A Happy Margarita

(Happy (Hour) Margaritas on the balcony)
It is natural to want to think that all margaritas are Happy Margaritas. The sad truth however is that this is just not the case. The difference between a regular, old margarita and a Happy Margarita includes, but is not limited to, fresh ingredients, tequila label, and how much fun you are willing to allow a simple drink to give you. And it will deliver.
I am even willing to bet that after you have tried this Happy Margarita recipe, you will never go back to that other recipe you’ve been using. And if you’ve never had a recipe? Well chances are good that this will become your go-to margarita recipe for entertaining guests. Or just entertaining yourself. 
Making The Margarita
What you need:
Drink shaker
Margarita salt to salt the rims of your Happy Margarita glasses
Limes (approximately 8 limes for two margaritas, depending on how large and how juicy they are)
Sugar
Patron Silver Tequila
Cointreau Liqueur
Ice
What to do:

Ahead of time, prepare your simple syrup using one part sugar to one part warm water. You can even use about 1/4 less sugar as well and it’s still sweet enough. (I found this out one time when I discovered that I didn’t have quite enough sugar – while in the middle of making my simple syrup – oops). I usually make 1/2 cup of simple syrup but if you make more than you need you can store the leftover syrup in the frig for a couple of weeks. Use it for more Happy Margaritas, or even homemade lemonade!
Once sugar is completely dissolved in the warm water, cover and place it in the refrigerator to chill. 
In your drink shaker (mine has lovingly come to be known as my margarita shaker), layer ingredients in order as follows*:
Fill three quarters full with ice cubes
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice 
2 shots simple syrup 
1 shot Cointreau (You can use Triple Sec or Grand Marnier, but Cointreau tastes the best in my opinion) 
2-2 1/2 shots Patron Silver Tequila
You want the tequila to go in last to avoid bruising. This sounds strange I know, but a bartender told me this back in my restaurant days and my margaritas always turn out delicious. Plus, who wants bruised tequila?
Shake vigorously, then taste to be sure you don’t need to make any adjustments. Sometimes you may need to add a bit more simple syrup, or tequila. Once you’ve declared margarita perfection, pour into your pre-salted glasses, dividing the ice evenly as you pour. Add more ice if necessary or desired and float a thin slice of lime on top. You can also strain the ice to enjoy your Happy Margarita straight up. 
Enjoy with tortilla chips and your favorite salsa!
*This recipe makes two tasty adult beverages
(Salting the glasses – Photo courtesy of W. Simms)
Additions that increase the deliciousness of your Happy Margarita exponentially:
A chiffonade of fresh basil or mint leaves
A shot of Chambord, or raspberry syrup
A splash of freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice

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