celebration tomorrow I’ve done a roundup of some great margarita recipes. I hate it when bloggers share “National _____ Day” after the fact so you’re welcome in advance.

Jessica from “How Sweet Eats” makes hands down the best cocktails so a few are from her lineup, as well as a few classics and one that my mom makes at every summer barbeque. Tequila might make us do some crazy things but it sure is delicious.

These recipes make 1 drink unless specified.  Enjoy!

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Mom’s Pineapple Margaritas

Ingredients (makes 8 drinks)

  • 2 cups lime juice, about 20 limes
  • 2 cups white tequila
  • 2 cups Triple Sec
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh pineapple juice
  • Fresh pineapple slices, for garnish

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Coconut Creamsicle Margaritas

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce coconut water
  • 1 ounce canned light coconut milk
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • unsweetened shredded + toasted coconut for glass rims
  • orange + lime slices for serving

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Pomegranate Margaritas

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/2 ounces Tequila
  • 2 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 2 ounce lime juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces simple syrup
  • sugar or salt for the rim
  • lime + pomegranate arils for garnish

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Classic Margaritas

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila (agave, preferably a “reposado”)
  • 1 1/2 oz. triple sec or Cointreau
  • 1 to 1 1/4 oz. of lime juice
  • Salt for the rim of the glass

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Peach Margaritas

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/2 ounces Tequila
  • 2 ounces lime juice
  • 2 1/2 ounces peach simple syrup
  • lime + chopped peaches for garnish
  • salt + sugar for the rim

Question:

Okay so tell me…will you be celebrating? If not, what’s your favorite drink?

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Tea Tasting at Argo Tea: Fit Tip Tuesday

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Today I was lucky enough to participate in a tea tasting at my local Argo Tea. Full disclosure—I’m a coffee girl. Every morning, all morning, you will find a mug of coffee at my side. I never thought that tea was something I could justify replacing my precious latte with, especially since the prices are comparable and tea’s caffeine content is much lower. However, this hour-long tasting session completely opened my eyes to all the possibiliTEAs (pardon the pun…Argo is all about the puns!)

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When we first sat down we were met by the bubbly, tea-loving manager, Chris. He was more than prepared to convert even the strongest coffee addicts like myself to team tea.

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We sampled a few of their different teas plain: green, nilgri black and white tea.  Chris told us the back stories of everything we were trying and really put into perspective just how global their reach is. They get their green tea from China, the black tea from India, and the chocolate croissants from France (it was like I was back in Paris!)

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After trying the basic teas, we sampled a few of the signature drinks.  These included:

  • Green Tea Ginger Twist: “Fresh ginger blended with lemon and mild green tea for a mellow and spicy twist of flavor and unique texture”
  • Chocolate Chai: “Assam black tea, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, vanilla and cocoa”
  • White Tea Acai Squeeze (iced): “Brazilian Acai berry, white Tea and lemonade made from real lemon and natural cane sugar”

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Each of the creations was pleasant and I could see myself going back for all of them, depending on the occasion. The white tea acai will be perfect when the Chicago summer hits and all I want is something fruity while I tan on the beach. The green tea ginger twist tasted like the perfect concoction for when I feel a cold coming on—it was full of natural ginger and honey flavor and had a profound kick to it. Finally, the chocolate chai. Oh, I could write a sonnet about the chocolate chai. It was like Christmas and Godiva chocolate came  together and were like, you know what? Let’s join forces and make a drink that will send people into a state of perfect bliss. It tasted indulgent but the tea made it a lighter, more heartwarming version of a traditional thick hot chocolate.

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Along with the drinks we got to taste some of Argo’s food. First was the chocolate croissant, which paired perfectly with the chocolate chai and helped me meet my sugar quota for the day. Secondly was the chickpea salad. I’m not normally a fan of chickpeas but this tasted just like the bean salad that my grandma made for us as kids—simple, healthy, hearty, delicious.  It was full of chickpeas, carrots, tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, and parsley, all drizzled with oil and vinegar. I get excited when I think about how many nutrients are in that salad.

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Overall it was a great hour spent learning about a beverage that honestly didn’t ever interest me that much.  I’ve always heard that tea is healthy, but I never really realized just how healthy it is!

So WHY should you choose to start including tea in your diet?

According to Dr. Oz, depending on which tea you pick you can boost your metabolism, freshen your breath, fight aging, combat headaches, boost your libido, ward off cancer, get more sleep, etc. etc. etc. Now I know coffee has a lot of health benefits as well, but I’m not sure I’ve heard of anything so natural doing so many wonderful things for your body.

Aside from these benefits, tea has been around for thousands of years, acting as everything from currency to religious offerings to stress relievers and everything in between. It is currently the #1 most consumed beverage in the world besides water and is enjoyed globally.  While you can still get your caffeine fix from many types of tea, it always has less than a cup of coffee, allowing for the perfect combination of attentiveness and relaxation.

Fun facts I learned today:

  • There are 4 major types of tea: green, black, oolong, and white—all come from the same plant (technically there are more but these are the types most often found on the market)
  • White has the least amount of caffeine and black has the most
  • Argo uses only natural ingredients to create the signature drinks
  • All Argo cafes in Chicago are powered by wind power
  • ChariTEA: every season Argo picks one tea and donates 10% of its sales to a nonprofit organization
  • With the right additions, tea can taste goooooooooooood

I’m so happy I had the opportunity to sample these teas and learn all about their different health benefits. Even if you’re not a huge tea drinker now, go to Argo’s website and get inspired by some of their ideas. It’s an easy addition to your life that I think is definitely worth a “Fit Tip Tuesday” mention. And while I’ll never give up my dear friend coffee, I’m definitely going to start adding tea to my day. I think my brain and body will thank me.

PS I wasn’t compensated for this post–it just happened that the tasting coincided with Fit Tip Tuesday–it was fate!

Questions:

  • Are you a tea drinker?
  • If so, do you add anything to make it more exciting?