AND what about the great salt debate? As with the classic margarita, it's a matter of choice. Depending on the balance of sweet and sour in a cocktail, a mixologist might recommend a salt- or sugar-rimmed glass.
When you're experimenting, make that part of the equation. Kim Haasarud, cocktail consultant and author of the book "101 Margaritas," suggests a straightforward taste test: "When in doubt, salt or sugar just half the rim -- that way you can decide as you sip."
If the idea of a fruity, seductive winter margarita sounds like too much of an indulgence during the spa-focused early months of the new year, Milliken's favorite home version might fit within those resolutions.
"If you're a little odd, like we are at my house, put some celery in the juicer," Milliken recommends. "Add tequila, triple sec, a pinch of sugar, dip the rim in celery salt -- a Celer-ita! It's really, really good, I promise."
And besides, "Celery margaritas are diet food, right?"
Blood orange jalapeno margarita
Total time: 10 minutes, plus at least 12 hours infusing time
Note: Adapted from Border Grill
1 to 1 1/2 pounds blood oranges, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, stemmed and sliced in half lengthwise
1 liter Herradura Silver
1. Place the oranges and jalapeno in a glass jar or container. Pour in the tequila (save the tequila bottle). Seal and store in a cool, dark place for 4 to 6 hours, then remove the jalapeno. (The jalapeno will infuse the tequila fairly quickly.) Let the tequila sit overnight and up to several days with just the blood oranges.
2. Strain the tequila through cheesecloth or a fine sieve and pour it back into the reserved tequila bottle. Seal and store in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 3 months.
Candied jalapenos (optional)
2 jalapenos (green and/or red)
1/2 cup sugar
Thinly slice the jalapenos crosswise. In a small sauce pan, combine 1 cup of water with the sugar and bring to a boil. Add the jalapenos, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. With a spatula, gently remove the jalapenos, laying them flat on parchment paper to dry. Store in a sealed container for up to one week.
1 cup blood orange-jalapeno infused tequila
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons superfine sugar, or to taste
4 slices blood orange, for
4 slices candied jalapenos, for garnish (optional)
1. Run a lime wedge halfway around the rim of four margarita glasses and dip into sugar. Set aside.
2. Combine the infused tequila, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice and superfine sugar. Pour half the mixture into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into two of the sugar-rimmed glasses. Repeat to make two more cocktails. Garnish with a slice of blood orange and a candied jalapeno, if desired
Each serving: 263 calories; 0 protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 3 mg. sodium.
Total time: 10 minutes
Note: Ceres guava nectar is available at select Whole Foods and Ralphs stores.
Wedge of lime
2 teaspoons sugar
12 ounces guava nectar
2 ounces lime juice
2 ounces Chambord liqueur
5 ounces tequila (blanco or silver)
1 fresh guava, quartered
1. Run a lime wedge around the rim of four glasses and dip into sugar. Set aside.
2. Combine 6 ounces guava nectar, 1 ounce lime juice, 1 ounce Chambord and 2 1/2 ounces tequila in a cocktail shaker. Shake over ice until chilled. Strain into two ice-filled, sugar-rimmed glasses.
3. Garnish with a guava slice. Repeat to make two more cocktails.
Each serving: 199 calories; 1 gram protein; 25 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 4 mg. sodium.
Ruby red grapefruit margarita
Total time: 10 minutes
Wedge of lime
2 teaspoons coarse
14 ounces ruby red grapefruit juice, with pulp (about 3
1 ounce lime juice
5 ounces reposado tequila
2 ounces triple sec
4 slices grapefruit or twists
1. Run a lime wedge halfway around the rims of four margarita glasses and dip into salt. Set aside.
2. Combine 7 ounces grapefruit juice, one-half ounce lime juice, 2 1/2 ounces tequila and 1 ounce triple sec in a cocktail shaker. Shake over ice until chilled. Strain into two ice-filled, salt-rimmed margarita glasses.
3. Garnish with a twist or slice of grapefruit. Repeat to make two more cocktails.
Each serving: 174 calories; 1 gram protein; 17 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 2 1/2 mg. sodium.