From the cantina: Tamarind Margarita

Admittedly this isn't a totally original idea. I've had tamarind margaritas at restaurants. They're great, but often a little over sweet for my tastes. In my adaptation, the only sugar is in the orange liqueur. Tamarind just might be the perfect margarita mixer (it's the only thing I'll add to my own besides more booze). It has a very interesting and pleasant tang to it. We don't want to mute that with sugar (unless you do). And we must always have a little lime juice. It's not a margarita otherwise. That's one tart tequila cocktail!

Tamarind Margarita

2 ounces tequila
1 ounce homemade tamarind syrup*
½ ounce fresh lime juice (about half a lime)
½ ounce Cointreau
lime wedge
rim salt

*Tamarind syrup is kind of a misnomer here, as there is no added sugar. I just wasn't sure what else to call it (liquid tamarind concentrate? tamarind flavored water?). You make this essential ingredient by simmering one part tamarind pulp (found in some Asian and Hispanic markets [I found it once in a Fred Meyer (Kroger)] and sold either in the pods or packaged as a block of pulp wrapped in plastic) in four parts water. After the tamarind has loosened up and the water is all brown with pulpiness, you strain the seeds and fibers out using a strainer and/or some cheese cloth. I would have included photographs of this process, but none of it is particularly photogenic.

Salt the rim of your rocks glass; fill it with ice and set aside. Pour your ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice and shake or stir until it's well chilled. Strain into the rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy. Simple and delicious.