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You Don't Need Limes to Make Margaritas on Cinco de Mayo or Any Other Day

Tangelos are sweet, tart and perfect substitutes for limes.
Tangelos are sweet, tart and perfect substitutes for limes.
Photo by Molly Dunn

It's Cinco de Mayo and the price of limes has risen significantly. Perfect timing, right? You could go buy limes from the grocery store for nearly a dollar each so you can make your guacamole and margaritas, but who wants to spend that much money when you don't have to?

It's easy to make guacamole with a little squirt of lemon juice, but can you make margaritas without limes? Why, yes, yes you can.

The key to an excellent margarita is good tequila, a salted glass rim and an element of citrus. Of course, you can enhance your margaritas by adding more sweetness or spiciness, whatever floats your boat. So, tequila-lovers, don't fret this "Cinco de Drinko," you CAN make a lip-smacking, thirst-quenching margarita. Thanks to the help from my fiancé, I bring you two incredible margarita recipes without limes.

Meyer lemons are sweeter than normal lemons, so you don't need to add extra sugar.
Meyer lemons are sweeter than normal lemons, so you don't need to add extra sugar.
Photo by Molly Dunn

Meyer Lemon Margarita

Substitute Meyer lemons (not regular lemons) for lime juice in a standard margarita recipe. Meyer lemons are sweeter, so you don't even need to add simple syrup to the drink. Use this recipe from White on Rice Couple, featuring just three ingredients: Meyer lemon juice, tequila and triple sec.

Juice five Meyer lemons for two margaritas. Remember to save a slice to decorate your cocktail. Prepare your glass by dabbing your finger in the Meyer lemon juice and coating the rim, then roll the rim of the glass in sea salt or Kosher salt. For one cocktail, add equal parts Meyer lemon juice and silver tequila -- 1 ½ ounces each. Then add 1 ounce of triple sec to the cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Shake, shake, shake, then pour into the glass. Add more ice cubes if needed.

Lick the salt and take a sip. Despite the drink having more alcohol than citrus juice, this margarita is perfectly sweet. The Meyer lemons have enough sugar to mask the strength of the tequila and triple sec.

 

Pour the tangelo margarita into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice.
Pour the tangelo margarita into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice.
Photo by Molly Dunn

Tangelo Margarita

For those who like their margaritas to be a little bit sweeter, try making it with tangelos and lemons. Tangelos have the sweetness from an orange and the tartness of a grapefruit. Save a few slices to snack on while you make the cocktail. Most recipes for tangelo margaritas use limes and lemons. But, you can simply omit the lime juice and just use lemons with simple syrup, or make your own lemonade, like in this recipe from Monsters and Critics.

Tangelos are a lot juicier than Meyer lemons, so you won't need as many to yield the appropriate amount for one cocktail. To make one tangelo margarita, combine equal parts silver tequila and lemonade (1 ½ ounces each) with 2 ½ ounces of tangelo juice. If you're combining simple syrup with lemon juice, then use equal parts simple syrup and lemon juice (about 1 ½ tablespoons each). Mix the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, then pour into a rim-salted glass.

The sweetness from the lemonade and tangelos will definitely mask the strength of the alcohol. If you're looking for something to quench your thirst or something to easily drink, then this is the margarita for you.


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