Yields8 ServingsTotal Time35 mins
AuthorCalavera

Instead of a chunky salt rim, the bartenders at Calavera, in Oakland, use a delicate salt-lime foam to season these orange-infused margaritas. One sip, and you’ll feel as though a wave just splashed you in the face. The foam-topping idea, from Modernist chef José Andrés, now graces the Salt Air Margaritas at Calavera, in Oakland. It’s great for parties, because it stays perky for at least half an hour. “We keep it going throughout the night, and just give it a little boost now and then with an immersion blender,” says Calavera co-owner Chris Pastena.

Just mixing one or two drinks? No problem. For a single margarita, use ¾ oz. lime juice; 1 to 1½ oz. tequila; and ½ to ¾ oz. each orange-infused agave and luxardo, depending on how strong or sweet you’d like it. As for the Salt Air, make a half-batch – some people may want a second margarita, and it will keep for a week in the fridge.

How to Make It

1

Make Salt Air: Put lime juice, sucrose esters, and salt in a bowl with 2 cups water. Whip with an immersion blender or hand mixer (with whisk attachment) on high speed until mixture bubbles up into a thick, sturdy yet airy froth, about 10 minutes. Not all of the mix will froth—some will stay liquid underneath.

2

Make margarita: Pour tequila, luxardo, lime juice, and agave into a swing-top or other container. For each drink, pour 1/8 of mix into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, and shake vigorously to mix. Strain into a margarita glass. With a soup spoon, scoop up a spoonful or two of Salt Air and lay gently across surface of margarita, lifting spoon to form a peak if you like.

Make ahead: Salt Air, up to 1 week, chilled (re-whip Salt Air before using). Batched margarita, 2 days.

* Sucrose esters, a food-science ingredient, is a powerful emulsifier. An innocent-looking white powder, it’s made from sugar and the fatty acids from palm oil. Find at modernistpantry.com ($11.99 for a 50-gram packet).

Ingredients

Salt Air
 8 oz fresh lime juice
 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp. sucrose esters*
 2 tbsp fine sea salt
Margaritas
 10 oz silver tequila (100% pure agave)
 4 oz luxardo
 4 oz orange-infused agave*
 6 oz fresh lime juice

Directions

1

Make Salt Air: Put lime juice, sucrose esters, and salt in a bowl with 2 cups water. Whip with an immersion blender or hand mixer (with whisk attachment) on high speed until mixture bubbles up into a thick, sturdy yet airy froth, about 10 minutes. Not all of the mix will froth—some will stay liquid underneath.

2

Make margarita: Pour tequila, luxardo, lime juice, and agave into a swing-top or other container. For each drink, pour 1/8 of mix into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, and shake vigorously to mix. Strain into a margarita glass. With a soup spoon, scoop up a spoonful or two of Salt Air and lay gently across surface of margarita, lifting spoon to form a peak if you like.

Make ahead: Salt Air, up to 1 week, chilled (re-whip Salt Air before using). Batched margarita, 2 days.

* Sucrose esters, a food-science ingredient, is a powerful emulsifier. An innocent-looking white powder, it’s made from sugar and the fatty acids from palm oil. Find at modernistpantry.com ($11.99 for a 50-gram packet).

Salt Air Margaritas