Guy Fieri's Ultimate Margarita Tip - Exclusive

During Mashed's exclusive interview with Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar to discuss their premium tequila brand Santo, the topic of margaritas was inevitable. When asked to share some tips to elevate the definitive blanco and lime juice cocktail, Hagar presumed to know where his good friend and business partner would take the conversation. "He's invented more margarita twists than I ever had," proclaimed the Red Rocker. "I was in the business 10 years before him, and in the first month, he threw more things at me, his jalapeños and all that stuff. Give me one of your fiery jalapeno tahini-rimmed something, Guy. What do you got?"

But Fieri ended up throwing an unexpected curveball. "It's the ice," was the shockingly simple suggestion from the notoriously big and bold Food Network megastar. "I think ice is the first foundation of any great cocktail. How good is the ice and how cold is the ice?"

Offering a bit of a science lesson, Fieri went on to explain, "You think about making a drink and you put the ice in the drink, and then you drink all of it, and then the ice melts in the glass, and then you accidentally pick it up, and you take a drink of it. It's just been water on top of ice. And then you take a drink of it and you're like, 'Oh my God, what is in this?' Because the thing is, those impurities don't come out of the ice when it's super cold."

Why quality ingredients are the key to crafting a perfect margarita

Beyond the ice, Fieri emphasized that quality control should be taken for every step of the margarita-making and shaking process. "We say it as chefs all the time: If you don't have the correct ingredients, don't make the dish," he said. Per Fieri, that extends to everything from using fresh lime juice to pouring your cocktail into clean glassware.

Fieri also called out a common mistake that is made when it comes to the all-important salted rim. "I've watched people take ionized salt, the really super fine salt like you find in a salt shaker, and rim a glass with that," he noted. "Well, not all salt has the same sodium level." (Lower sodium fine-grained sea salt is your best bet, per Food and Wine.)

And then, of course, there's the tequila, which is essentially the front person and lead guitarist of the margarita experience. According to Fieri, "When you're using a super premium like Santo ... you have to support it with the right band members, the right equipment, the right ingredients, the right cooking technique. It just has to be everything played to the next level." For a Santo margarita, Fieri recommended letting the tequila shine. "A little bit of lime juice, a little bit of agave nectar, some really good ice," he suggested. "It's simple." In other words, save the tahini for your hummus.  

You can shop for your own bottle over on the Santo tequila website. You can keep up with what Guy Fieri is cooking or where Sammy Hagar is rocking by following them on Instagram.