The ultimate, luxury Margarita, the Cadillac Margarita is more than just a marketing ploy. It began in the late ‘80s, when Margaritas were all the rage but quality tequila was only just starting to creep onto shelves with brands like Patrón. To highlight those brands (and charge a premium on a simple cocktail), an unnamed bartender created the Cadillac Margarita, made with quality tequila and Grand Marnier in place of the usual brandless triple sec. The cocktail caught on and can now be found on the menu at pretty much any chain restaurant with south-of-the-border leanings. But, as we said before, it is more than just a cash grab. It is a quality Margarita variation in its own right that is easy (and fairly affordable) to make at home.
While a standard Cadillac Margarita is often made with any old premium tequila, the best one to choose is a reposado. Reposado tequilas, unlike blanco tequilas, are briefly aged in oak barrels, resulting in a light golden spirit that is round and mellow with some vanilla twinges. This style of tequila works particularly well with the orange flavors in the Grand Marnier, a Cognac-based orange liqueur. Speaking of Grand Marnier, some recipes call for the liqueur to be floated atop the cocktail. While this certainly looks pretty, it tastes much better when shaken in with the other ingredients, fully incorporating its bright orange flavors into the cocktail. When it comes to the garnish, don’t hold back. Rim the glass with salt then decorate the glass with both an orange wheel and a lime wheel. Because this cocktail is all about over-the-top class.